Notre Dame trims Charleston at wire

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Both teams were making shots.

The only question was who would make the last one.

Notre Dame defeated visiting Charleston 60-58 Tuesday night in a game where the Bulldogs and Bluejays traded leads back and forth for much of the second half.

The game finally came down to two free throws with 14 seconds left.

Travis Siebert, who scored a team-high 18 points for Notre Dame, hit both to account for the final margin.

Charleston's Dontay Clark got a decent shot off from the left baseline with about seven seconds left, but it rimmed out and Notre Dame got the victory.

Tuesday night's game was a possible preview of the University High Christmas Tournament finals.

Charleston (3-4) got the top seed, while Notre Dame (4-3) -- which beat Charleston in last year's district championship game -- will be the No. 2 seed.

"We needed this," said Notre Dame coach Darrin Scott. "Everybody plays up us against Charleston, but we needed a win just to get some confidence."

Notre Dame's biggest lead was six points and the Bulldogs reached that margin on three different occasions, the last coming with 4:23 left in the game.

Charleston led by as many as four points and held a one-point lead, 56-55, with 1:23 remaining.

In all, there were five ties and 13 lead changes.

"I was happy with the kids; they played hard," Charleston coach Danny Farmer said. "We fought through some adverse situations. In the past when we've faced adversity, we'd quit. But we kept playing even though we got no breaks."

Charleston's Jordy Mixon was a 5-foot-11, 195-pound flea in the paint for the Bluejays. With a quick vertical leap and quick release, Mixon scored 30 points -- including 20 in the second half -- accounting for 52 percent of his team's offense. He also, unofficially, grabbed seven rebounds, although it seemed he had more than that.

"He was really athletic," said Notre Dame center Doug Schaefer, who finished with 10 points and four assists. "They were hard to guard and could really rebound, but we stuck with it."

Notre Dame led 13-10 after the first quarter and 25-22 at halftime, but Charleston sizzled in the third quarter, outscoring Notre Dame 22-16 on 11 of 18 shooting. Mixon scored 12 of Charleston's first 14 points in the second half.

Charleston held a distinct advantage in the rebounding department, but Notre Dame shot the ball better, making 50 percent of its shots compared to 41 percent by the Bluejays.

"I think Notre Dame hustled and they played hard the way the officials called the game," said Danny Farmer.

Notre Dame had four players in double figures, including Scott Wittenborn with 11 and Nathan LeGrand with 10.

"For us to be good, we have to play that way," Scott said. "Once in a while, we'll have someone score an abnormal amount, but we want to take what the defense gives us."

For Charleston, Lezcano Dean scored 11 and Farmer had 10.

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