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Men’s Basketball: Bellarmine comes to town

Bob Griffin | Monday, November 6, 2006

Notre Dame will play its second and final preseason game against Bellarmine today at 7:30 p.m. in the Joyce Center, five days after the team’s 35-point drubbing of Rockhurst where Irish coach Mike Brey used all 13 players.

And Brey couldn’t be more pleased with the relatively quick turnaround.

“I’m glad we have Bellarmine coming quick,” Brey said after Thursday’s win. “We can treat it like a Big East week where you have two games.”

Senior guard Colin Falls and freshman forward Luke Harangody led the Irish in their first exhibition game with 15 and 17 points, respectively. Junior forward Rob Kurz added a double-double for Notre Dame, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Brey was especially pleased with the efforts of his junior forward. While contributing on the offensive end and being efficient on the boards, Kurz used his superior size against Rockhurst’s forwards to establish his position on the block.

“[Kurz] is a lunch pail, blue collar guy,” Brey said. “What doesn’t show up in the stats is the number of times he gets over and helps out, then gets back to his guy, then gets a rebound.”

Rotating Kurz, Harangody and sophomore forward Luke Zeller through two post positions, the Irish looked quick and athletic on both offense and defense. Brey also used point guards Kyle McAlarney and freshman Tory Jackson in the same backcourt sets.

“One thing we should be able to do is pressure the ball with Tory and Kyle,” Brey said. “That’s so important.”

With Brey going to his bench freely throughout the game, players who Notre Dame expects to contribute this season – namely Jackson and Harangody – were able to get their feet wet.

“I’m excited for Luke [Harangody] because we need him confident quickly because of what’s coming up with our schedule,” Brey said.

Harangody was strong on the offensive end against Rockhurst, showing a willingness to play under the basket and an ability to use his size (6-foot-8, 250 pounds) to get to the rim.

“We’ve been playing with him, battling with him all summer and he’s gonna be a great player in the Big East,” Kurz said after Thursday’s game. “We know the good thing is that he’s only a freshman, you get better with time, and he’s gonna be a big part of our season this year. … He’s definitely fearless.”

Against Rockhurst, Notre Dame played a more up-tempo style of its traditional motion offense from last season. The Irish moved the ball quickly during their offensive sets and pressured the ball on defense, which translated to transition opportunities.

“It’s easy to be able to go through the motions, full speed the whole length of the game when you’re better conditioned,” Carter said. “When you’re fatigued, that’s when you look slow and start to make mental mistakes.”

Bellarmine, a Division-II university in Louisville, Ky., beat Indiana-Southeast 84-75 Thursday in its first exhibition game of the season.

Guard Marcus Flynn led the Knights with 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting (2-of-7 from 3-point range), while adding three assists and three steals.

Forwards Matt DeMasters and Dzaflo Larkai each contributed on the block with double-doubles. DeMasters had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting with 12 rebounds, and Larki had 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting with 13 rebounds.