Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Notre Dame 61, Rutgers 50

Win. That's all that matters in March. Survived tonight and now it's a four-game tournament just like last year.

Pretty solid D all night helped out by really bad Rutgers shooting all night. Our offense operated in fits and starts, however. Three or four cold stretches won't cut it against good teams.

Harangody got a lot of rest, leaving him ready to go the rest of the way. Unfortunately, part of the bench time was due to poor play. He kills us on offense when he falls in love with the fadeaway and the shots aren't falling. I love Luke as much as the next guy, but would it kill him to follow his shot once in a while? Why is the best rebounder int he Big East the first guy back on defense?

ESPN gave Tom Kopko an offensive rebound and a basket during the game, so no promises on these stats being correct.

Tory Jackson played really well and was so effective that Rutgers starting giving him the McAlarney treatment. Being faceguarded down the stretch kept Tory from handling the ball and really hurt our ability to kill the clock. Jackson finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds. Add in 2 assists with a nice shooting night from the floor.

Kyle McAlarney has an annoying tendency to make easy shots inside more difficult. Nice shooting night beyond the arc, 3-6 for 11 points, but he missed four makeable looks inside. One was a floater in the lane with too much arc. Just finish with a finger-roll or bank it off the glass, no need to use a low-percentage shot in a high-percentage situation. The other that really sticks out was a blocked layup after a great backdoor cut. With defenders guarding Mac so heavily on the perimeter, that cut will always be available. He did a nice job taking advantage but really has to learn how to finish. Those negative examples aside, solid game by Mac getting a couple open looks and not forcing anything.

Ayers had 10 points and 7 rebounds. Same story here, good shooting outside with nothing inside the arc. With Ryan the missed shots were midrange jumpers off the dribble. Once he actually posted up and tried to hit a turnaround in the lane. Poor two point shooting, but a very nice final stat line for Ryan. He'll need to rebound like that against a West Virginia team that relies so much on the offensive glass.

Zach Hillesland got some points on early midrange jumpers, but disappeared after the first few minutes. 6 points, 2 rebounds in 19 minutes. Good job by Coach Brey benching him down the stretch for a much more effective Ty Nash.

As mentioned, Harangody was really off tonight. Luke is great but his game really relies on a hot jumper. 3-17 will not cut it. 7 points, 11 rebounds. Only 24 minutes, so he should be fresh tomorrow, but he really has to come out and play well.

Off the bench, a great game by Ty Nash. 9 points, 4 rebounds in 21 minutes. Made both his shots. The most important stat tonight, however, was his 5-6 line shooting free throws. He was on the floor in crunch time and extended our lead to seven with a minute remaining. I yelled at the computer screen for Ty to get rid of the ball, but he really impressed with two clutch foul shots. Add in 3 assists (and a nice pass to a wide open Zeller who should have hit the three) and Nash was fantastic all around. Threw his weight around under the basket, picked up a few boards, knocked down shots from the line, and passed out of the low post to the open man. Great job, Ty. Zeller hit two clutch three pointers to keep Rutgers from really taking over the momentum. Jonathan Peoples struggled a bit with 2 turnovers in 12 minutes.

Avoided the first round loss that killed Cincy and G'town's chances. Now we have probably have to win two more. Last game against West Virginia was decided on the offensive glass. If we can cut into the ten offensive rebound advantage that the Mountaineers held in Morgantown and keep Alex Ruoff from taking over on offense, we have a shot.


Anonymous said...

Kyle really does try to make his floaters/layups much too complicated. Ayers looks completely lost driving the lane as well.

Another thing I noticed, was that Hillesland frequently passed up the open 3. I recall him being a decent shooter in the past, but part of it could be lack of confidence from riding the bench and injury.

Anonymous said...

Hillesland has zero threes in his career at notre dame. i dont even think he has ever attempted one.

Anonymous said...

My son keeps telling me that we are a better team w/o Harangody on the floor. I keep telling him that that is nonsense. Guess what? Last night we were a better team w/o Harangody on the floor.

McAlarney needs to use the rim to shield defenders on layups. Nothing earth shattering there - you would think that the coaching staff would have passed this along. Ayers would be so much more effective with a mid-range game. Too late now. I truly believe that the complete lack of a mid-range game kills ND. Nash continues to impress. Again - why wasn't this guy playing 20+ minutes a night all year?

Tory steps up at MSG - props to him.

Go Irish!

Anonymous said...

haha my bad not sure where i got the hillesland thing from. (although he did attempt 2 threes his junior year)
i guess i was thinking of his mid-range jumper being decent