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Sports

February 11, 2013

Ex-SJP star Connaughton helps push Notre Dame by Louisville in instant classic

Hours after participating in the longest Big East regular-season basketball game ever played, Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton was speechless.

Partly, he shared with America via Twitter, because he’d just witness an amazing shooting performance from teammate Garrick Sherman. And partly because he was exhausted.

The former St. John’s Prep star had good reason to be tired, after playing 56 minutes in a 5-overtime instant classic that his fans on the North Shore reveled in as it was broadcast live on ESPN. Connaughton and No. 25 Notre Dame outlasted No. 11 Louisville 104-101 in South Bend, Indiana.

Connaughton, who led St. John’s to the Division 1 state title as a senior in 2011, had the first double-double of his sophomore season at Notre Dame with 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. He also hit a clutch free throw with 9.8 seconds remaining in the fifth overtime to help the Irish move to 19-5.

Sherman hit 7-of-10 shots from the field — all in overtime — and scored 17 points. Louisville led by eight with 51 seconds remaining in regulation, but Jerian Grant hit three consecutive three pointers and tied the game on a three-point play with 16 seconds left as Notre Dame went on a 12-4 run to get back in it.

It was a season-high in rebounds, assists and free throws (7-of-9) for Connaughton, a 6-foot-5 combination guard and forward who also plays baseball for the Irish.

The Arlington native will make a homecoming of sorts on Saturday, when Notre Dame travels to Providence College for a Noon tip-off at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

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