Bobby Knight lost, so a bunch of sports reporters now have to spend the New Year in Lubbock.
At the J.A.C.C. everything was just peachy vs. the Rider Broncs. Rob Kurz scored 23, with eight rebounds. He was 8 of 12 from the charity stripe and only played 22 minutes in what was virtually a night off.
Russell Carter logged the most minutes, 31, of the team. He finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. On the other end of the floor, Carter grabbed 5 steals.
K-Mac finally had a breakout offensive performance. Scoring 21 points, all from long range, the sophomore went 7-11 from the floor. Add in 6 assists to zero turnovers and 3 rebounds for the man from Staten Island.
Falls was cold, very cold, but I did get to see a little of what Mike Brey loves about the guy. I had closer seats tonight, and was able to watch Colin at work on the defensive end. He was the first guy back to stop Rider's fast breaks and called out assignments to his teammates. With a young team, it really helps to have a floor general out there. That said, 1 of 8 shooting will not cut it in Big East play. Falls needs to become a more reliable shooter every night to make up for his lack of athletic ability or he should be prepared for more minutes on the bench.
Prediction: Luke Zeller will start one more game this season. After Stony Brook, Coach Brey will use Luke Harangody for 25-30 minutes a night in the more physical Big East conference. Zeller is a terrible enigma. Playing 15 minutes, he logged 4 fouls, 3 turnovers, and shot 1 for 5. LZ is still the very talented Mr. Basketball coming out of high school, but a year and a half later he just does not fit playing stronger post players and quicker wings.
Luke Harangody, however, is the real deal. For the third time in four games, he played less than a half but pulled down double digit boards and posted double digit points. Per 40 minutes, Bamm-Bamm scores 27.6 points and grabs 13.3 rebounds. We will see lots more of him in the near future.
Other stories off the bench, Hillesland was solid but not spectacular playing with four fouls. Tory Jackson had a little trouble, but really impressed with his passing ability. He just needs time for his teammates to connect with him. Finally, Ryan Ayers run up and down the floor well for 13 minutes, but got almost nothing to show for it.
Gene Cross was really impressive on the bench today. For the first time in a while, I noticed an ND coach really teaching the game. Every time a player came out, Cross had some words of encouragement and thoughts of how to improve. Tory Jackson seemed to really eat Cross' words up. It's nice to see the young players being treated as future starters instead of simple backups.
Overall, another tally in the win total. One more game before the going gets tough.