Saturday, January 03, 2009

St. John's 71, Notre Dame 65

That was embarrassing. No excuses, you don't lose to a team like St. John's if you plan on succeeding this year. In Big East play, there's no moping after wins or sugarcoating losses. All that matters is the result.

Tim Higgins is a terrible referee, but he made bad calls on both sides. Maybe the men in stripes let St. John's play too physically, but we were nine point favorites. You play to win.

Outside shooting really killed us today. After seeing DePaul play over their heads from beyond the arc, there is no excuse to letting a 28% team go 5-11. In response, Ayers and McAlarney were awful, a combined 1-9.

On the boards, St. John's finished with eleven more rebounds. If they did not turnover the ball 18 times, this game is a rout. We were simply outplayed by a beaten up and less talented basketball team.

This game makes Monday very, very important. After Georgetown lost handily to Pitt today, they will be fired up to take us down. While I don't envy their schedule (three top 10 teams in a week, counting us), I doubt there will be any letdown for the Hoyas. They will bring their A-game to break the streak. Anything less than an A+ performance for us is a loss.

Forget the streak for a moment. All of a sudden Monday is as close to must-win as a game gets this early in conference play. Two straight losses could derail our season a bit and significantly limit chances for a top-4 finish. After Georgetown and Seton Hall, we play five straight ranked teams. Enter that stretch 2-2 and there is a very good chance we drop 2-3 more games to enter February with a conference record below .500. Getting back on track is extremely important.

Now, about today. Tory Jackson was one of four Irish players to finish with four or more fouls. His playmaking ability was held in check, with only 3 assists. He did score 14 points and shoot well, one of the few guys who did.

Kyle McAlarney hasn't had a great game since before Ohio State. While he has shot well at times, his record pace at the beginning of the year has significantly slacked off. 4-12 for 10 points today, not a good effort at all. 1-5 from beyond the arc.

Just when I compliment Ryan Ayers, he lays an egg. Two points, 0-4 beyond the arc. 4 fouls. Not much else to say.

Hillesland came back down to earth with a thud. 4 points, 4 rebounds. Poor shooting, didn't help Harangody a whole lot under the basket.

At least Luke is lining up for a second straight Big East Player of the Year award. 28 points, 14 rebounds. You can never complain about this guy's effort. Hats off to Luke for trying to carry the team. He missed a few shots under the basket that could have made a difference, but can you really complain?

Coach Brey let Nash get some solid minutes, a good sign. Only one rebound, but 2 assists and steals. Hopefully this means Ty will get decent playing time in tough conference games. We certainly need the rebounding help (second best rebounders only grabbed four for the Irish). Peoples had an encouraging performance. 3-3 shooting for 7 points. With the trash that some of the starters were throwing up, we needed a good game from Peeps. Luke Zeller: 8 minutes, 0 points, 0 rebounds. No comment.

What else is there to say? Kennedy, Horne, and Burrell all had good games. Five Johnnies outrebounded everyone except Luke Harangody. We deserved to lose, must play much better on Monday or that will get ugly.

We'll find out against Georgetown if this was just a bad slip-up or a sign of a disappointing few months to come.


Golden Monkey said...

Just like I said after the Ohio State game, rebounding problems and soft on defense. This team is not as good as last year with a more difficult schedule. Everyone gets real excited about Ayers and Zellers as long as were playing Story Land Zoo College, but when the Big East gets in full swing (GOODBYE)We'll be doing well to end up 500 in the conference. Enjoy this season and the great game of basketball but get real.....

Anonymous said...

I was at the game. They came out flat & I must give some credit to St. John's - they played well. Our defense was actually pretty solid today but we got burned by the officiating, which was quite frankly the worst I have ever seen in a BE game.

No excuses. We still should have won this game. The biggest problem was we didn't take care of the ball. Way to many careless turnovers. There was a point in the second half when it looked like Kyle was about to go on one of his scoring explosions, but for some inexplicable reason the rest of the team seemed to stop getting him touches.

Georgetown is a must win or we end up 11-7 and a 5 seed.

Anonymous said...

It is time to emphasize the old "not too high after a win and not too low after a loss" maxim. It is, however, hard to figure out why we don't play well at MSG. Got to put this one behind us and come out ready tp play on Monday night. We'll be there cheering our hearts out. A good time for the community to come out and ratchet up the home court advantage. Undoubtedly Georgetown does not want to lose two league games in a row.