A very snowy New Year's Eve in South Bend. As previously mentioned, I was unable to attend tonight's game, but I'll give the basic statistical rundown.
The Irish got off to a slow start, holding only a one-point lead eight minutes into the contest. The first half was highlighted by little offense for both teams, Notre Dame holding the 27-18 advantage.
In the 2nd half, an 18-0 run got the Irish enough room to breathe and the team cruised to the 19 point final margin.
Kyle McAlarney was very cold, shooting only 1-9 from three point range. He ended up with nine points, but killed some possessions with bad shot selection. Ryan Ayers definitely needs to step into a bigger scoring role when Mac's shots aren't falling.
Tory Jackson did very well distributing the ball, finishing with 10 assists and grabbing eight rebounds, but fouled out. With no points tonight, I am beginning to worry whether we will ever see his scoring ability again, like in the Georgetown tournament game last year. He's another player who needs to be able to create his own shot when other guys cannot.
Ayers had another solid overall night, 10 points and 6 rebounds. Again I would like to see him be more proactive with a cold McAlarney, especially on a night when Zach Hillesland is out with a mild ankle sprain (precautionary reasons, will be in the lineup Thursday).
Luke Harangody was good with 22 points and 6 rebounds. Was held down by four fouls, which may have hindered his play on the boards.
Rob Kurz was the clear player of the game, 23 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Nice to see him take control after being quietly solid for the past few contests.
Jonathan Peoples had six points and two assists in 22 minutes. Luke Zeller had seven and three boards. Nash and Abro got a minute each. A little surprising not to see them receive more playing time in Zach's absence, but Coach Brey mentioned previously that he would stick to the normal rotation today. I assume that against a tougher opponent we would see more of the freshmen with only seven active veterans.
Shot 43% from the floor, 30% from three-point range. Only outrebounded the Ospreys by 5, had a too-high number of turnovers (12), and three guys with 4 fouls or more. Not an overwhelming performance, but it go the job done. As long as we improve for the West Virginia and UCONN games, we should be in good shape.
That's it for 2007, I'll start some Big East previews tomorrow. Have a good one.