March 5 (UPI) -- LOUISVILLE -- A career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds from senior reserve center Mangok Mathiang spurred No. 8 Louisville past No. 17 Notre Dame 71-64 on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.
"I'm really happy for Mangok to go out on Senior Day like this," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
"Especially for my Senior Night it is a great way to go out," Mathiang said. "It was great especially for all the fans who have always been there for me."
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said, "He got some great angles on us. He got a couple of put-backs, didn't he? ... He was on that backboard. He had six offensive rebounds and that is really where he got to us."
The Cardinals (24-7, 12-6 ACC) were led by sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell's 20 points on just 5-for-15 shooting. Mitchell hit 7 of 8 free throws, including four clutch foul shots in the final minute. The Cardinals also got 17 points from junior guard Quentin Snider.
Notre Dame (23-8, 12-6) was led by 20 points from junior forward Bonzie Colson. Senior forward VJ Beachem had 17 points and eight rebounds.
"When you play Notre Dame it is a personnel game," Pitino said. The Cardinals' coach used boxing terminology to explain that Louisville was trying to take away what the Irish did best. "You have to take away the right hand, no question. We gave it a few times, but you have to take away the right hand.
"Overall, we did a good job, especially at the end, of switching correctly and playing good man-to-man defense. You can't get behind when you play a team like Notre Dame."
The score was tied at 51-51 with 7:38 left before Louisville got a bank-shot from the block by Mathiang and a break-away dunk by Mitchell to take a 55-51 lead. A 3-pointer by Snider gave Louisville its largest lead at 58-51.
A quick bucket by Notre Dame was countered with another 3-pointer from Snider to put Louisville up 61-53. The Irish didn't go away, cutting the margin to 62-58 on a layup from Steve Vasturia with 2:42 left.
The teams traded baskets and Notre Dame had the ball with one minute to go, down 64-60, when Matt Farrell drove to the basket for a layup to bring the Irish to within two points.
Louisville called a timeout with 49.5 seconds left, setting up a play to get Deng Adel a 3-pointer from the wing. Adel nailed the shot to put Louisville up 67-62 with 35.3 seconds left and the Cardinals closed out the win with four free throws by Mitchell.
"That had an NCAA tournament feel to it, huh?" Brey said. "What a great college game. Give credit to Louisville. A couple of guys made some big, big shots tonight. That Deng Adel three was a big play over Steve Vasturia's challenge was the difference."
Neither team could gain much of a lead throughout the game. The Irish led by as many as six points in the first half before Louisville came back to take a six-point lead with 3:08 before the half.
Louisville led 30-27 at the half with the help of 12 points from Mathiang on 5 of 7 shooting. Notre Dame hit just 4 of 14 3-point attempts in the first half.
"It was hard to score against Louisville's defense," Brey said. "They're really hard to deal with, with their length. And they made some big shots when they had to."
Notre Dame ended the game hitting just 41.4 percent of its shots including a paltry 28 percent from 3-point range.
The win clinched a double-bye for Louisville in the ACC Tournament.
"Now we will keep improving, keep getting better," Pitino said. "This team can accomplish anything because of their attitude and we will see what happens in the tournament. We like to play some of the teams that beat us."
NOTES: Louisville last beat Notre Dame on March 15, 2013. ... The Cardinals own a 21-15 edge on the Irish in the all-time series, but Notre Dame won the last three meetings between the two teams. ... Louisville and Notre Dame played a total of 12 overtimes in eight games from 2009 through 2013, including a five overtime game on Feb. 9, 2013. That game was Louisville's last loss before closing out the rest of the season undefeated, including the 2013 NCAA championship.