Graves' last-second shot upsets OSU
By BRIAN KESSLER
Head coach Matt Doherty celebrated his first victory in exciting fashion Tuesday night with a 59-57 upset victory over Ohio State (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) in the first round of the Preseason NIT.
With 10 seconds left, sophomore David Graves dribbled from the back court to the left wing, fumbled the ball and drained a 15-footer as time expired to seal the victory for the Irish and stun the 17,402 fans on hand at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.
"I'm so happy. We drew it up that play where we fumbles the ball," Doherty said jokingly in a post-game interview. "David made the shot just like I called it in the huddle."
Graves, who finished with 18 points, didn't even see his game-winning shot go down.
"I thought Coach would call a timeout. I thought we would try to get it inside, but Ohio State took that away," he told the Associated Press.
"When they threw me the ball, I looked at the clock and there was no time to pass. They were giving me my left hand, so I used Harold [Swanagan] as a shield and shot it. I never saw it go in because I was falling to the floor.
"It was a great feeling — 3, 2, 1, then shoot it with 18,000 screaming fans and one of the best players in the country [Scoonie Penn] on you," Graves continued. "You dream of something like that when you're in your backyard, it's 10 at night and you're under the lights."
Graves wound up under a pile of his teammates.
"I didn't want to celebrate on the court," Doherty said, referring to the dog pile that followed Graves' buzzer-beater. "I wanted to wait until we got to the locker room, but they didn't listen. I can't wait to get in there though and do some chest bumping."
Notre Dame grabbed the momentum from the opening tip, leading for the first 16 minutes of the contest. However, Ohio State guard Michael Redd scored four of his nine first-half points in the closing minutes of the half to give the Buckeyes a 27-24 lead at the intermission.
A 9-0 run by the Buckeyes midway through the second half gave Ohio State a 41-33 lead, but the Irish scratched and clawed their way back into the game. Graves' third three pointer of the night cut the Buckeye lead to 45-42 with seven minutes left.
Notre Dame then stepped up its defense holding the nation's best backcourt at bay. Redd and first team AP All-American Scoonie Penn were held to just seven points on 1-of-11 shooting in the final 20 minutes.
"We didn't want Scoonie Penn beating us and I didn't want Michael Redd beating us," Doherty told the AP. "We wanted to put the focus defensively on them."
The Irish eventually regained the lead with back-to-back three pointers by Martin Ingelsby with just under two minutes remaining. Troy Murphy then made two free throws to give the Irish a four-point cushion, but two turnovers in the final minute allowed Ohio State to pull even.
Penn made two free throws and then converted a three-point play after a Murphy foul to tie the game at 57 with 18.4 seconds remaining. The stage was set for Graves dramatic shot.
The Irish were able to overcome their 23 turnovers and won, despite only four players scoring.
Murphy finished with a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. Ingelsby added 14 and Swanagan had six.
Senior Jimmy Dillon was held scoreless but played with poise, committing just four turnovers in 36 minutes. He had a game-high four steals.
"I wanted to go with experience and concentrate on ball handling," Doherty said to the AP. "That's why we went with Martin Ingelsby and Jimmy Dillon [two point guards] on the floor together. I was concerned we had 14 turnovers in the first half."
The Irish were 20-of-40 as a team and connected on 8-of-16 from downtown. Ohio State, however, struggled from the field, shooting just 22-of-66 and 5-of-23 from behind the arc.
"We missed more shots than they took," Ohio State head coach Jim O'Brien told the AP. "That, plus their turnovers, indicates that we should've won but they were very efficient on offense."
Penn led the Buckeyes with 15 points and Redd added 11, despite 4-of-16 shooting. He also missed a wide open lay-up with under 30 seconds left.
"We just wanted to come out and not worry about Ohio State, but worry about Notre Dame," Doherty said. "We wanted to compete and play hard. I wasn't concerned with the outcome of the game, I just wanted our guys to play hard. Fortunately, Ohio State didn't have its best game, but those things are going to happen. We're lucky to be moving on in the NIT."
The Irish advance to play Sienna Thursday in the second round.
Sienna defeated Davidson 89-79. The game will be held in the Joyce Center at 8 p.m.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, November 17, 1999