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Men’s Basketball: Rock in Hand

Chris Khorey | Thursday, November 2, 2006

Russell Carter streaked down the floor and Kyle McAlarney lofted a perfect pass toward the basket. Carter jumped, caught the ball, slammed it and came down on the winning end of a 79-44 blowout at the Joyce Center Wednesday.

The play, early in the second half, exemplified a night where everything went right for Notre Dame, as the Irish blasted an overmatched Rockhurst squad in the first exhibition game of the season for both teams.

“It’s always good to get on the same bench and get a feel for your rotation,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said.

The Irish started the game with a 20-4 run and never looked back, shooting 53 percent from the field and leading 43-17 at the half. The Hawks shot just 5-for-23 in the first half and had nine turnovers.

“We were really stressing defense in the offseason,” McAlarney said. “It was the first game, so there were a few jitters, but one way to get rid of jitters is to get up in someone’s face and play defense.”

Rockhurst improved in the second half, shooting 42 percent from the field, but it wasn’t enough to get back in the game. Still, Brey saw areas for improvement.

“I think it’s a good thing we can come back tomorrow, get in the classroom situation, watch the film, and talk,” Brey said.

Irish freshman forward Luke Harangody led all scorers with 17 points in his first collegiate appearance, using his 6-8, 250-pound frame to muscle his way under the basket.

“This is what I’ve seen for three weeks [in practice],” Brey said of Harangody. “He can score the ball, he’s got great hands, [and] he gives us a low post presence.”

Junior Rob Kurz was also effective in the post for Notre Dame. Kurz scored 11 points and had a team-high 19 rebounds. Sophomore Luke Zeller, who started alongside Kurz in the frontcourt, scored four quick points but played just 19 minutes due to foul trouble.

“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” Brey said of Zeller’s foul trouble. “We just had to put another guy in there.”

Senior guard Colin Falls reprised his three-point specialist role from the last few seasons, hitting three shots beyond the arc and scoring 15 total points. Falls also displayed an ability to get to the basket, creating opportunities for his teammates when double-teamed.

McAlarney was effective in his first game starting at point guard for the Irish, putting in eight points and dishing out five assists.

Freshman point guard Tory Jackson spelled McAlarney, going 2-for-6 for five points points and two assists.

“Tory was excited tonight,” Brey said. “Sometime he was a little too excited.”

The two point guards were on the court together briefly with around 10 minutes left in the first half, with both players bringing up the ball.

“Whoever gets the ball [brings it up],” Jackson said of the two-point guard system. “[Kyle] creates for me and I create for him.”

Brey said the two point guards allow the Irish to put full court pressure on the ball on most possessions.

“If we can keep a fresh guy in there on the ball handler, that really helps us,” he said.

The Hawks were led by center John Torson, who scored eight points on 2-for-6 shooting.

All 13 players saw the floor for the Irish, including freshmen Joe Harden, Jonathan Peoples and Tim Andree, as well as senior walk-on Kieran Piller.

Notre Dame will be in action next Monday in another exhibition against Bellarmine at 7:30 p.m. at the Joyce Center. The Irish open the regular season Nov. 10 against IPFW at home.