The visitors put up a valiant effort, but this was not a fair fight. Irish rolled in the second half, outscoring their opponents by twenty seven.
Zach Hillesland was held out of the lineup due to plantar fasciitis. He will hopefully return for the second exhibition game. Luke Zeller started in his place and had a strong performance.
As previously mentioned, I was unable to attend the game, so let's just get to the stats. Tory Jackson was very good, scoring 18 points and adding seven assists and seven rebounds. Overcame his three turnovers by making five steals on defense. Missed all three three-point attempts, but was solid shooting everywhere else, including 4-5 from the charity stripe.
Kyle McAlarney was cold, shooting 4-12 from the floor. Finished with only eleven points, but also four assists and five rebounds. Like Jackson, played a lot of minutes (33).
Ryan Ayers was very solid, scoring 22 on 8-15 shooting. Was only 2-8 from beyond the arc, so he showed the ability to score from closer in. Good to see his development as on overall scorer. Five rebounds is also a solid total for the small forward.
Luke Zeller has a good night. Only played 21 minutes, but scored twelve and grabbed six boards. He shot well, 2-3 from three point land, a necessity in future contests.
Luke Harangody finished with a double-double, 16 points and 11 rebounds. Added two assists and two blocks, as well. Shot well, 50% from the floor, and made all four of his free throws.
Off the bench, Jonathan Peoples had a productive night. In 22 minutes, he scored three points, had three rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Nice to know he can contribute a little in each category. Carleton Scott had six points and six rebounds in twleve minutes. Ty Nash sunk two free throws. Tim Abromaitis scored eight points and picked up four boards in nine minutes. It will be fun to watch those three players battle it out for playing time. Walkons Kopko and Andree each played a minute.
I was wrong about the two transfers possibly playing. They have to sit out exhibition games as well this season.
Overall, a good performance for the guys to shake some rust off. Only nine turnovers, a good sign. If we can keep that stat under ten most games this year, we should be fine. Strong shooting from inside the arc, but only 31% beyond. Briar Cliff stuck around with lots of three point shooting in the first half. Once those stopped falling, the game was a lock.
Hard to take a lot from an exhibition game. Truly, this team should cruise until Maui. However, it is nice to get a win under the belt and the season started. Let's see the football team follow suit tomorrow.
EDIT: I forgot to congratulate Ryan Ayers, Kyle McAlarney, Luke Zeller, and Zach Hillesland for being named captains this year. Obviously well deserved in each case and not much of a surprise but congrats nonetheless.