The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-2) beat the Friars 93-78 last night at the Joyce Center in South Bend. In a game where Luke Harangody only had 7 points in the first half Notre Dame was able to run up to a 21 point lead heading into the locker room. The Irish, however, didn’t need Harangody as they blitzed the Friars from behind the arch. Jonathan Peoples went 5 for 5 from three and Tim Abromaitis went 5 for 8. Peoples was the leading scorer for Notre Dame with 23 points while Abromaitis tallied 22 and Luke Harangody contributed 23. The Irish also beat Providence on the boards with 44 rebounds (17 of which were offensive), with Luke Harangody grabbing a game high 13. For Providence, Greedy Peterson once again led the way with 24 points and 9 boards. Sharaud Curry netted 23 points, however, many of them came in the closing minutes when the game had become out of reach. Also for Providence, Ray Hall saw his first action in about a year and a half. He played nine minutes but did not score or collect any rebounds.
Coming into this game there were a lot of questions about where we stood as a team. Were we the team that lost to Iona, or are we the team that shot the lights out against George Washington. After watching this game we still aren’t exactly sure. The game could probably be best described as frustrating. Watching the first half a few things were very clear. One was that Notre Dame was going to make almost every three they took, but that was because they were so open. You can’t take anything away from Peoples and Abromaitis knocking down the shots, but they almost never had a hand in their face. It was great to see Ray Hall out there, but there was too much of a focus on the post. Now you can say if they hadn’t focused on the post so much Harangody would have done all the scoring, which may be true, but the problem is when you put the blinders on and only see the post as the potential threat. There were a couple times in the first half when Big Ray had to close out on Peoples in the corner. We love Ray but he can’t do that. There were serious defensive breakdowns where shooters were left open and people like Ray Hall had to make a futile attempt at closing them out. Even in the second half when, the defense was in man and was looking a little better, guards weren’t even doing a good job closing out on the shooters. Shooters would come up from post screens and be wide open. There always seemed to be too large of a distance between the Friar defenders and the Notre Dame shooters. What we are saying is that for us, the defense, especially the lack luster perimeter defense was frustrating. There are better shooting teams in the BIG EAST than Notre Dame so we really need to learn how to close out.
We will say this about playing Notre Dame: the Joyce Center is a very difficult place to play, Notre Dame has been consistent over the years in that they have held serve in their own building, they have a great player in Luke Harangody, and much like us they rely heavily on their three point shooting. And was there shooting ever on.
For the Friars, once again Greedy came ready to play. Yes, his shot selection was a little more than questionable at times, and he wasn’t as dominant on the boards, but at least he gives you the same thing every night. And on a team where you aren’t sure what you are going to get from anybody else, we’ll take the ill advised threes for now. On that note inconsistency is still the issue with Marshon. We really aren’t sure what to make of him. Sometimes he reminds of Weyinmi in that he can be dominant one night than very quiet the next. Unfortunately he has had a bad string of quiet nights. He has the potential and all the tools he just needs to put it together. We think shot selection and more decisive takes will help Marshon.
There was a little bit of a reversal last night at point. Sharaud put up last year numbers with 23 points and 7 rebounds. A fair number of those points came in the closing minutes when the game had already been decided but it was good to see Sharaud putting the ball in the hoop. Vincent Council, however, was very quite. But let’s remember he is just a freshman and was playing in his first BIG EAST game. He’ll get back on track. But both Sharaud and VC need to do a little better with the assists. For that matter the whole team could do better with the assists. There is a little too much one on one, and like in the GW game the extra pass usually increases the shoot’s percentage.
There is our rant on last night’s game. It was frustrating, but to Keno and the team’s credit they never really gave up. They cut there 20 point deficit in half and even got the game into single digits, but just did not have enough to overcome theri poor defensive performance. Now we turn our attention to St. John’s. We are looking forward to this game and will actually be headed to Carnesecca Arena to watch it. It is always interesting to watch a game as a visiting fan. But getting back on track, St. John’s is much improved this year, so a possible win on the road would really be a score.
PFB Player of the Game: Sharaud Curry - While we were tempted to give it to Ray Hall, Sharaud had a solid game. Yes his points didn’t come at a great time but the little man grabbed 7 rebounds and did contribute. It looked like the Sharaud of old. The Sharaud that single-handedly almost brought us back against Villanova last year.
The State of Friars Basketball