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Men’s Basketball: Irish prepare for Pioneers

Joseph Monardo | Friday, November 1, 2013

After rolling to a comfortable victory in its exhibition opener earlier in the week, Notre Dame will close out its preseason schedule by welcoming in Tusculum tonight.
The Irish defeated Indianapolis, 95-69, on Monday while exhibiting some of the traits that Irish coach Mike Brey said can be cornerstones of his team’s success this season.
“Well I think we can always rely on our unselfishness and our ability to pass,” Brey said. “I mean, we are really good with the ball and that showed up the other night. Our offensive efficiency is going to be key for us. I like how we’ve moved together defensively. I mean, we play defensively like the older guys do because they’ve played a lot together. We are going to have to play some zone this year, and I think that’s going to be good to us.”
Notre Dame assisted on 29 of its 35 baskets in the win, while sophomore forward Austin Burgett and senior forward Garrick Sherman combined to make 14 of 19 attempts. Burgett earned a spot in the starting lineup following injuries to graduate student forward Tom Knight and sophomore forwards Eric Katenda and Zach Auguste. Katenda is expected to miss several weeks with a knee injury and Auguste is in the middle of a return from a broken hand suffered on Oct. 10, but Brey said he expects Knight to return tonight.
“We played really small the other night,” he said. “It’ll be good to have Tom Knight back. We should have him back Friday. He should be in there a lot. And then Zach joins us in practice Saturday. Obviously, when you are playing a little bigger as we have at times, you rebound better. So I think that should help us. I’d like to get those two guys going … because I think it’s important. We are going to need them.”
If Knight does indeed take the court tonight, it will be just in time to take on a Tusculum squad pegged to finish ninth out of twelve teams in the SAC by conference coaches. The team from Rock Hill, S.C., returns four starters and 12 letter winners from last year’s 6-21 squad, including sophomore forward Keith Jumper, last year’s SAC Freshman of the Year. Senior guard Addison Flynn also returns for Tusculum after leading the Pioneers in scoring with 12.7 points-per-game last year.
The second exhibition contest offers Notre Dame another chance to fine-tune a few things before beginning the regular season on Nov. 8 with a home game against Miami (Ohio).
“The main thing is to stay in character on the offensive end of the floor and continue that efficiency. Then on the defensive end, I would add then the rebounding part,” Brey said. “Can we be an improved rebounding team and spread it amongst a bunch of guys? I’m not looking for a guy to get 15 like [former Irish forward Jack] Cooley, but can we get a couple guys with seven?”
Irish sophomore Cam Biedscheid will not play tonight while he and the Irish coaching staff continue to consider a redshirt season for the 6-foot-7, 186-pounder who averaged 6.2 points-per-game and appeared in all 34 contests last season.
“I think we are going to talk again on Friday,” Brey said. “His mom will be in town and we will sit down and talk about it. I think, certainly, we’ll make a final decision Monday or Tuesday. We’ll have to know as we prepare for Nov. 8. He just can’t play in any exhibitions if we want to save the year [of eligibility]. So he’s practicing with us, he’s doing all the other stuff … I think it’s a matter of weighing a lot of different things. It’ll be good to have everybody in my office and we can talk face-to-face.”
Notre Dame and Tusculum tip off at 9 p.m. in the Purcell Pavilion.

Contact Joseph Monardo at [email protected]