Thursday, November 27, 2008

North Carolina 102, Notre Dame 87

The magic finally dried up a bit in the end, but have to love the heart on this team. Kyle McAlarney set a Notre Dame record with 10 three pointers and had a career high 39. We never quit against the best team in the country and very nearly brought a 23 point deficit back to single digits. Congrats to the team for a very good week that will surely pay dividends in March.

Our lack of depth really showed as Carleton Scott was the only guy to get a handful of minutes outside the seven man rotation. Nash did not play at all. With dead legs and Harangody fighting the flu, the inability to run with Carolina really hurt.

Another good game for Tory Jackson. Just ten points and two assists, but he took the ball to the hoop a few times. He did get schooled a couple times in transition by Ty Lawson, a good learning experience. While battling the All-America caliber guard should held down the road, Tory clearly did not match up well. Lawson scored 22 and had 10 assists. Nevertheless, Tory was quite impressive this week and I hope will continue the good work this season.

Kyle McAlarney's shooting woes seem far removed from his current form. Remember last Friday? That shutout turned into a career high in less than a week. Kyle never stopped fighting and singlehandedly kept the deficit under twenty. With 4:38 remaining, Kyle knocked down a three after a whistle that would have cut the Heels' lead to eight. Had that shot counted, we could be talking about a comeback for the ages. Even without that basket, Kyle's pure heart was on display and led him to 10-19 shooting from beyond the arc. Congratulations Kyle and thanks for your hard work.

Ryan Ayers struggled a bit to 6 points. 2-8 shooting, all but one miss from beyond the arc. Only two rebounds and three fouls to go with those points.

Zach Hillesland also struggled a bit with five points, four rebounds, and four assists. He and Luke Zeller tried to defend Hansbrough but struggled. Four fouls for his work against the Carolina big man.

Luke Harangody was clearly not himself tonight, which is a shame. A healthy Harangody could have made some difference and much of the game's hype came from a matchup between the top players in the Big East and ACC. Still, 13 and 8 with the flu is no small feat. Get healthy soon, 'Gody.

Jonathan Peoples saw a lot of positive action against the athletic Tar Heel lineup. 7 points, 5 rebounds. 3-8 shooting and 2 assists. Zeller was decent, 7 points and 6 boards. He did foul out and struggled shooting (1-6 from beyond the arc). No Nash, but Scott played at the end.

In the end, a 15 point loss to the top team in out third game in three days is an acceptable outcome. You never like to lose, but the heart and drive on this team is commendable. The loss will help the team regroup and fix what we need to.

After two close losses in Paradise last year, our experience in an island tournament was much improved this season. Blowing out an in-state rival, cutting down a top ten team, and competing with the nation's best in three days is a good trip. Now the team can come home and regroup with two home games before playing Ohio State next Saturday. A win there would all but lock up a one loss nonconference schedule. Very good news.

Until then, congrats to the team for a good Maui Invitational. We clearly still do have some work to do before earning first place votes in the country, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Still, it's November, and having a win over a top ten team in the back pocket is no small feat. Let's bounce back from this loss and see how much we can improve before March.


IrishFan89 said...

McAlarney was sick!

He is definetly an AA-Candidate. The NBA Team that drafts him will be glad to have an excellent 3-point shooter.

Anonymous said...

They showed a lot of heart maybe the football team can learn from them. I sure hope they meet again, with things being more even, revenge would be sweet.

Anonymous said...

They were so tired in the second half... And Luke was off from step one. What killed the game was when they went cold in the first half for about 6-7 minutes. There were 5-6 open threes they should have knocked down [Zeller, Mac and Ayers].

Tory was not on this game - too aggressive. At least 8 Carolina points happened in the first half because he thought he could get away with a steal on Lawson. Not gonna happen. Sit back and play your defense.

But that Kmac effort is for the ages. He almost made it a game with 3 minutes left by himself.

Lot's of room for improvement. But a great team.

Sidenote... Brey needs to use the bench more effectively... they're actually good!

Also, slight correction - Nash did play toward the end of the first half.

BlackandGreen said...

Nice catch, I missed parts of the first half and Nash did not show up in the original box score. 3 minutes, no stats.

I think Tory was really surprised at Lawson's quickness. He was fired up for a shot at Carolina but really underestimated just how good Ty is. Lawson burned by him a few times and just made Tory look slow by comparison.

Obviously the complaint with Brey after most losses is his failure to reach into the bench for a spark. With three games in three days, it would be nice to give the starters a little more rest. But Kyle put on that shooting clinic playing 39 minutes after 35 and 40 the two previous days. Go figure.

Golden Monkey said...

Brey will never change, he had his starters in the I.U. game with a 30pt. lead. Thats why come tournament time our top seven are tired. It happens every year.

Anonymous said...

I was really proud of our guys despite the loss. With a little more work on rebounds and free throws we would have owned them!