We saw the first game without Colin Falls in the starting lineup... and very little was different. Falls, who has plantar fasciitis in his left foot, sat the game out. While the very mention of "shock wave treatment" makes my spine tingle, Colin should be back as soon as next week.
Also, nice to see the ovation Chalko got when introduced. I hope that he enjoyed playing in front of the hometown fans once his senior year. I saw that his high school coach was in attendance, as well as some current Marian players. Nothing like a nice homecoming.
Now to the game. As promised, the Irish put Elon away early. After two minutes, ND put up a 10-0 lead. With the lead, Coach Brey could keep the players fresh by distributing time equally. At the end of the night, eight guys played 18 minutes or more.
Notre Dame held a significant height advantage and used Rob Kurz and Luke Harangody well in the paint. Both achieved double doubles, even though LH only played 18 minutes. Kurz added 7 assists and was the player of the game on both ends of the floor.
As for the guards, Kyle McAlarney ran a very composed offense as usual. Although his numbers were unimpressive, K-Mac was the catalyst for the 94-63 win. Russell Carter scored 23, including, I believe, five 3-pointers. His jump shot is what most impressed me. We know the guy can drive, but the inside-outside game is what will make him a pro. Add in the 6 boards, which were mostly pure athleticism, and Russ had a complete night.
Hillesland started, but made little impact. He was only on the floor for 20 minutes, with little to show for it.
Tory Jackson had some impact off the bench. He only made 2 of 10, but was fouled on half the misses. If he could make free throws, he would have scored 12. Most exciting four minutes in the game came after Jackson got hacked on a layup. Tory let his anger help his game and attacked with ferocity the next three times the ball touched his hands. I can't wait to see this guy grow as a player. His passion for the game and pure playmaking ability is as good as any in the country.
Finally, Ryan Ayers played 18 minutes, with 6 rebounds, but little other impact.
Overall it was a solid game. Plenty of scoring, pretty good defense, but still some to improve. Elon matched the Irish point for point in the second half for a while, but it was clear Notre Dame had the better team. Time to prepare for Portland and Army.