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Men’s Basketball: Squad opens schedule with victory

Michael Bryan | Monday, November 16, 2009

The Irish dominated the first regular season game played in Purcell Pavilion Saturday, demolishing North Florida 86-65.

Notre Dame controlled the game from start to finish, and opened the game on fire from the perimeter. Senior guard Jonathan Peoples knocked down a 3 for the first points in the newly renovated arena, and senior Tory Jackson and junior Ben Hansbrough each converted their first attempts from distance to put the Irish up 13-2 early.

Hansbrough, who transferred from Mississippi State last season and was making his Notre Dame debut, made all three of his 3-point attempts and was 5-for-5 shooting on the game. He and senior Luke Harangody each scored 19 points to lead Notre Dame.

“I just made some shots today and got better from the 3-point line,” Hansbrough said. “I’ve been working on my jump shot with [Tory] Jackson in the gym. It’s been a year and a half since I played a real game, but it’s been fun.”

Harangody, a preseason All-American and Big East player of the year, was able to pick his spots as his teammates all contributed offensively.

“Everyone knows [Hansbrough] can shoot like that, and he showed it today,” Harangody said. “It’s so fun to play this offense because on nights like this, I really don’t have to do much.”

As a team the Irish made 14-of-25 3-point attempts, and shot 56 percent from the field in the game. Peoples had 11 points and junior Tim Abromaitis scored 13 off the bench in a balanced offensive display. Jackson also had nine points and seven assists.

“It was good to see Abromaitis get in there, because he’s going to have to score for us,” Irish coach Mike Brey said.

Notre Dame also turned up the intensity on the defensive end, forcing 11 first half Osprey turnovers while not allowing North Florida to get to the free throw line. After converting many of those turnovers into points, the game was easily in hand and the Irish staked a 47-16 halftime lead.

While the Ospreys had a far better second half, outscoring Notre Dame 49-39, many of those points came in the closing minutes with Irish bench players getting minutes.
Jackson said the team’s second half performance still gives them opportunities to improve.

“I feel like we still have a lot of things to work on,” Jackson said. “We shot well today, but once we get ahead by 20-30 points we have to learn to make the same good decisions that got us there.”

Guard Stan Januska led the Ospreys with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting.