Hear It From a Student - Legendary Night

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From the moment I walked into the student section of the Joyce Center last Saturday night, I knew there was a chance I'd see history. There was an electric feeling in the air as the video screen showed clips of previous No. 1 teams that had fallen to the Fighting Irish. Once the game actually tipped off and the Irish quickly jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, the atmosphere became even more intense. Something magical was in the air.

Saturday's game was a showcase for the perseverance and resiliency of this Notre Dame team. Many declared the Irish season over when tri-captain and starting forward Tim Abromaitis was lost for the season to an ACL injury. But the team kept fighting back, and refused to admit defeat in the face of immense obstacles. New faces like Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton emerged as key contributors, while captains Eric Atkins and Scott Martin kept the team focused on their mission. The result has been a team that refuses to give in to any opponent.

This team is not defined by a single superstar, but by a group of players who understand each other and care more about winning than their individual numbers. On any given night, any one of several players is capable of rising to the challenge of leading his team to victory. Saturday night, forward Jack Cooley did just that. His 17 points and 10 rebounds were crucial against a tough Syracuse team, and he came up big in important moments. His powerful slam dunk in transition with just over five minutes left to play in the game was the signature moment in a signature win.

Getting to witness such an incredible game and such an amazing effort from the Irish players was something I will never forget. When I ran with the rest of the students to storm the court, I got caught up with everyone else in the emotion of the moment. I couldn't think about how impressive of a win this was, how incredible Notre Dame's dominance when playing at home in Purcell Pavilion has been, or how this win would help our chances of making the NCAA tournament. All I could do was revel in the moment. And I know that those minutes we spent on the court, chanting "We are ND" and singing the Alma Mater together as one student body, will stay with me forever.

They say Notre Dame is a place where legends live. On Saturday night, another legend was born.

- Tom McGuire ('14)

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