Saturday, February 27, 2010

Notre Dame 78, Georgetown 64


The Irish used some great ball movement and high-intensity defense to grind away at the Hoyas on the road. This was exactly what you want to see from a team on the ropes: unselfish play with loads of hustle and smart decisions on both ends of the ball. Once again, I liked how this team played without its All-American. Everyone was on their toes today, looking to contribute for forty minutes, instead of letting one guy take most of the responsibility. There were a few stretches that were simply beautiful to watch.

ND stole the ball ten times, equaling its total from the double-overtime loss to Louisville. That also marks only the third time all year that the Irish have finished in double digits in that stat. Tory Jackson led the way with five takeaways, but everyone helped out. Ben Hansbrough's steal at the top of the key with five minutes left was one of most heady defensive moves we've seen all year.

The Irish outrebounded Georgetown by eleven, an incredible stat when playing without our top rebounder and facing one of the best big men in the conference. Carleton Scott had a big coming-out party, hitting the glass hard for nine boards. We haven't had anyone who can rebound from the perimeter like that in a very long time. Glad to have him in the rotation, better late than never.

Georgetown's leading scorer Austin Freeman was out of his element with just five points. We caught a break with him being sick, but the Hoyas certainly had enough fire power to win without him. Playing without our top guy, I have to rate this as the best win of the year.

Tory Jackson had 9 points and 3 assists to go with his fantastic defensive performance. His step-up three when the lead had dwindled to four was clutch. Without that shot, Georgetown could have gotten right back into the game. That bucket ended a five-and-a-half minute scoreless streak and snapped an 8-0 Hoya run. Bigtime play by the senior leader.

Ben Hansbrough carried the team at the beginning of the second half, going on a personal 10-3 run in the first three minutes after the break. 19 of his 21 points came in the second half and in a variety of ways. His three three-pointers were standard fare, but he also took it to the basket with confidence. He was 4-5 on shots inside the arc. He also filled in the stat sheet in a variety of other ways: 4 assists, 3 rebounds, a block, and that nice steal.

Tim Abromaitis really struggled with his long range touch (1-9), but was able to still contribute all over the floor. He managed 19 points, almost entirely inside the arc and from the free throw line. A couple baskets came on broken presses at the end, a nice sign. In recent years, the Irish have caved to late game pressure and have never been able to close out the way we want. Today, Georgetown paid for its decision to keep up the full-court pressure by giving up dunks on the other end. Great job, Irish.

Carleton Scott was the player of the game. 17 points, 9 rebounds. He was 7-8 from the floor, almost perfect. Four of his rebounds came on the offensive end. He blocked three shots with that long wingspan and grabbed a pair of steals as well. We knew that his athleticism could lead to that kind of defensive ability, but the offensive performance was what I was most impressed with again. He drilled three three-pointers with confidence and looks like he is improving as a scorer with every contest.

Ty Nash had 8 points and 6 rebounds. Once again, his free throw percentage was impressive, 4-5. He also finished with 3 assists, as the Irish dished out 16 in an almost perfect distribution among the starters.

Off the bench, Jack Cooley really filled in well in his twelve minutes. Coach Brey used him primarily as a minute and foul eater on defense since Nash has struggled with that so much in conference play. His effort resulted in 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 fouls that didn't get called on #1. I like that usage of Cooley and wish we could have seen it a bit earlier this season. Peoples' career seems to be winding down in a whimper. Just one steal in 5 minutes.

The Irish opened the second half with two great stretches of play. My favorite came right before the 12:30 mark, as our ball movement led the way to a 7-2 run capped off by back-to-back Cooley layups. Carleton Scott's dish from the top of the key for an Abromaitis mid-range jumper should be replayed over and over as the team heads back to South Bend. When Harangody gets back into the lineup, I hope that the guys are able to keep up that kind of movement and unselfish play. We are very hard to stop like that.

UCONN at home Wednesday and at Marquette next Saturday. Win both and a BET game and the Irish are in the Tournament. Who would have thought?

Great job, guys. Please keep this up.


David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJ said...

Today and Wednesday ... very, VERY impressive. Kudos to all involved, from Brey on down.

We may have moved from the 5-8 teams out to the 1-4 out. Wins against UConn, Marquette, and the first BET game...that could get us in. Who'd have thought it? Certainly not me. :-)

David said...

Wow, we put a whipping on them.

Just when I think I'm out...they pull me right back in.

Nice win. Scott was awesome today.

Anonymous said...

Okay I'll be the first one to say it because I've been saying this all year...we are a better team when we move the ball around, play defense, and rebound. Luke Harangody hurts this team when he constantly shoots and doesn't play defense. What we just saw is how basketball should be played. I appreciate Luke and all he has done, but the guy doesn't play defense because he doesn't want to pick up fouls.

The flow of this game was unbelievable. We passed the ball and took open shots. When Luke gets the ball, he just holds on to it for 5 seconds then either shoots or passes it back to a guard. There is no flow to the game when that happens.

Again, I like Luke and I think he has been not good but great, but we obviously are showing that we don't need him to score 30 points a night to win. We have good players who know how to play the right way.

Flex said...

Right on. Gody will need to understand his NEW role in this squad when he's ready for action. Three more wins needed, either finish 10-8 and win one at MSG, or 9-9 with two at MSG, should do it. Whoodathunk.

pablo said...

i don't suppose there's any way to watch the whole game online?

Doc Hoople said...

Never forget who's coaching this team. When (if) Gody comes back things will return to normal. Cooley will be picking splinters out of his ____ & Scott will be lucky to see five minutes. The offense will be clogged in the paint and the guards will not have spacing to drive like they have been in the last few games. Gody will shoot from wherever he wants, anytime he wants. I'm am in know way knocking Big Luke. He's been great. This is Breys style and it will not change, quit kidding yourself.

BlackandGreen said...

Not sure about watching the game online. If it was on ESPN, ESPN360 would have a copy of it, but I'm not sure if such a thing exists for CBS.

Unknown said...

I think Luke is an emotional liability out there. He started his career at Notre Dame thinking he would never see the floor. Now he has shifted to the opposite end of the spectrum and his ego has inflated. He thinks he can make every shot and that he deserves every call.

Loved his first two years, but some players are not built to handle the pressures of being a star.

Anonymous said...

Flex you are absolutely right. 11 league wins is the number. So one of the last 2 and 2 in NYC, or sweep the last 2 and get one in NYC. 11 is the number