What do you say? A tackle of Colin Falls gives DePaul the go ahead points and Kurz got mauled down low with a chance to win.
First off, let me get my thoughts out about the end. Tory Jackson goes Rambo on the team with a reckless spinning drive that ended up as close to the basket as South Bend. He kicks the ball out to the furthest man only to see Zeller (not 100% sure, I think it was him) heave up a pathetic attempt (it did hit the backboard) which Rob Kurz rebounded with a clear shot. Unbelievable no-call by the officials on a clear foul. Fran Fraschilla had a pretty good analysis of it afterwards, saying officials don't want to make the call unless its a hack job late. Still, a no-call determines the game every bit as much as calling the foul. Terrible mistake by the men in stripes who called a pretty good game.
What do you do now? 2-4 in close games this year (2-8 last year?). It's ridiculous to see this team fall late against poor opponents like this. Notre Dame should have won this game after the early 11-0 run, but the late theatrics make it hurt so much worse. I was forced to scream and yell and pace all night instead of watching The Office. Time to admit I have a problem and join NDBBA (Notre Dame Basketball Anonymous).
Ok, blood pressure's settled a bit, time to break down the game. First of all, I don't plan on watching the game tape. It's already in the fireplace. But seriously.
DePaul really tried to lose this one. Majerus spent half the broadcast counting unforced errors by the Blue Demons. With opponents like that, who needs friends? Too bad the Irish shot themselves fully in both feet.
Russell Carter's hurt. I'll give him that. When the hip doesn't feel too good, it's tough to drive to the rim and shoot the J. He made some good drives for the Irish but was overall unable to produce. Many of his eight missed shots were wild three point attempts a Senior shouldn't be throwing up. Really ugly night shooting with a Falls-esque 1-8 from beyond the arc (though I need to stop ranting about Colin after another good game). When your best player can't score on the road in a rivalry matchup, it's going to be a tough night.
To Colin Falls, with his seventh straight double digit performance. Nice job playing the top scorer for the Irish. We just need Carter and Falls to be in tune together. Colin had 20 points, but most of them came on very pretty drives to the hoop. He kept the ship afloat as well as he could. No complaints, here.
Really nice to see Rob Kurz have a good game when we need it. Hasn't taken the conference by storm as I hoped, but 15 points, 8 rebounds is pretty solid. Lots of those were offensive boards, meaning the Irish had a lot of second chances. Unfortunately DePaul hacked and swatted the Irish away from the hoop and rarely offered good looks down low. Blocks total isn't out yet, but the Blue Demons controlled that category.
Hey, except for his last ridiculous try for the win, Tory Jackson did alright. The frosh didn't hurt the team offensively, indeed he made a big three. Twelve points and three rebounds and was effective running the offense. Won't place too much blame on the young man for his last possession attempt, but I do wish that last chances would stop looking like Mike Brey drew up a halfback blast for the PG (Thomas was a prime culprit and many of last year's games ended with a failed Quinn drive).
Not sure what to say about Harangody. Bamm-Bamm pulled down eight boards, but provided another weak effort on the offensive end. Wilson Chandler had a field day blocking the freshman's shots. Luke tired a couple head fakes, a few spin moves, but nothing really worked. This needs to be addressed because neither of our big men should have trouble scoring when they get good position like they did many times tonight.
Hillesland was surprisingly absent, only four points and one rebound. Ryan Ayers no longer scares me with the ball in his hand. He made an open three and put up a good attempt when guarded. He should take Luke Zeller's ever-declining minutes. We all know LZ struggles under the basket. Unfortunately, he failed to provide an outside presence to make up for his lacking down low. 0 for 3 from deep. At one point, he caught the ball in the corner completely unguarded and threw up a brick. His game is provide a mismatch on the wing, but poor shooting will keep him off the floor.
Tim Andree went 0 for 1 according to ESPN.com. Nice to see the walk-on get a few opportunities while he's on crutches and wearing street clothes. I'm surprised Kyle McAlarney didn't get to play a little too.
Wilson Chandler had a double-double, but was the only Blue Demon to rebound more than five. The Irish surprisingly controlled the boards 31-28. DePaul finished with 50% shooting and was very effective breaking down the 2-3. At least three or four times, the Irish were caught in between in their coverage. I give all the credit to our opponents, who fought back after an early deficit and lead most of the game.
Where do we go from here? Mike brey again showed his ineptitude with close games. I hate to place the blame on him, but certainly some is due after horrid performances late the last two years. This stings even more after the pathetic USF performence. Out of the top 25 for sure, with a soft late schedule should really help.
Of the last five games, two are away at very poor opponents and the other three are very winnable at the Joyce. Really must take care of business at Cincy, but first the team is due for a home win against Providence. The Friars are pretty solid, but a win is necessary for everyone's sanity. Most important is scoring more than 70. Five of our six losses came with poor offensive outputs.
NCAA-wise were no longer a solid team. Still very good chance, but officially on the bubble until proven otherwise. 4-1 the rest of the way looked very possible, but nothing's for sure now. I'd say that 10 conference wins is the magic number for a bid (9-7 with a BET victory or 10-6 regardless). No longer a like 6 seed, now it looks more like 8 or 9. Of course, that is better than most predicted at the beginning of the year, but we're all sick of moral victories. Time to bear down and take control of our own fates. We'd better roar into the BET coming off a hot streak.