It took until the very last second, and it came from an unexpected source, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are heading to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row.
With one second remaining on the clock, Notre Dame freshman Rex Pflueger was able to tip in a shot to give the Irish the 76-75 lead over No. 14 Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks did get one last chance to win the game, but the desperation shot came up short.
For Pflueger, it was is only basket of the day. And he wasn’t even on the court for offensive purposes, but to make sure the Lumberjacks didn’t get a prime scoring chance.
The game was as back-and-forth as one could’ve expected with the teams trading the lead multiple times in the second half. Notre Dame managed to build a 62-55 lead midway through the second half, but the Lumberjacks fought back to take a 65-64 lead. The game continued to be a fast-paced, up and down game until Pflueger ended it.
The Irish were lead by forward Zach Auguste, who finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, and guard Demetrius Jackson, who lead Notre Dame with 18 points. The Lumberjacks were led, as per usual, by forward Thomas Walkup with a game-high 21 points. T.J. Holyfield and Demetrious Floyd both finished in double digits for Stephen F. Austin with 15 and 16 points, respectively.
The loss not only ends Stephen F. Austin’s 21-game winning streak, but it ends their season as well. Still, it’s safe to say that the Walkup and the Lumberjacks left their mark on the NCAA Tournament in a big way. For the Irish, it’s on to Philadelphia for a battle with the winner of the second-round matchup between No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 2 Xavier.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA Today Sports