SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Most coaches might not like the 18-foot baseline jumper Russell Carter quickly took when he was defended with 2 minutes left. However, it's a shot Notre Dame's Mike Brey wants Carter to take.
``In the old coach's manual that's not a good shot. But he's got to take it,'' Brey said. ``Because he was rolling and you've got to cut him loose and let him go. That's the way the night was going.''
Carter's shot followed his career-high sixth 3-pointer, starting a 14-0 run en route to the Irish's 99-85 victory over No. 4 Alabama on Thursday night.
Just like a year ago, when Notre Dame upset a then-No. 22 Alabama 78-71, 3-pointers were key. Last year, Colin Falls hit six in the first half to get the Irish going. On Thursday, Notre Dame (7-1) was 12-of-28 from beyond the arc.
``I really didn't do anything different,'' Carter said. ``I just took it upon myself to be more aggressive.''
No opponent had shot better than 29 percent on 3s in the first seven games against Alabama (7-1).
Kyle McAlarney also had a career high 20 points, making four 3-pointers, and Falls also scored 20 for the Irish.
``Their three perimeter guys, three starters, I thought were sensational,'' Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. ``That was the difference for them, I thought they were really, really good.''
Gottfried said he was disappointed in the Tide's defense.
``We feel like, you score 85 points on the road, at Notre Dame, that should be enough points to win,'' he said. ``We didn't guard them as well as we'd like to and we turned the ball over too many times.''
The Irish showed signs of letting the game slip away, turning the ball over on three straight possessions. But Carter hit his two shots and Luke Harangody converted on a three-point play and it was the Crimson Tide players who lost their composure, turning the ball over on three straight possessions.
The 99 points were the most scored by Notre Dame against a ranked opponent since a 101-98 win over No. 10 Syracuse on Feb. 15, 1992.
``I think our offensive efficiency was going to have to win it for us,'' Brey said. ``It was hard to keep them off the backboard they're so athletic. We did get some stops and some steals at times.''
Alonzo Gee led Alabama with 24 points, Ronald Steele had 13 and Jermareo Davidson 12.
``They just played hard and outhustled us,'' Gee said.
It was Notre Dame's second straight win over a ranked opponent. They beat No. 23 Maryland 81-74 on Sunday to end a seven-game losing streak to ranked teams. The last time Notre Dame beat a team in the top five was Feb. 8, 2005, when it edged No. 4 Boston College 68-65.
After the game, Irish students flooded the court to celebrate. It was the first back-to-back wins over ranked teams for Notre Dame since beating No. 13 Marquette, No. 9 Maryland and No. 2 Texas in six days during the 2002-03 season.
``I think, I hope, you watched two NCAA tournament teams tonight in an NCAA intensity type game,'' Gottfried said.