SOUTH BEND, Ind. — This was not supposed to happen.
CMU was not supposed to beat the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame.
Five-foot-six-inch sophomore Joe Carr was not supposed to hit a game winning three-pointer as time expired.
I was not supposed to work this weekend.
But all of these things did happen.
You see, I went for the free trip to Notre Dame, a school that I have
admired for years, just to watch them walk over CMU and write a column about
my trip there.
I was going to go off on things like Notre Dame center Torin Francis’
inability to dribble, or the fact that Tony “Browne” was CMU’s two-guard
according to the media depth chart. But that’s not going to happen.
Thank you, Joe Carr.
With 3.8 seconds remaining in the game and CMU trailing by two, Carr took
an inbound pass at half-court and dribbled to the top of the three-point
arc. He pump-faked Chris Thomas out of the gym, then calmly released the
shot as the buzzer sounded.
As Carr was mobbed by his teammates and Thomas argued with officials that
the shot was not off in time (which it clearly was) the crowd at the Joyce
Center sat in shock, realizing the magnitude of what had just happened.
Notre Dame was No. 23 in the nation. They were at home in what was a very
hostile environment. Carr isn’t the starting point guard. T.J. Meerman, the
starter, had fouled out earlier in the half, leaving CMU without its floor
leader in a stretch of a game that may define a team’s season.
The Chippewas stayed calm even when they relinquished the lead late in
the second-half. They didn’t panic when Notre Dame took a five-point lead
with a minute to play. They were patient, they executed the plan set up by
coach Jay Smith, and when it was all said and done, the smallest guy on the
court hit a shot that shut up an entire arena.
Carr’s shot was directly in front of Notre Dame’s student section, known as “The Leprechaun Legion.”
The Legion was quick to get on Carr when he entered the game in the first
half, as they chanted “Five-foot six,” proving that Notre Dame is indeed
part of the academic elite. Seriously, you go to Notre Dame, don’t tell me
that you aren’t more creative than that. My high school had better chants
Do you really think that Carr heard these chants and proceeded to go back
to Smith during a timeout and say, “Coach, I don’t think that I can do this
anymore, they know how tall I am.”
The Legion was very quiet however when Carr hit the shot, and the noise
was now coming from the other end of the floor where a small contingent of
Rose Rowdies who had made the trip were seated.
Joe Carr was no longer short.
“I felt tall because all of my teammates were holding me up in the air,”
Carr said. “It was just a great moment; it was something that you dream of.”
It was a great moment and in the end I’m glad that I was able to witness
it. Who knows, maybe all of this was supposed to happen.
Life sports writer Paul Costanzo can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.