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Men’s Basketball: Dunn’s late three seals Bears’ victory

Chris Hine | Monday, November 19, 2007

Baylor guard Lacerious Dunn finished with only six points, but his clutch 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining gave the Bears a 65-62 lead on their way to a 68-64 win over Notre Dame.

The loss denied the Irish (2-1) a chance to avenge their NCAA Tournament loss last season to Winthrop in the finals of Paradise Jam Tournament.

Irish guard Tory Jackson missed on Notre Dame’s next possession after Dunn’s basket and Baylor (3-0) guard Curtis Jerrells, who finished with 17 points, grabbed the rebound and found guard Tweety Carter for an open layup, giving Baylor (3-0) a five-point lead with 13 seconds left. Irish forward Rob Kurz added a pair of free throws late, but the damage had been done and the Irish lost their first game of the season.

Notre Dame will play Georgia Tech today, who lost 79-73 on Sunday to Winthrop for third place, while Baylor advances to play Winthrop for the title.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Irish coach Mike Brey said in a post-game radio interview. “We felt we were going to be in a Big East [type game]. You’re frustrated because you had control of the thing and they made some big plays.”

Notre Dame led the entire game until a Jerrells 3-pointer gave Baylor its first lead of the night, 61-60 with 3:15 left. Neither team scored until a pair of Rob Kurz free throws with 1:33 remaining gave Notre Dame a 62-61 lead. Jackson fouled Jerrells on Baylor’s next possession, and Jerrells hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 62.

Irish forward Luke Harangody, who finished with a game-high 22 points, missed on Notre Dame’s final possession before Dunn’s three gave Baylor the lead for good. Aside from Harangody’s 9-for-14 performance, Notre Dame shot 11-for-45 (24 percent) from the field, including a 1-for-11 night from junior guard Kyle McAlarney.

“We didn’t get great looks for Kyle. People are takeing Kyle away and we’ve got to look at some things to get him more looks,” Brey said. ” … I think the thing he’s learning to adjust to, when’s he’s playing off the ball, like Colin Falls was always guarded. He’s hugged, he’s grabbed, he’s frustrated with that.”

At one point in the second half, Harangody scored seven straight points for Notre Dame, helping the Irish stave off Baylor, who kept chipping away at Notre Dame’s lead. His layup with 8:30 left gave the Irish a 57-52 lead, but those would be Harangody’s final points of the night.

“They really did a better job taking him away at the end,” Brey said. “He gave us a great stretch there.”

The Bears also held the rebounding edge over the Irish, 41-38, and were able to get 15 second-chance points. But what killed Notre Dame in the end, Brey said, was its inability to cover Baylor on the fast break.

“Our transition defense hurt us,” Brey said. “It really hurt us the whole game, but it hurt us the last six minutes. They ran it down our throat.”

But it was Notre Dame who came out running in the first half, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. Baylor kept close with the Irish, but a 10-0 run gave Notre Dame a 32-18 lead with 4:50 to play in the first half. Baylor used a pair of threes from Carter and Dunn to pull within 38-32 at halftime.

Forward Aaron Bruce added 14 and center Josh Lomers netted 12 for the Bears, who shot 24-for-58 for the game.

Kurz, who was battling flu-like symptoms, added 13 for the Irish on 2-for-11 shooting, while junior forward Ryan Ayers added nine.

Notre Dame 76 Monmouth 33

Notre Dame employed a balanced offensive attack and stingy second-half defense to clobber Monmouth in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament on Friday.

The Irish outscored the Muhawks 39-8 in the second half and forced 16 turnovers on the night. Offensively, Kurz had a game-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds while Ayers chipped in seven board and 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

Ayers was also charged with guarding Muhawks guard Jhamar Youngblood – who scored 27 points in Monmouth’s 89-81 overtime loss to Seton Hall on Nov. 11 – when Notre Dame played man-to-man defense. Youngblood scored just eight points on 4-for-10 shooting.

Notre Dame opened a 17-4 lead in the first half by hitting their first five 3-pointers of the game. McAlarney had two 3-pointers during that stretch on his way to a 13-point, three-assist performance. Monmouth cut Notre Dame’s lead to 25-22 with 4:52 remaining in the first half, but McAlarney’s third and final 3-pointer of the night ignited a 12-3 Notre Dame run to close out the half ahead 37-25.

The Irish clamped down on defense in the second half and used a 16-6 run to open up a 53-31 lead with 10:44 remaining. Kurz had seven points during the run.

After Youngblood’s layup with 10:31 remaining made the score 53-33, Monmouth didn’t score the rest of the game. Monmouth shot only 2-for-23 from the field in the second half and lost the rebounding edge to Notre Dame 46-18.