Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Notre Dame 71, St. Edwards 56

It wasn't pretty, but it was a game certainly worth scheduling.

Hats off to St. Eds for giving the Irish all they could handle. Tough full court defense and constant substitutes to provide fresh legs forced 19 Notre Dame turnovers. A great early season test to get the boys into the swing of things and in the end it's a win, albeit a sloppy one.

Coach Brey stuck to his eight-man rotation for most of the game.

In the backcourt, we'll start with Kyle McAlarney. 12 points and 4 turnovers in 34 minutes for the junior. The TOs loom large with no assists. Not a great night handling the ball, but he certainly has a great shooting ability. PG responsibilities lie with Tory for now, but Mac is more than able to play both guard spots.

Jackson had a tough night. 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, but also 6 turnovers in 34 minutes. Credit St. Edward's for causing the turnovers with their relentless pressing defense, but Tory has to take care of the ball better. Play like that against a Big East team and its a loss.

Ryan Ayers had 7 points and 5 assists in 23 minutes. Great to see him distribute the ball from the perimeter when the guards were having trouble. Will continue to see the fewest minutes of the starters, but certainly deserves the 20 some he receives each night.

Zach Hillesland was off a bit, Only 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in 25 minutes on the floor. He needs to show up in the stat book more. Not with high scoring totals necessarily, but good contribution in every category.

Rob Kurz had another very solid night. 15 points, 9 rebounds, 31 minutes. He is a rock down low. May not be as flashy or as menacing as a guy like 7'2" Hibbert, but is as reliable to put together positive nights as anyone in the Big East.

Great to see Luke Harangody back in action. The big man had 15 points and 8 rebounds in 26 minutes for his first game back from injury. Coach Brey will be sure not to rush him back too soon, but he certainly looked able to compete right away. Very encouraging. He hopefully will be up to his normal output by the Paradise Jam.

Peoples and Zeller filled out the rest of the stat sheet, logging 15 and 10 minutes a piece. Peoples had 5 points and 2 assists with 3 turnovers. Zeller had 2 points and 3 rebounds. Coach Brey mentioned Jonathan's solid night today. He has plenty of confidence and can control the offense well when called upon. Normally a 2/3 assist turnover ratio will keep you on the bench, but everyone had a tough night handling the ball. He will be called upon regularly with confidence to give the starters a breather.

Freshmen Scott, Abro, and Nash saw some mopup time.

Overall not a great output (at least we're not in the Big Ten), but St Edwards is a talented team who played very hard tonight. Although an exhibition game, it was certainly one of the tougher nonconference tests we'll face. Their 24 wins last year in Division 2 were no fluke.

Good to see the team overcome some difficulties, but they must crack down on turnovers to be successful in the Big East. Shooting was rather solid and the defense got the ball back as many times as they turned it over on offense.

Monday against LIU will be the first game to count. If Harangody can continue to improve coming off injury and the team can cut down on mistakes, it should be no problem.

EDIT- The game certainly looks better compared to UCONN's survival over Morgan State and #22 Kentucky against Gardner-Webb. Run, Bulldogs, run.

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