Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Morning Shootaround

Two great games were played on Tuesday: Texas-Notre Dame in the Maui semi's and Syracuse-Kansas in the CBE finals.

Notre Dame 81, Texas 80: The Fighting Irish won the first match-up of top 10 teams this season. Notre Dame was up for the entire second half, pushing the lead to 79-71 with just over a minute left. But in the last 48 seconds, Notre Dame went 2-8 from the foul line and Texas hit three three's to cut the lead to 81-80. After Luke Harangody missed two free throws with 3.5 seconds left, AJ Abrams fired up a prayer from 60 feet that hit the front of the rim.

Texas did not play all that well last night. AJ Abrams shot 8-27 (5-17 from deep) for 23 points, but those numbers looked even worse before he hit two three's down the stretch. He was getting some decent looks but just missing them. Dexter Pittman had 4 fouls in 5 minutes. Damion James had a double-double, but does not understand what he can and can't do offensively and does not understand what a good shot is. For example, midway through the second half Notre Dame was starting to pull away and had built up a 57-50 lead, but two Justin Mason drives had cut the lead to three, and Texas had the ball. After one pass on that possession, Damion James got the ball on the wing, took two dribbles that went nowhere, and forced up a long, contested two point jumper and missed. James needs to realize that he is a slasher, rebounder, and energy guy that can knock down open jumpers and not a pure shooter. When he does, Texas will be a lot better.

Justin Mason bounced back from a rough one against St. Joe's. He had 16 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, just one turnover, and this:

Luke Harangody led Notre Dame with 29 and 13. Everytime I watch the big man play, I am more and more impressed with his agility. He is a big guy, but he makes some very nimble moves around the basket. The one that sticks out in my mind came in the second half against Connor Atchley. Harangody got the ball on the right block about 12 feet from the rim. He made a quick spin move and took a dribble to the rim. It looked like he was going to try to dunk on the help side defender, but instead hung in the air and spun in a lay-up on the other side of the rim. Tory Jackson finished with 16, 7 dimes, 5 boards, and 3 steals while McAlarney added 19 points on 5-9 shooting from deep.

Other Maui scores:

  • St. Joseph's 80, Indiana 54
  • Alabama 78, Chaminade 56
  • UNC 98, Oregon 69: Hansbrough ended up playing, but logged limited minutes as the Heels smacked the Duck
Syracuse 89, Kansas 81 OT: Jonny Flynn needs to be in the conversation as to who is the best point guard in the country. Flynn finished with 25 points and 5 assists last night, but more importantly he hit a three pointer off the dribble with six seconds left that forced overtime.

He was also the main reason Syracuse was able to climb back into a game that Kansas had seemingly taken control of. A Tyshawn Taylor three pushed the lead to 51-38, but Jonny Flynn picked up back-to-back steals leading to two breakaway dunks, sparking a 19-5 run that was capped by an Andy Rautins three-pointer that gave Syracuse the lead. Arinze Onuaku played great for the Orange, finishing with 19, 12, and 4 blocks while Paul Harris finished with 14 and 14 and saved the game with this block.

In the consolation game, Florida hung on to beat Washington 86-84.

Other scores of note:
  • Davidson 78, Loyola MD 48: Loyola held Stephen Curry scoreless, as in without a single point, in 32 minutes of play. How did they do it, they ran a triangle-and-two, with both of the two guarding Curry. Andrew Lovedale led the Wildcats with his third straight double double, going for 20 and 10. 
  • Pitt 74, Belmont 60: DeJuan Blair didn't play (knee swelling), the Panthers got outrebounded by 11, but Sam Young had 33 points in the win.
  • Villanova 71, Monmouth 48
  • Marquette 85, Texas Southern 68
  • Arizona 69, Santa Clara 66: You know about St. Mary's and Gonzaga in the WCC, and you should know about San Diego by now. Well, add Santa Clara to that list. The Broncos have lost to UAB, Arizona, and Georgia by a combined 12 points.
  • Liberty 86, Virginia 82: After seeing what Stephen Curry is doing at Davidson, how did Seth Curry end up at Liberty? He had 26 against the Cavs and is now averaging 22.3 ppg and shooting 38% from deep.
  • Dayton 71, Mercer 53: This may be the end of the Bears run.

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