The Notre Dame boys basketball team was riding high entering its game on Saturday night with Kolbe Cathedral.

For a quarter the Lancers ran with the Cougars. Then reality set in.

Kolbe outscored the Lancers 15-6 in the second and led by as many as 28 as the Cougars won their seventh straight game, 70-44 in front of 1,121 at the William H. Pitt Center.

The loss was Notre Dame's first since Jan. 8. The Lancers' record is now 6-7, but Notre Dame has lost just three conference games, two of which have come at the hands of Kolbe.

"We've been playing so well," Lancers' Head Coach Vin Laczkoski said. "I'm disappointed that the kids panicked a little tonight."

The Lancers came out of the blocks successfully though, as Notre Dame opened up a 7-2 with four points from Arkel Miles. Kolbe responded with an 8-0 run that made the game 10-7 and didn't trail after that in the game.

"Kolbe's a very, very good team," Laczkoski said. "They play good team basketball and they're athletic. We had five great games in a row. Unfortunately we didn't play well."

Notre Dame stayed with the Cougars and tied the game at 18 with 1:07 left in the first, but Kolbe led 21-18 after one quarter of play.

Kolbe extended its run from the end of the first quarter to 18-2 through the end of the second and the Cougars led by as many as 16 in the first half. At halftime the score was 36-24.

"We just never recovered," Laczkoski said.

Notre Dame crept to as close as 44-34 in the second half but Kolbe answered with nine straight points before Danny Upchurch's half-court heave cut the Kolbe lead to 53-37 after three quarters of play.

"They have good senior leadership," Laczkoski said. "I love my

seniors, but they're role players."

ND will play again on Friday as the Lancers will travel to Weston to play. Game time is 7 p.m.