Aug. 18, 2008
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — For the third straight game, Notre Dame put on an offensive clinic and went over the 100-point mark for the third time in as many contests as the Irish once again cruised to victory in a 104-86 victory over an experienced and veteran team from Poland at the Antrim Forum in Belfast.
The win improved Notre Dame to 3-0 in its Ireland tour. With three games remaining, the Irish will participate in the inaugural Emerald Hoops International Series August 21-23 in Dublin where they are schedule to face Ireland, Poland and Iceland.
Luke Harangody registered his first double-double of the tour as he finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds. Kyle McAlarney continued his hot shooting from beyond the three-point stripe as he canned five three-pointers to finish with 17 points on the night.
Tory Jackson turned in his most complete game as he proved to be the real sparkplug for the Irish on the night as he scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished off seven assists and made five steals. It was his defensive intensity, however, that played havoc with the Poland and broke open a close game late in the second quarter and at the start of the third quarter. Jackson’s defensive prowess helped Notre Dame force 24 turnovers in the contest.
Also in double figures for the Irish was Ryan Ayers who finished with 12 points. Notre Dame once again shot well from the field as the Irish hit 57.4 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from the three-point range. The Irish also dished off 21 assists in once again displaying a willingness to make the extra pass.
The Irish started the contest off slowly and spotted Poland a 7-0 advantage to start off the game following turnovers on its first three possessions. Luke Zeller’s basket at 7:28 contributed to Notre Dame’s first points of the night and an 8-0 run as the Irish took an 8-7 lead with 6:06 remaining in the third quarter.
Poland grabbed it final lead of the game, 11-8, at the 4:46 mark, and was able to tie up the contest at 15-15 with 40 seconds left before the end of the first stanza. Notre Dame outscored Poland 7-4 in the final 40 second of the first quarter to lead 22-18 at the first break.
Harangody scored 14 of team-high 16 points in the first half as Notre Dame methodically broke away from Poland and lead by 18 at intermission, 53-35. Zach Hillesland, who finished with nine points, scored Notre Dame’s first five points of the second half as the Irish quickly broke open the contest and led by as many as 29 (77-48) with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter. Notre Dame outscored Poland 26-18 in the third quarter with many points coming off of forced turnovers from its pressure defense.
For the third straight game, the Irish were strong on both the offensive and defensive boards and finished the contest outrebounding Poland 38-29.
With its third 100-point performance, Notre Dame is averaging 110.3 points in its first three games.
“I was once again impressed with our unselfishness as a team and the way we have distributed the basketball,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “We have really come into these games very focused and I’ve seen a lot of things from this team that I would expect from a veteran and experienced group. I am seeing a lot of good stuff from this group and have been pleased to see us play with so much intensity each and every night.”
Notre Dame returns to action on Thursday evening, Aug. 21 when it takes on Ireland in the first of its three games of the Emerald Hoops International Series.
— ND —