Pretty uninspired effort by the Irish is enough to get the job done and propel them into the second round of the NIT.
With a couple thousand fans on hand (probably something like the 3314 we had in '06 [EDIT: 2039, worse than Chris Thomas' senior year]), the Joyce Center was embarrassingly barren. Can't really blame the locals for not showing up to see a former top-ten team play in the NIT.
Robert Vaden was very impressive in his final game as a Blazer, scoring 24 on 6-13 shooting from beyond the arc. He shot over every defender we put on him and really made our perimeter defense look bad.
Tory Jackson was pretty iffy, matching 4 turnovers with his 4 assists tonight. He wasted a couple of critical possessions down the stretch by draining the shot clock and taking some pretty unhelpful drives to the basket. Those failed trips nearly single-handedly gave UAB a chance to get back in the game. 9 points with a nice night from the line (4-4), but poor shooting overall (2-9).
Kyle McAlarney scored 12 points on 3-6 shooting. Very Ryan Ayers-esque in his approach, not forcing anything and just knocking down the open looks. He did assist on baskets four times without a single turnover. 4-4 from the line as well.
Ryan Ayers finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds. Add 2 steals and an assist to that total. Zach Hillesland hurt himself, yet again, and only played 12 minutes.
Luke Harangody picked up a tenth rebound in the final minute to finish with yet another double double. He settled down in the second half and scored 22 in the game. In the first half, Luke missed some layups under the basket and bricked a couple three pointers. When he resolves to spend some more time in the paint and stop fading away on every shooting attempt, the Irish run well on offense. However, Luke often turns himself into a midrange player and runs back on defense like a guard which impairs offensive efficiency and eliminates any opportunity for second chance points.
Not a whole lot to say about this game. The guys just seemed flat playing in front of the empty seats at home. UAB bailed them out on the charity stripe (5-13) and generally looked like a vastly inferior team after watching Big East competition since January. Hopefully we can shake out the cobwebs and play better on Thursday or Friday against the winner of the Nebraska/New Mexico game (most likely Steve Alford's bunch). We do know that the next game will be at home, unless the women's NCAA tournament moves it to Fort Wayne.
In other news, Luke Harangody has been named a second team All-American by the USBWA. Congrats, Luke.
EDIT: Next game will be Thursday at the Joyce Center. Come one, come all.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
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Woo -****ing- hoo... Still waiting for evidence this team doesn't stink
Beating a Conference USA team at home in the NIT doesn't do it for you?
Vaden played out of his gourd tonight. Some of it was issues with the quickness of our defenders (I think that's most of his three-for-three inside the arc), but he's not normally a deadeye three point shooter.
He's not bad. 34% this year was an outlier. He made over 40% on both ends of his transfer year. 37% as a freshman. He's taken a lot more at UAB than he did at Indiana, but still made a bunch last season.
This year, he's had games where he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn (3-15 @ Boston College), but also went 12-23 in his last two games against Southern Miss.
Yeah, that's something that doesn't show in the aggregate stats. To an extent, it happened in this game, as he was 4-6 in the first half, 2-7 in the second.
Vaden was very, very good last night. Strangely enough, I enjoyed the game. Got great seats. Plenty of room to stretch out. Not having to endure the low rent pre-game introductions was refreshing. The refs were able to hear all of my offers of assistance. It must have worked because the Irish received some very favorable calls last night.
I flipped a coin between the game and watching paint dry? Choose the later. Thought Carlton Scott played a great game. Looking forward to more splinters up his wazoo next year. Some things will never change and this is one of them.
Brey is the only coach in the country that could use his bench less than a team that only showed up with 8 players.
Scott must have said something bad about Brey's mother - who knows?
When did 70-64 turn into 68-62?
Wow dumb mistake on my part. Don't ever trust ESPN box scores. Unfortunately, they seem to be the only instant source of good comprehensive statistics.
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