Sunday, December 21, 2008

Notre Dame 88, Delaware State 50

Just what we needed.

The Irish were dominant in both halves and rolled to an easy victory. The margin (38) was more than Connecticut, West Virginia, or Ohio State's wins over the Hornets.

First things first. I was impressed by Delaware State's introduction routine (seriously). Upon being introduced, each Hornet starter bumped fists with the refs and shook coach Sean Kearney's hand. Classy stuff, that.

In the first half, the Irish played very well, but were held to only 39 points due to DSU's methodical pace. The tempo quickened with the game out of reach and Notre Dame scored 49 in the second half. Both halves were very efficient on each end of the floor and we did not see much of a dropoff with Nash and Scott receiving more playing time.

Kyle McAlarney entered the game 20 points away from 1,000 on the career. He will most likely eclipse that mark Monday against Savannah State after a 14 point game tonight. That will be a well deserved honor for a guy who worked hard to get to where he is today.

The Irish controlled every facet of the game, including a nice offensive rebounding boost that was lacking against BU. Notre Dame outrebounded the Hornets by 9 on offense and 17 overall. Compare that with Connecticut, where DSU won the offensive rebounding battle by 5 and lost the overall board total by 6. Keep those numbers in mind when the Huskies come to South Bend.

Delaware State hit a good number of three pointers, because we sat back in a lot of zone in the second half. Before you criticize Coach Brey's reliance on the 2-3 and 3-2, remember that those defenses were critical to holding the Hornets to 9-26 (35%) shooting inside the arc. That's an incredible number, especially since DSU only had one trip to the charity stripe.

Tory Jackson handled the point well. Six assists to two turnovers, part of a fantanstic ball handling day by the Irish. Kyle McAlarney scored only 14 points, but was efficient when he took the shots. No need to force anything today, he just let the game come to him.

On the wing, Ryan Ayers finally looked like a scorer. 18 points, but three of those shots came on midrange jumpers. He looked to attack today, which makes him a very dangerous player. Hopefully we will see more of that confidence later in the season. Also added 5 rebounds and 4 assists, the best all-around game he has had in a Notre Dame uniform.

In the frontcourt, Luke Harangody was just plain efficient. 8-12 shooting, 20 points and 8 rebounds in just 27 minutes. He sat a bunch down the stretch and could have easily had a double double in a more competitive contest. Zach Hillesland also contributed in the high post with his standard 6 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assist night. Any night where he gets more than 5 in each category is a good overall effort.

Just one more thing to say about Harangody, the guy has some heart. He broke the scorer's table at the end of the first half diving to save a ball from going out of bounds in the closing seconds. The score was 39-21. What a fantastic player to have on the team. He truly is a treat to watch and must be respected for the work he puts in every night.

Off the bench, it was a very good night all around. Peoples played 18 minutes and overcame a poor shooting night with 3 assists and 2 steals. Luke Zeller also did not shoot well, but pulled down three rebounds.

The players of the night, however, were Ty Nash and Carleton Scott. Nash played a bit in the first half and really shined in the second. 14 minutes, a career high 10 points and five rebounds. More impressive than just his rebounding prowess, however, was the way he attacked the basket. Nash drew four fouls and was 6-8 from the foul line. From all accounts, he is vastly improved in that aspect and can bring a hard-nosed deminsion to the team with his ability to get to the rim. More minutes, please!

Scott played very well in extended second half minutes. 13 minutes, six points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal. He had an opportunity to play alongside the starters for a while and really fit in well. Still needs a bit of seasoning, but should have a bright future.

Great win start to finish tonight. We should be in the top ten again on Monday and look to win easily on Monday to close out the pre-Big East schedule. Savannah State does have a decent RPI and played Michigan tough, but was also pummelled 100-38 by Georgetown. Let's put them away early.


Anonymous said...

So what exactly is Zeller's role now that Ayers has emerged as a credible 3rd scoring option?

BlackandGreen said...

It's pretty clear actually. He runs around a bit, looks lost on the perimeter, and picks up a few rebounds that hit him right in the hands.

All kidding aside, I do think that an improving Ty Nash will eat into Zeller's minutes a little. Zeller's role has really turned into being the first post guy off the bench. He's not terrible at that, since he's 6'11", but the whole aversion to contact thing kinda gets in the way...