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    Notre Dame's Upset Bid Falls Short in 72-70 Heartbreaking Loss to No. 6 Villanova

    FIGHTING IRISH Notre Dame guard Chris Quinn (2) drives the lane while Villanova guard Mike Nardi (12) defends in the first half of  a college basketball game Saturday Jan. 28, 2006, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Notre Dame guard Chris Quinn (2) drives the lane while Villanova guard Mike Nardi (12) defends in the first half of a college basketball game Saturday Jan. 28, 2006, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 28, 2006

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    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Kyle Lowry tipped in a missed shot by Randy Foye with 1.7 seconds left for the game-winning basket and No. 6 Villanova survived blowing a 17-point lead in the second half to beat Notre Dame 72-70 on Saturday night.

    It was another tough loss for the Irish (10-8, 1-6 Big East), who used a 24-4 run to take a 66-63 lead with 1:38 left. Allen Ray, who missed Villanova's win over South Florida on Tuesday because of strained hamstring, drove strong inside to give the Wildcats (15-2, 6-1) a 69-68 lead and was fouled by Kyle McAlarney. Ray made the free throw to give Villanova a two-point lead.

    The Irish tied it on a basket inside by Torin Francis. But Foye, who had 18 points, drove inside to the basket. The ball bounced off the rim and the 6-foot-1 Lowry leapt up in a crowd and got his right hand on it for the game-winner.

    The Irish lost twice in double overtime -- to Georgetown on Tuesday and to Pittsburgh earlier this month. They are off to their worst conference start since 1995-96, their first season in the Big East when they also started 1-6. They finished 4-14 in the Big East that season.

    Allen led the Wildcats with 23 points and 10 rebounds and Mike Nardi added 22 points.

    Quinn led Notre Dame with 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and two blocked shots. Russell Carter had 14 points, McAlarney 13 and Francis 11.

    The Wildcats used a 9-0 run early in the second half to move ahead by 13 and went ahead 59-42 when Dante Cunningham scored down low midway through the half. But Notre Dame answered with the 24-4 run, with Quinn, McAlarney and Carter each scoring seven points, including two free throws by McAlarney when Villanova coach Jay Wright was called for a technical. Two free throws by Carter cut the lead to 61-60.

     

     

    Notre Dame led for much of the first half, going up 17-11 on the strength of a 9-0 run. A 3-pointer by McAlarney gave the Irish a 24-19 lead. The Wildcats answered with an 8-2 run and moved ahead 28-27 on a 3-pointer by Nardi.

    Villanova led 35-34 at halftime even though only three players -- Nardi, Ray and Foye -- scored. Only three other players even attempted shots, one each.

    Villanova has won 10 of the 12 games against the Irish since they joined the Big East.

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