Luke Harangody had done everything a bruising power forward is supposed to do. He scored 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and even threw in a banked 40-footer as the shot clock expired.
After Harangody's second miss with 3.5 seconds to play, Texas' A.J. Abrams let fly with a shot from just beyond half court that bounced off the front of the rim and the Fighting Irish had an 81-80 victory in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
"I'm not the kind of player to look back and say I missed two free throws," Harangody said. "We got the win."
This was the first matchup of top 10 teams this season, and there will be another tonight as the Fighting Irish (4-0) advanced to the championship game against No. 1 North Carolina, which beat Oregon in the other semifinal. Oregon will play the Longhorns (3-1) for third place.
"We're happy we're playing for the championship; that's why we came here, and we don't care who it would be against," said Notre Dame's Kyle McAlarney, who had five three-pointers and 19 points.
"McAlarney doesn't need a whole lot of space," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We can survive teams making 11 threes against us; it just seemed that every time we had a chance down the stretch they would get a big rebound, make a big play."
Abrams had 23 points and Justin Mason had 16 points and seven assists for the Longhorns, while Damion James added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
"We're disappointed with the loss, but it was to a seasoned, experienced team," Barnes said. "I thought we did some good things, and I wasn't surprised we fought back."
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey thought having three seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup was the difference for his team.
"We are older and have been together as long as any team," he said. "I told them before the game, at halftime and at every timeout that we're more experienced, and that's the way we played. I think that translates into maturity and experience, and that's why we were able to handle the way they came at us down the stretch."
The three-pointer of the game belonged to Harangody, who was 1-for-3 from beyond the arc coming in. There was a scramble for the ball far from the basket and the shot clock was winding down. Harangody grabbed the ball and let fly from 40 feet with the ball banking in as the buzzer sounded to give Notre Dame a 66-60 lead with 7:47 to go.
"I called that," Harangody said.
NO. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 98, OREGON 69: : Tyler Hansbrough was back for a second game and the Tar Heels will be playing for a third title on Maui. The reigning National Player of the Year, who missed three weeks of practice and three games with a leg injury, had 16 points to lead North Carolina (5-0) over the Ducks (3-2) in the other Maui Invitational semifinal. He had 12 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes as the Tar Heels took a 51-22 halftime lead. Michael Dunigan had 18 points to lead Oregon.
NO. 4 PITTSBURGH 74, BELMONT 60: : Sam Young scored 33 points despite not getting his first basket until more than 11 minutes into the game and the Panthers (5-0) shut down the outside for the visiting Bruins (1-2).
: NO. 15 MARQUETTE 85, TEXAS SOUTHERN 68: : Jerel McNeal scored 20 points and Lazar Haywood added 18 to lead the host Golden Eagles (4-0), who failed to score 100 points for the first time in three games, over the Tigers (0-4).
NO. 17 FLORIDA 86, WASHINGTON 84: : Nick Calathes scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half and the Gators (4-1) held off a late rally to beat the Huskies (2-3) in the consolation game of the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo.
NO. 20 VILLANOVA 71, MONMOUTH 48: : Dante Cunningham scored 19 points, Corey Stokes added 18 and the host Wildcats (4-0) beat the Hawks (0-5) to win their 19th straight game at The Pavilion.
NO. 1 CONNECTICUT 96, BRIGHAM YOUNG 47: : Maya Moore had 14 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists and the Huskies (4-0), playing their first road game of the season, made their first 11 shots of the second half against the Cougars (2-2).
NO. 2 NORTH CAROLINA 96, WOFFORD 42: : Cetera DeGraffenreid scored 15 points to lead the host Tar Heels (6-0), who scored the game's first 14 points and limited the Terriers (0-2) to 20 percent shooting.
NO. 7 LOUISVILLE 59, UTAH 48: : Angel McCoughtry (St. Frances) scored 13 points and had two key steals in the final three minutes for the Cardinals (4-0), who had never played at Utah (2-2).
NO. 8 TEXAS A&M; 54, ARIZONA 44: : Danielle Gant hit a clutch turnaround jumper with 1:26 left and had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the visiting Aggies (4-0). The Wildcats (3-2) rallied late but shot only 24 percent overall.
NO. 9 TENNESSEE 83, WESTERN CAROLINA 56: : Freshman Glory Johnson tied a career high with 19 points against the visiting Lady Catamounts (2-2) and the host Lady Vols (4-1) gave coach Pat Summitt her 987th victory in 35 seasons.
NO. 14 NOTRE DAME 85, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 36: : Brittany Mallory scored a career-high 19 points as the host Irish (4-0) jumped on the Eagles (3-2) early.
NO. 20 OHIO STATE 63, HARTFORD 45: : Jantel Lavender scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the host Buckeyes (4-1). MaryLynne Schaefer was the lone player in double figures for the Hawks (3-2).
NO. 22 TEXAS CHRISTIAN 91, HOUSTON 72: : TK LaFleur scored 22 points to lead six Lady Frogs in double figures. TCU (5-0) scored the first eight points and never trailed the Cougars (3-2).