Big win, not least because of the poor results in Irish sports last week. Notre Dame was in control against a very good West Virginia team all night and survived a last second shot in a game that got a little too close. Overall, a pretty 61-58 victory.
My love-hate relationship with Colin Falls continues. The senior guard was clutch tonight, shooting 4-7 from long range. He played well overall and provided a couple of steals to go with a block on defense. Really nice to see him in form.
We needed Colin, because Russell Carter had a tough night shooting jumpers. He missed all 5 three-point attempts, but finished with 19 points. A few beautiful dunks, including a reverse slam at the end of the 1st half, got the crowd on its feet.
Luke Zeller plays pretty well, but his stats rarely surpass injured walk-on Tim Andree. Only two points and two rebounds, but he didn't hurt the team while on the floor. Still, his minutes will continue to be eaten up by...
Luke Harangody, who scored 11 with 5 rebounds. He missed a few close shots, but provided a great inside presence to help spread out the Mountaineers' 1-3-1 defense.
Rob Kurz scored 8 with 11 rebounds, but only shot 4-7 from the charity stripe. His late miss gave West Virginia a last-second opportunity. Overall, he is a great foul shooting big man, but he had a tough night today. Both he and Harangody played well without getting into foul trouble (Rob's three fouls were spread out).
Ryan Ayers showed some of his shooting ability, with a nice corner three. Overall, he didn't do much else and sat on the bench the whole 2nd half.
Tory Jackson didn't score, but did play the point pretty well. His late steal at the bottom of a pile was pure heart. 5 assists with 2 turnovers. Continues to show promise with some growing pains.
Jonathan Peoples was very impressive, however. He lacks Jackson's talent, but is very effective running the offense. I really like to see him on the floor, because he rarely makes the bad mistakes to which Tory can be prone. We should see more of him as the year goes on.
Hillesland again provided the hustle and guts off the bench. The sophomore scored 2, with two assists and three rebounds. Zach is developing into quite a 6th man.
The Mountaineers kept the game close with slick three-point shooting and their unique defense. The Irish showed a lot of poise winning a close game at a slower tempo. Brey let West Virginia make it a half-court game and maximized chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team showed a lot of individual sets made strictly for the matchup against a 1-3-1 zone and played more full court zone D than usual. All in all, a great and very needed win.
We would have lost this matchup last year. This team is showing more and more upside as the year goes on. Next matchup is Sunday at home vs. Seton Hall.