Notre Dame put up a half-hearted performance but still came out victorious vs. the C.S.C. university of the west, Portland. With Colin Falls on the bench for the 2nd straight game, ND shot 10% worse from the field than the Pilots. In fact, the Irish shot the same percentage from beyond the arc as they did overall.
One reason for the low percentage? Notre Dame started the game cold and uninspired. Playing several games as big favorites, a start like this will happen from time to time. Good to get it out of the way before Big East play. After only scoring 35 in the first half to Portland's 29, ND dropped 51 on the Pilots in a strong 2nd twenty minutes.
Individually, Russell Carter had another great performance. 28 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists. Being surrounded by bunches of athleticism for the first time in his career has aided Carter tremendously. Russ can step out of his role as "the athletic guy" and become a much more well-rounded offensive force. Russell's jump shot was showcased again tonight. He made a few clutch threes to keep the contest from getting too close.
Down low, Robert Kurz just keeps on keepin' on. 21 points, 11 boards for the Junior. This year's post play is vastly improved over last season, mainly due to Rob's strength and increased confidence.
Zach Hillesland played very well in 22 minutes. He's a lot skinnier than our opponents down low, but twice used his agility and wingspan to grab a rebound and steal.
Tory Jackson played 23 minutes tonight, and proved that he deserves more looks. Solid ball control and movement was the norm with Jackson at the helm of the offense. When paired with K-Mac in the backcourt, he added an extra weapon to the offense and allowed Carter to play the 3. At the end of his night, every member of the ND bench stood up and applauded his effort.
Where did Luke Zeller go? 0 points in 14 minutes was not good to see from the ex-Mr. Indiana.
Overall, the 2nd half saw much better ball movement and cutting to create scoring opportunities. Luke Harangody called for the ball several times and provided extra intensity in the post. A couple of mistakes included plenty of offensive fouls and lots of traveling violations for both sides.
Thursday brings in a solid Army team. The Irish should up the intensity and get a solid W.