Saturday, November 22, 2008

View from Section 210

This from Garrett Kuk, '03 alum and attendee of yesterday's game. He also sent the write-up to Rakes of Mallow, so if you want to read it twice be sure to check out that blog as well.

Before a rowdy, record-setting crowd of 4,534 at Gersten Pavilion, the
Irish faced Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. While this was supposed
to be a final tune-up for the Maui Invitational, it quickly became
apparent that the home team would fight for all 48 minutes. Loyola
seemed content to slow the game down, make the Irish play defense for
the full 35 second shot clock and retreat quickly on defense to
prevent run-outs in the transition game.

While ND's inconsistent play was at times frustrating, it was more
along the lines the offense unable to find its stride. Even LMU's
torrid outside shooting keeping things close and the home crowd, I
found myself expecting ND to run off a couple quick possessions with
successive break-away baskets or three-pointers. While these never
materialized, it was nice to focus on widening the lead and I felt the
outcome of the game was never in doubt despite a tighter margin than I
had hoped.

Sixty-five points may earn a victory in some Big East contests, but
not with the recipe that brought a victory tonight. Despite being in
the bonus with 13 minutes to play in the contest, we probably left 15
points at the free throw line by missing on the front end of numerous
one-and-ones. There were a few times (especially in the first half)
when the extra pass would have yielded a wide open look from behind
the arc, and the ball handling was not as crisp as I'm accustomed to
seeing from recent Brey squads. With superior athletes, I would have
also preferred to see an extended aggressive press/trap defense,
forcing LMU into quick decisions.

With all this criticism aside, this will be a very fun ND team to
watch this year, especially when we have multiple players hitting from
different areas of the court. The Irish never trailed in the contest,
and Harangody's workmanlike effort (9-17 from the field, 9-13 from the
line, 17 rebs) is expected but should not be understated. His
defensive play is solid and he picked up two of his 3 personal fouls
late in the contest. I look forward to solid big man defense from him
this season, knowing he does not get himself into foul trouble, and
rarely meets an opponent that can force the issue on both ends of the
floor to frustrate him.

SI Jinx: Kyle MacAlarney was held scoreless in 36 minutes of play,
tallying just two rebounds and four assists to go with four turnovers.
Let's hope he got that out of his system in time for a strong showing
in Maui

Channeling Rob Kurz: With Harangody and Jackson doing their best
whirling dervish impression in the paint, we will need a combination
of Hillesland, Zeller, and Ayers to pick up offensive rebounds for
second-chance points. At several points throughout the game, I
expected tip-ins before realizing Kurz has moved on to the NBA. We
will need to replace his nonstop motor to clean up the offensive

You can't spell MVP without TJ: Luke Harangody was clearly the best
player on the floor on both sides of the ball tonight, but things Tory
Jackson does displays his heart and place on this team. As usual,
fifty percent shooting from the floor, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals does
not tell the whole story -- with MacAlarney scoreless, Jackson ensured
momentum was wearing an ND jersey during a couple critical junctures
in the second half to extend the lead or answer a big basket by LMU.

Glad to see you, Ty Nash: This was my first look at Ty Nash, and I'm
impressed with the flashes of talent. Great defensive footwork
staying in front of his assigned man, good vision passing out of the
low block on offense. He seems a bit unsure of his place within the
offensive flow at times, but I hope his raw athleticism matures like a
Russell Carter or Torian Jones over his career.

Knock on Hardwood: LMU's Vernon Teel came up gimpy in the first half
and returned from halftime using crutches, and a couple other Loyola
players were seen limping during dead ball timeouts as well. When the
ball boys are wiping up the sweat between free throws using a Swiffer,
I'm happy to have survived with a win and remain undefeated and

Thanks a lot, Garrett!

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