If Saturday was an example of how poor Notre Dame can play, tonight was the extreme opposite. Great home win over a top 10 opponent to can back on track after the loss to St. John's. All things considered, I'd rather take the way things played out over the last three days than the opposite. Heck, of course I wanted both wins but we'll take this.
Really a six man effort as Ty Nash and Jonathan Peoples only played sparingly in the first half. Big time rebounding by the backcourt and Hillesland as all three players grabbed eleven boards. Luke Harangody played with four fouls for almost all of the second half and was very effective all night. Even Luke Zeller stepped to the plate with great defense against 6'11" Greg Monroe. Zeller used all five fouls to keep the big man in check after Harangody and Hillesland struggled to contain him.
Free throw shooting, a huge problems since the beginning of the year, improved dramatically today. In the final minute, Notre Dame actually extended their lead, a nice change. Instead of failing to close out a big game, the Irish made 6-7 free throws down the stretch.
Rebounding was effective enough. Georgetown is not a very good rebounding team, as shown against UCONN and Pitt, so having five fewer boards at the end of the day is not great. Still, we were much better than against St. John's. Four offensive rebounds by Zach Hillesland resulted in much-needed second chances.
Tory Jackson really played well today. After not distributing terribly well against St. John's and taking bad shots against DePaul, Tory was back in solid form. Ten points, including a clutch 4-4 from the charity stripe. He has dramatically improved his foul shooting, a very good sign for a point guard. He added seven assists (to one turnover) and five rebounds. Great overall game.
Kyle McAlarney was shadowed all day, as it seems he will be for the remainder of the year. He still managed to be effective, shooting 5-11 from three. Five rebounds, three assists. Though he scored 17, it seems that the days of scoring 30+ are over. If he can give us that consistent 17, we'll be alright.
Ryan Ayers hit a few big three pointers. Finished with 8 points on 3-5 shooting. Zach Hillesland didn't give a whole lot other than those four offensive boards, but only played 28 minutes.
Luke Harangody finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds. 9-9 from the line. Was effective without being too timid in the final fifteen minutes with 4 fouls. We would not have won without him on the floor, so it was incredibly important to have him play well without getting disqualified. Well done.
Off the bench, Zeller provided the aforementioned post defense. Used all five fouls to take away easy buckets (a good strategy as the Hoyas shot below 60% from the stripe). Not much statistically, including an uninspiring 1-5 from beyond the arc. Still, I like the heart. He didn't show a whole lot in that category Saturday, so way to get back into the game. Peoples played eight first half minutes, with one rebound. Nash played less than a minute.
This game was huge if the Irish want to get back into Big East contention. A loss to a team like St. John's can derail your season. Instead of panicking, the team came home to beat a top ten team.
Nation's best home winning streak in intact. Picked up our second win over a top ten team this season. Have a chance to go 3-1 with a victory Saturday. That is very important since next Monday starts a stretch of seven ranked teams in eight games. It'll be tough, but tonight's result makes you more confident.
Need to rebound well enough to beat teams like Connecticut and Pitt, but if we are as close to them as we were against Georgetown tonight, I think we've got a good shot.
Once again, congrats to the team. Well earned and very important win tonight.