Notre Dame reaches Sweet 16 on the day coach Mike Brey's mother died
Notre Dame is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003 after surviving a dramatic turnover in the final seconds of regulation against Butler late Saturday night and winning 67-64 in overtime.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey announced after the game that his 84-year-old mother, Betty, died earlier in the day from a heart attack. Brey said he felt like she was watching over his team in the pivotal moments when the game was decided.
"It was kind of a tribute to her, really a special night," Mike Brey said. "An unbelievable woman, a woman ahead of her time and probably the real driving force behind everything I've done. It was an interesting day to say the least, and I felt I should at least address that. And I think she was definitely with us down the stretch."
Notre Dame's Zach Auguste almost gave the game away at the end of regulation. The junior grabbed a rebound in the final seconds of regulation and began dribbling up court hoping for a heave at the basket, but officials correctly called him for a double dribble, giving the ball back to Butler in its offensive end with two seconds remaining.
Butler junior Kellen Dunham worked his way free and took the inbounds pass, but Notre Dame senior Pat Connaughton leaped in from the side and blocked his potential game-winner out of bounds to save the day for the Fighting Irish.
Two minutes into the overtime Connaughton made a huge 3-pointer after going 0-for-5 from behind 3-point line in regulation before Jerian Grant sealed the game down the stretch on a driving runner.
This is only the fourth time Notre Dame has been to the Sweet 16 since it advanced to the Final Four in 1978. The Irish have lost three consecutive Sweet 16 games. They will face the winner of Sunday's Kansas-Wichita State game next week in the Midwest Regional.
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[Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo