Notre Dame went into halftime trailing Louisville 44-40, but it could have been worse.
The Irish shot only 41.2 percent in the first half, while the Cardinals shot 56.3 percent as they ran around Notre Dame's defense for a good part of the half.
Notre Dame started the game in full burn mode, letting the shot clock drain to single digits before looking for a shot. This produced a pair of three-pointers from Ben Hansbrough as the Irish's only field goals in the first 6 ½ minutes.
Notre Dame was able to stay in the game thanks to the work of Jack Cooley.
The reserve forward went 5 for 5 from the field with three of his baskets coming off putbacks and finished the opening half with 10 points.
Hansbrough has 14 points for the Irish.
Kyle Kuric leads Louisville's offense with 18 points, and Terrence Jennings has 10.
Kuric ended the first half with an odd sequence.
The Cardinals guard dunked over Irish forward Scott Martin and was going to the line for a three-point play with 0.8 second left in the half.
But Kuric was whistled for a technical foul, allowing Tim Abromaitis to convert a pair of free throws before Kuric hit his free throw.
Notre Dame needs its forwards to follow Cooley's lead on putback shots in the second half. The Irish had nine offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points in the first half.