Two-Deep

The long-awaited emergence of Carleton Scott highlighted last night's 18-point win over Kennesaw State at the Purcell Pavilion.

When Irish head coach Mike Brey hosted an informal meeting with the media in September he spoke of a team searching for its identity. A team with new face that had still "remained old" with three seniors, three juniors, and two transfers (juniors in terms of their college eligibility) leading the way for a four-player freshman class that would undoubtedly need time to mature.

One of those transfers (Scott Martin) was later lost to a knee injury, leaving the Irish with seven upperclassmen and a glaring lack of quality depth.

But if Tuesday night vs. Kennesaw State is any indication, Notre Dame has found its minimum required sixth and seventh man in juniors Tim Abromaitis and Carleton Scott.

Abromaitis, who was withheld from action by Brey last season to maintain a season of eligibility, hit double figures for the fifth time in five games this season off the bench, scoring 14 points in 19 minutes in Notre Dame's 80-62 win over visiting Kennesaw State.

While Abromaitis has provided a consistent scoring punch as the sixth man this season (67 points while hitting 24 of 36 field goal attempts, including a sterling 13-21 from beyond the arc), Scott offered the first (statistically) impactful game of his career, grabbing 11 boards, six on the offensive end, to go with 7 points on 2-3 from the field and 3-4 (after drawing fouls on offensive rebound efforts) at the charity stripe.

"Defense," Scott offered of what got him going vs. the Owls. "Once I got a couple of defensive stops and some good clean rebounds and outlets it just jump starts everything."

While Scott and Abromaitis provided an added boost, it was (of course) senior forward Luke Harangody who carried the load for the Irish with 29 points (11-22) and 15 rebounds while adding four assists in 35 minutes of action. Harangody also became the fifth player in program history to reach the 1,000 rebound mark in his career (the senior from Schererville joined Tom Hawkins, Walt Sahm, Laphonso Ellis, and Bob Whitmore in the exclusive club.

"I didn't know I was near that. "I think it's a bigger deal for me than the points and I'm just going to keep adding to it."

Harangody needs 318 boards to supplant Hawkins (1957-59) as the program's all-time leader.

Senior captain Tory Jackson chipped in 8 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and no turnovers in 37 minutes while tri-captain Jonathan Peoples added 8 points but played an uncharacteristically sloppy floor game, committing 5 turnovers in 25 minutes. "We're still figuring out some things but for the most part I think we played well tonight," Harangody stated as the Irish continue through the November grind of seven games in 14 days. "Different guys are stepping up right now: Tim and Carleton look great and we have a lot of confidence heading to Chicago.

Both last night's game and Sunday's win vs. Liberty were technically part of the Chicago Classic, a tournament that will resume for the Irish Friday night vs. Northwestern at the UIC Pavilion. The game will be televised by the Big 10 Network at 8:30.

Should the Irish defeat the Wildcats they'll advance to Saturday night to play the winner of the Iowa State/Saint Louis matchup at 8:00 (a loss would pit the Irish in a consolation game at 5:00 Saturday afternoon).

"I think what was good about this is it might help us prepare for Friday night," Brey offered post-game. "Because in the first half with those long possessions (the Owls) were almost holding the ball and we'll play vs. long possessions against Northwestern on Friday. So you really have to not get distracted and be efficient on the offensive end or you're playing defense for 25 seconds every time.

"A great lift off the bench by Abromaitis and thrilled with what Carleton Scott gave us today," Brey added.

Notre Dame held a decisive 53-31 advantage on the glass but Kennesaw State was ultimately doomed by a 9-28 performance behind the 3-point line and 24-67 shooting overall. Guard Kurtis Woods led the Owls (Atlantic Sun Conference) with 18 points.

"Still trying to figure it out," was Brey's response when asked where his team stands five games into the young season. "We'll have November and December to develop an identity. We pass the ball well. We understand how to score it; we're still trying to figure it out a bit on the defensive end - how to change defenses and getting guys comfortable with roles…we're still trying to figure that out.

"More than any team I've ever had I'm kind of stepping back and evaluating who we're going to be. I don't think all the info is in, but we have a month to get the info in."

The Irish begin Big East conference play vs. the Providence Friars in South Bend on December 30.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories