A quick blowout would have been nice, but the Irish were able to slowly put the game out of reach against an awful shooting George Mason team. Strong defense for the entire contest allowed Notre Dame to overcome a sluggish night offensively.
First half, Notre Dame jumped out to a double digit lead quickly using three pointers from five different players. Luke Harangody was dominant when he got the ball in the lane, but played too far away from the basket at times.
In the second half, the Irish looked perfectly happy wearing down the opposition. Instead of putting George Mason away with a quick run to start the period, the team kept the lead in the teens the rest of the game. Down the stretch, lots of spacing on the offensive end ran down the shot clock and drained the blood out of the Patriots.
Good to see that senior Rob Kurz did not end his career with this contest. Only 6 points while fouling out early. 2-4 from three, not much else to mention.
Luke Harangody with yet another double-double. 18 points, 14 rebounds. Really came back to take control in the second half after playing too far out in the first period. 8-19 from the field is a little deceiving as he missed four in a row on tip-ins. Was able to dominate in the paint against the smaller Patriot lineup. Hillesland and Kurz spent most of the game guarding Will Thomas, but Harangody can take some of the blame for Thomas going off. Other than that, however, a very solid night.
Tory Jackson with 6 points and 8 rebounds. Made some dumb mistakes turning the ball over, but played an overall solid game. Broke down the defense a few times with drives in the key, hitting layups or dishing to an open teammate.
Kyle McAlarney was harrassed by the George Mason defense from the start, but overcame a poor first half shooting to finish with 15 points on 3-7 from beyond the arc. Had plenty of help stretching the defense from the rest of the team tonight, as well.
Zach Hillesland scored six, but more importantly grabbed 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Great job with the all-around game as usual, making important contributions in every category.
Off the bench, how about Ryan Ayers? 12 points on 5-9 shooting. Showed great poise hitting two pointers on the break. Could have had 6-9 more had Brey allowed him to continue to shoot threes as the game wound down and he got looks in transition. Jonathan Peoples played sparingly. Luke Zeller hit a three. Tim Abromaitis and Ty Nash got some playing time, so good for them. Abro even got his first NCAA tourney points.
For George Mason, Will Thomas finished his career with a great performance. 25 points, 7 rebounds. Seemed the wear down in the second half as the Irish looked far fresher than their opponents. No other Patriots in double figures. Folarin Campbell had a terrible night shooting and just could not knock down anything all game.
Kind of a boring game, but will definitely take it. More analysis when I get a chance tomorrow, but great way to start the tournament with an easy win. Solid D was nice to see for the first time in a while. Bring on Washington State.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
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Sometimes it's good to play a little "pitch and catch" on the big stage before you have to go all-out against a good team. We had that opportunity this evening. Given the start of the game, I had hoped that we would not take our foot off of the gas offensively. A slow end to the first half took care of that hope.
Still, a good (enough)win. WSU will be tough.
Wow, first time in a while I watched an nd game, and did not have to leave the room out of anger/frustration haha. Would have liked to see them challenge Mason's perimeter shots more, and clamping down on Thomas more would have been nice.
Solid game nevertheless, but what is with gody's steady decline from the free throw line?
Pleasepleaseplease let our offense show up from the get-go against Washington State.
I don't care if it's just Winthrop, but 11 pts allowed in the second half scares me.
We could have done some things better, but it's tourny time and I'll take an 18 point win and smile no questions asked. Good warmup win, let's get to the sweet 16 and keep rolling! Go Irish!
I'm ashamed I was afraid of that team. You couldn't play worse than Mason did. How many shots did they miss from two feet?
I agree, ND plays, Ok. Not great, not bad, just...ok. I liked how that came out 'pissed off' a little and playing with a good edge and a 17-0 run. With a team playing as poorly as GM, OK is a 18-pt win. The big red flag for me is the 68 pts. Not gonna win against a higher seed with 68 and playing no defense.
Plus, you know when/if ND gets eliminated, the box score is gonna have "KMAC: 3-13, 10 pts" in it, which he was well on his way to til a strong second half. Hopefully he got it out of his system.
All in all, I'll take every game like this as long as they win. Win the next one and I'm off Brey's back for another 3 years.
George Mason played their worst game of the year (aided in part by the Irish D), so no shame in thinking that they would put up more of a fight.
The key for me is that Notre Dame won easily while focusing on improving weaknesses. If this was a 90-72 scorefest, I would be more concerned going into a game against a great defensive team like Washington State. However, the Irish showed that they can win with good defense and only two starters scoring in double figures. If we can repeat the focus on defense and play our normal offensive game, definitely a great chance to win Saturday,
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