The magic finally dried up a bit in the end, but have to love the heart on this team. Kyle McAlarney set a Notre Dame record with 10 three pointers and had a career high 39. We never quit against the best team in the country and very nearly brought a 23 point deficit back to single digits. Congrats to the team for a very good week that will surely pay dividends in March.
Our lack of depth really showed as Carleton Scott was the only guy to get a handful of minutes outside the seven man rotation. Nash did not play at all. With dead legs and Harangody fighting the flu, the inability to run with Carolina really hurt.
Another good game for Tory Jackson. Just ten points and two assists, but he took the ball to the hoop a few times. He did get schooled a couple times in transition by Ty Lawson, a good learning experience. While battling the All-America caliber guard should held down the road, Tory clearly did not match up well. Lawson scored 22 and had 10 assists. Nevertheless, Tory was quite impressive this week and I hope will continue the good work this season.
Kyle McAlarney's shooting woes seem far removed from his current form. Remember last Friday? That shutout turned into a career high in less than a week. Kyle never stopped fighting and singlehandedly kept the deficit under twenty. With 4:38 remaining, Kyle knocked down a three after a whistle that would have cut the Heels' lead to eight. Had that shot counted, we could be talking about a comeback for the ages. Even without that basket, Kyle's pure heart was on display and led him to 10-19 shooting from beyond the arc. Congratulations Kyle and thanks for your hard work.
Ryan Ayers struggled a bit to 6 points. 2-8 shooting, all but one miss from beyond the arc. Only two rebounds and three fouls to go with those points.
Zach Hillesland also struggled a bit with five points, four rebounds, and four assists. He and Luke Zeller tried to defend Hansbrough but struggled. Four fouls for his work against the Carolina big man.
Luke Harangody was clearly not himself tonight, which is a shame. A healthy Harangody could have made some difference and much of the game's hype came from a matchup between the top players in the Big East and ACC. Still, 13 and 8 with the flu is no small feat. Get healthy soon, 'Gody.
Jonathan Peoples saw a lot of positive action against the athletic Tar Heel lineup. 7 points, 5 rebounds. 3-8 shooting and 2 assists. Zeller was decent, 7 points and 6 boards. He did foul out and struggled shooting (1-6 from beyond the arc). No Nash, but Scott played at the end.
In the end, a 15 point loss to the top team in out third game in three days is an acceptable outcome. You never like to lose, but the heart and drive on this team is commendable. The loss will help the team regroup and fix what we need to.
After two close losses in Paradise last year, our experience in an island tournament was much improved this season. Blowing out an in-state rival, cutting down a top ten team, and competing with the nation's best in three days is a good trip. Now the team can come home and regroup with two home games before playing Ohio State next Saturday. A win there would all but lock up a one loss nonconference schedule. Very good news.
Until then, congrats to the team for a good Maui Invitational. We clearly still do have some work to do before earning first place votes in the country, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Still, it's November, and having a win over a top ten team in the back pocket is no small feat. Let's bounce back from this loss and see how much we can improve before March.