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December 7, 2005

Irish hold off Bama

Box Score

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Colin Falls scored 24 points and Notre Dame went 8-for-9 from the free throw line over the final 3 minutes in a 78-71 upset of No. 22 Alabama on Wednesday night.

Falls hit six 3-pointers in the first half as the Fighting Irish (3-2) built a 17-point lead and then held to snap a two-game losing streak.

The Crimson Tide (4-2) opened the second half with a 22-9 run to erase most of the deficit and cut it to one point on Ronald Steele's 3-pointer with 8:43 left.

Falls would hit his only 3-pointer of the second half to push the lead back to five points a minute later, but Notre Dame couldn't extend it past that until Torin Francis hit two free throws off an offensive rebound with 28 seconds left.

The Tide missed two 3-pointers after that.

Falls had made just one field goal in losses to North Carolina State and Michigan, but went 6-of-8 on 3s to propel Notre Dame to the 46-29 halftime lead.

Francis had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Fighting Irish, while and Russell Carter each had 11 points.

It was enough to overcome a career-high 29 points by Alabama's Chuck Davis, who was 13-of-18 from the field while most of his teammates struggled.

Alonzo Gee had 15 points, nine in the Tide's run to open the second half. Ronald Steele had 12 points and five assists but was just 4-of-13 from the field.

Notre Dame made 15 free throws in 19 attempts while Alabama was 11-of-21.

Steele's two free throws with 1:30 left cut Notre Dame's lead to 73-71. But Carter drove the lane for a scoop shot and Alabama turned the ball over to end the threat.

Falls hit three straight free throws and Francis rebounded his miss on a fourth try and was fouled.

Notre Dame took control with its zone defense in the first half. Alabama couldn't find a way to consistently get inside - and couldn't hit anything from the outside as Notre Dame turned a two-point deficit into a 46-26 lead.

Falls, meanwhile, hit just about everything, including an off-balance 3-pointer that turned into a line drive right into the basket. Steele hit a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left to make it 46-29.

Davis was 8-of-11 from the field in the first half and his teammates were a combined 3-of-20.

During one sequence, Alabama missed four 3-pointers and had a turnover in five possessions.

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