Notre Dame 70, New Mexico 68

BY foxsports • March 20, 2009

Tory Jackson hit an under-handed shot with 2 seconds left as Notre Dame survived squandering a 14-point first-half lead to beat New Mexico 70-68 in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Thursday night. New Mexico (22-12) had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Tony Dandridge's 3-pointer rattled in the rim and fell out. Jackson drove the length of the court for the winning basket, finishing with 16 points. Luke Harangody had 26 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Irish (20-14), who were 21-of-25 from the free throw line. New Mexico was 15 of 25. Notre Dame will play the winner of Monday's game between Kentucky and Creighton in the third round. Jackson scored the game-winner after Dairese Gary, who is from nearby Elkhart, made a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left to tie the score at 68. He drove deep into a crowd and put up the winning shot. It appeared as if the Lobos were headed for the victory. After trailing 34-24 at halftime, New Mexico used a 21-9 run to take its first lead at 48-46 on a 3-pointer by Chad Toppert with 11:02 left. The Lobos opened their biggest lead at 66-60 when Gary made a pair of free throws with 2:08 left. Notre Dame closed to 66-65 on a three-point play by Harangody with 66 seconds left and tied it on a free throw by Zach Hillesland. Harangody sank a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left to break the tie. The Lobos tied the game on Gary's free throws. Daniel Faris scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for New Mexico before fouling out with 66 seconds left. Gary also had 15. Phillip McDonald added 11 and Chad Toppert had 10. Kyle McAlarney had 11 points for Notre Dame. The Irish got off to a quick start, opening a 13-3 lead when McAlarney hit a 3-pointer three minutes in. Notre Dame made three of its first four 3-point attempts while the Lobos were just 1-of-8 from the field. The Irish extended the lead to 14 points when McAlarney made another 3 to make it 20-6. Notre Dame opened another 14-point lead on a three-point play by Harangody that madde it 29-15. The Lobos used a 9-3 run to close to 32-24 with 1:11 left in the half. A basket by Harangody gave the Irish a 34-24 lead at intermission. The 24 points were the least this season for the Lobos in the first half. The lone highlights for New Mexico in the first half were a pair of fastbreak dunks by Phillip McDonald. New Mexico guard Nate Garth injured his lower back in the final minute of the first half when he drove to the basket and his shot was blocked by Harangody. Garth landed out of bounds under the basket and Irish guard Jonathan Peoples landed on him. He didn't return.

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