Non-Conference Review: Part II

IrishEyes continues its review of Notre Dame's 11-2 non-conference effort.

Below is Part II of our review of Notre Dame's basketball season to date. For a review of the season's first seven contests, click here.

Notre Dame 80 Idaho State 70

  • Game Recap: The Irish overcame blistering first half shooting exhibition, exerting their defensive will in the second half to down the visiting Bengals – a scrappy squad that wouldn't go away. Harangody scored his 2,000 career point on the first bucket of the contest and later moved past Troy Murphy (1999-02) into sixth place on the school's scoring list.
  • Stat Stuffers: Luke Harangody led the Irish with 27 points and 12 boards; Ben Hansbrough added 14 points and Carleton Scott 8 on 4-4 shooting from the field.
  • Unsung Heroes: Tory Jackson's on-ball defensive pressure in the second half helped slow the Bengals offensively as the Irish forced seven turnovers on ISU's first nine second half possessions.
  • What it Meant: Scott and Tim Abromaitis provided a second half spark, the result of which was the latter earning his first career start five days later vs. Central Florida.

Notre Dame 90 Central Florida 72

  • Game Recap: With Michael Jordan in attendance to watch his son, Marcus, a freshman UCF guard, first-time starter Tim Abromaitis poured in a career-high 31 points en route to the 18-point victory. The teams were tied, 41-41 at the break, but the Irish defense limited UCF to just 13 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
  • Stat Stuffers: Abromaitis finished with 31 points in a career-high 35 minutes; Harangody added 29, hitting 11 of his last 14 shots; Carleton Scott scored 6 points and grabbed 7 board in 21 minutes off the bench. The Irish shot 55 percent from the field and knocked down 21 of 25 free throws.
  • Unsung Heroes: Jackson dished out 9 assists without a turnover and Scott lent a key defensive presence during Notre Dame's decisive second-half run.
  • What it Meant: Jackson suffered a fairly severe ankle injury, one that would hamper him over the next few contests. Abromaitis cemented his role as a starter and key contributor for the Irish offense while earning Big East Player of the Week honors.

Notre Dame 93 IUPUI 70

  • Game Recap: Keyed by aggressive, continual penetration by off-guard Ben Hansbrough, the Irish jumped on the visitors early, racing to a 45-22 halftime lead while riding consistent shooting and ball movement to the easy victory.
  • Stat Stuffers: Hansbrough led all scorers with 22 points, missing just two shots and hitting 7-9 free throw attempts while adding 5 assists; Abromaitis knocked down four 3-point shots en route to 18 points in just 22 minutes while Harangody totaled 16 points and 11 boards while matching a career-best with 5 blocked shots.
  • Unsung Heroes: Jackson, who fought through an ankle injury to play 30 minutes with just one turnover; in his second game coming off the bench, senior tri-captain Jonathan Peoples added 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in 21 minutes
  • What it Meant: The game was the most complete the Irish had played to date and the squad was poised to enter Finals Week and preparation for UCLA after the requisite matchup with Loyola Marymount.

Loyola Marymount 87 Notre Dame 85

  • Game Recap: The contest followed the season's usual first half template, with the Irish and an inferior opponent trading baskets for the first 20 minutes. But unlike previous visitors, the game Lions never went away, battling the Irish to the end before creating a 5-second call on Tim Abromaitis to gain possession, down a point with 19 seconds remaining. Backup guard Jared DuBois then drilled the go-ahead 3-point bucket with eight seconds remaining and Tory Jackson's forced shot in the paint fell short as LMU hung on for an 87-85 win at the Purcell Pavilion. The loss was Notre Dame's first non-conference home defeat of the Harangody era (and the first since December 2005).
  • Stat Stuffers: Lions guard Vernon Teel poured in 24 points with 11 boards and 6 assists in 39 minutes; Harangody led the Irish with 24 points and 11 boards while Abromaitis added 23; Hansbrough scored 14 points with 9 assists and just one (costly) turnover – a late layup that brought the Lions within one point with under a minute remaining.
  • Unsung Heroes: Tyrone Nash scored a career-high 13 points and added 9 boards (no turnovers) in 32 minutes.
  • What it Meant: With seven losses to date, LMU has nonetheless also defeated USC, Auburn, and Long Beach State this season, so they're capable of rising to the level of their competition. The loss ultimately means the Irish have lost their margin of error for the season and are unlikely to received the benefit of the doubt from the Selection Committee when paired with another prospective tournament team that played tougher non-conference competition. In short, the Irish have to win "an extra" Big East game to make up for this unexpected defeat.

Notre Dame 84 UCLA 73

  • Game Recap: After a hot start by the visitor that lead to a six-point deficit midway through the first period, Notre Dame finished the half on a 20-10 run to take a 40-36 edge into the break. Ben Hansbrough keyed a 13-6 run in the opening minutes of the second stanza, assisting on or scoring six of the first eight buckets of the half. The Irish maintained a comfortable edge for most of the final 15 minutes, out-rebounding the visitors by nine while shooting 50 percent for the contest, including a 9-17 effort from beyond the arc.
  • Stat Stuffers: Five Irish scored in double figures (Harangody 23, Abromaitis 17, Hansbrough 14, Nash 11, Jackson 10) and Peoples added 9 points, all in the first half. Jackson, Abromaitis, and Hansbrough buried an aggregate 8 of 13 shots from 3-point range. Malcom Lee led the Bruins with 29 points on 17 attempts.
  • Unsung Heroes: Peoples 9 points off the bench sparked a first-half run while Tyrone Nash led the Irish with 8 boards.
  • What it Meant: The loss to LMU wasn't erased, but a nationally-televised win over UCLA could help the Irish in March if the Bruins are able to hit or exceed a .500 record in Pac-10 play.

Notre Dame 101 Bucknell 69

  • Game Recap: The Irish jumped on the Bison from the outset, racing to a 49-22 halftime edge and cruising to the 32-point victory. Each of the home team's 12 players scored with senior walk-on Tim Andree's jump hook in the lane putting the Irish over the century mark for the first time this season.
  • Stat Stuffers: Harangody scored 20 with 11 rebounds; Hansbrough added 16 on just 8 attempts; Abromaitis scored 15 while freshman swingman Joey Brooks added a career-high 12. Freshman Jack Cooley contributed career bests in points (5) and rebounds (8) in 11 minutes.
  • Unsung Heroes: Carleton Scott continued to play hard with the game never in doubt, scoring 5 points, grabbing 5 boards, blocking 4 shots, and dishing out 3 assists in 21 minutes. The Irish bench totaled 39 points, 21 rebounds,7 blocks and 12 assists (just 4 turnovers)
  • What it Means: The Irish finished with an 11-2 mark heading into Big East play. The key to Notre Dame's post-season fortunes might be a 2-1 conference start beginning with Wednesday's home date vs. Providence followed by trips to UConn and South Florida, before returning home to face top 10 foe West Virginia at the Purcell Pavilion on January 9. Top Stories