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Men’s Basketball: Notre Dame ready for exhibition vs. Stonehill

Andrew Owens | Sunday, November 6, 2011

Notre Dame will conclude its exhibition season Monday when it hosts Stonehill College.

The Skyhawks, who were victorious in 22 games in the 2010-11 season, will play for the first time this season, while the Irish come into the matchup after defeating Saint Xavier 90-72 Tuesday.

Facing an inexperienced squad in an exhibition game, Irish coach Mike Brey will likely use the matchup to focus on developing some of Notre Dame’s young players.

“I don’t know if there was ever a team I could tell on the first day of practice: ‘Alright let’s start with this fellas, everybody’s playing,'” he said. “I don’t know if many coaches can say that. I certainly have never been in a situation like that. There are always a few guys that just aren’t going to be in the mix.”

In the exhibition opener, Irish senior forward Tim Abromaitis, one of two returning starters from last year’s 27-7 squad, paced Notre Dame with 28 points and nine rebounds in a balanced effort Brey said the Irish will need often this season.

“We don’t want [Abromaitis] dribbling too much, but we can put him in a situation where it is one or two dribbles and he is going to be able to do something,” Brey said. “We are going to need both [Abromaitis and senior guard Scott Martin] to rebound … [Abromaitis] is going to be on the floor for the whole game for the most part. He has become a better passer.”

Irish sophomore guard Jerian Grant started for Notre Dame after retaining a year of eligibility by being red-shirted his freshman year. He scored four points, grabbed five rebounds and recorded three steals in the victory.

“I don’t know [what to expect] but [Grant’s development] is more toward exciting than worried,” Brey said. “He had a stress reaction and it was really smart to red-shirt him in his first year. I am excited about where he could go.”

Like the Irish, Stonehill returns only two of five starters from last year’s team — senior forward Patrick Lee and junior guard Sam Markle — under coach David McLaughlin. Monday night’s game will be the first test for its new contributors.

The Irish and the Skyhawks will tip-off Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion.

 

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu