A showstopper in South Bend — 65 minutes of thrilling game action spanning nearly three-and-a-half hours in real time — needed just a 23 second-stretch to sum up the night.
Boy, was it some kind of stretch.
Notre Dame scoring ace Jerian Grant, dormant for the first 39 minutes, came to life in a big way in the closing minute of regulation, authoring the most prolific 23-second scoring surge by one player in college basketball history. Between the 44- and 21-second mark of the second half, Grant exploded for 12 points — three consecutive treys, each from a different release point, followed by a 3-point play the old-fashion way — single-handedly erasing an eight-point Louisville lead and adding layers of kick to a classic in the making.
Yes, the torrid streak began at roughly the 44-second mark. It was not, however, a “44-second scoring outburst,” as other recaps of the game have expressed. That isn’t giving Grant enough credit. His spree was over with 21 seconds to spare. Thanks to fouls, free throws and a quick-trigger mentality, Grant packed his dozen points into a 23-second window. No player in the history of the college game has had a half-minute spurt so fertile and efficient.
Grant fouled out in overtime, finishing with 19 points in 39 minutes. The damage was done, his legacy left.
And it took him all of 23 seconds.