SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Paul Atkinson Jr. scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds as Notre Dame recovered after blowing a 14-point lead to beat Louisville 63-57 Wednesday night for sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Fighting Irish (17-7, 10-3) won for the seventh time in eight games and broke a first-place tie with idle Duke.
Atkinson collected his third straight double-double, Dane Goodwin added 16 points and Blake Wesley 11 for Notre Dame, which beat Louisville twice in the same season for the first time.
Jae’Lyn Withers scored a career-tying 20 points, El Ellis added 13 and Dre Davis 10 for the Cardinals (11-13, 5-9), who have lost six straight games for the first time since the 1990-91 season.
Louisville’s losing streak began with an 82-70 loss to the Irish on Jan. 22 when the teams combined to make 25 of 44 3-point attempts. This game was nothing like that with the teams making only 10 of 50 from the arc, with five makes apiece.
After trailing by 14 in the final minute of the first half, Louisville converted a turnover into a transition dunk by Davis to cap a 12-2 run for a 55-54 lead with 6:14 to go. Notre Dame responded with an 8-0 burst capped by a 3-pointer by Prentiss Hubb after he had missed his first six from distance. The Cardinals scored only two points in the final five minutes.
Notre Dame was without starter and leading rebounder, Nate Laszewski, who suffered a lower leg injury in the Irish’s win over North Carolina State on Saturday.
Louisville’s top scorer and rebounder, 6-foot-11 Malik Williams, serving a team suspension the past two games, played only six first-half minutes and was scoreless.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey faced Louisville interim coach Mike Pegues for the first time. Pegues played for Brey at Delaware (1996-2000).
Louisville is home against Miami next Wednesday. Notre Dame is at Clemson on Saturday.
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