Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are going home after an insane double-overtime loss to Notre Dame.

The longer this game went on, the closer the clock came to striking midnight, which signaled the start of St. Patrick’s Day. Metaphorically, the clock was striking midnight on Rutgers’ season.

The Scarlet Knights had a few chances to win it down the stretch, but Notre Dame was one possession better than Rutgers on Wednesday night (and Thursday early morning).

For a team that won two huge games on buzzer-beaters during the regular season, this was a tough way to go out. An offensive putback sealed the fate of Steve Pikiell‘s team after 49 minutes and 58 seconds of level playing.

Overall, the defense and ball security needed to be better for Rutgers in this game. They gave Notre Dame too many extra possessions via offensive rebounds and turnovers.

The trio of seniors — Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr., and Caleb McConnell — combined for 64 points, but it wasn’t enough. The lack of production off the bench hurt the Scarlet Knights big time.

Nate Laszewski poured in 18 points off the bench for the Fightin’ Irish while the Rutgers bench was held scoreless. In a game where the margins were razor-thin, the Irish made one more play when it mattered. It’s fitting that the win came on St. Patrick’s Day.

If nothing else, this First Four game set the stage for the rest of March Madness. If the rest of the NCAA Tournament can live up to this game, college basketball fans are going to be happy campers all weekend long.

The Scarlet Knights have nothing to be ashamed about after this game, this season, or this era in Rutgers basketball. There are bound to be some changes to the roster, but this group started something special in New Jersey.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.