Rex Pflueger’s offensive rebound kept the Irish’s season alive. His only field goal of the day, in the last second, knocked out Stephen F Austin. The Irish will now face Wisconsin in the Sweet sixteen.
Stephen F Austin let themselves down in the final 3:35 minutes. They missed all the four field goal attempts and only managed to score 2 points in that last phase.
Things were evenly poised in the first half. Neither team led by more than nine points in that phase. Notre Dame showed more urgency in the second half, starting on a 10-6 run, as reported by SB Nation.
Thomas Walkup was benched with foul troubles, which helped the Irish to extend the lead to 7 points. Walkup’s return boosted Stephen F Austin and they stormed back to tie the scores seven minutes from time, and took the lead 66-64 in the next minute to set the match alive once more. Walkup was the most impressive player as both the teams fought hard to gain supremacy in the final minutes.
Demetrious Floyd, who hit the wide-open three of a Walkup pass to put the Lumberjacks up 73-70. But Walkup missed his final shot while his side led 75-74 in the last minute, which gave the Irish the life-line they needed to win.
Then came the Rex Pflueger rebound with 1.5 seconds left, which helped Notre Dame secure the Sweet 16 spot for the second consecutive time, according to the Associated Press.
“I just crashed the board,” Pflueger said after the game. “I thought Zach was going to make that last layup, but coach always emphasizes going to the board hard, especially in situations like that, and it just turned out for the best for us.” The Irish will lock horns with Wisconsin, who pulled off an upset win over Xaviers on Sunday.