Saturday, February 24, 2007

Notre Dame Men's Basketball 85, Marquette 73

Editor's Note: The women's basketball team also played on Saturday, and the game was aired locally on the Ohio News Network. Unfortunately, I didn't find that out until after the game was finished. The women fell to Big East rival Rutgers on senior day, 76-60. The women are now tied for fourth in the Big East, and play they final regular season game Monday night at DePaul. That game will be televised on CSTV at 8 PM eastern.

And a correction: For most of Wednesday, I had the score of the Tuesday night Notre Dame-DePaul game listed as 78-74. I have since corrected it to 78-54, and I regret the error.

On Senior Day, it was Notre Dame's freshman stars that shone the brightest. (See, sports journalism isn't that hard.) Marquette had no answer for Luke Harangody in the paint, and Harangody finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds - career highs in both categories. Tory Jackson's stock continues to rise, as in this game he had 21 points (a career high for him as well), 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Once again, the Irish started sluggishly. Marquette hustled circles around Notre Dame and quickly built a 13 point lead. But the Irish fought back, and led this game for the entire second half. Marquette threatened at the end, but clutch free throw shooting by Jackson sealed the deal. Jackson carried a 59% free throw record into this game, but made 8 of 11 in this contest, including 5 of 7 in the final 3 minutes. Aided by 8-of-9 made by Harangody and 7-of-8 from Russell Carter, Notre Dame made 27 of 35 free throw attempts overall.
Jackson's final two points, and the final two points of the game, actually came after one of his missed free throws. Jackson was fouled with 2.7 seconds left, and went to the line. With the game won, Notre Dame had all of its players back, leaving only Marquette players lined up with Jackson shooting. Jackson made the first, but missed the second. With the Golden Eagles simply standing there, Jackson tipped in his own miss off the glass as time expired. Unfortunately, ABC's cameras missed this final shot.
Carter had 13 points on the game, and Colin Falls added 14; each had 8 rebounds. With his father in the stands, Colin Falls passed Gerry McNamara's year-old record for career three pointers made in Big East play by hitting his 184th late in the second half. Senior walk-on Kieran Piller made an appearance at the end of the game as Carter and Falls both checked out to a rousing ovation during Jackson's final free throws.
This game also furthered the intensity of what is going to be a great Big East rivalry over the years to come. Early in the game, Russell Carter lost the ball out of bounds in front of the Marquette bench. A Marquette player (one currently in the game) got in Carter's ear to give him the business. Carter casually shoved him away. This took place right in front of Marquette coach Tom Crean, and Crean was incensed that nothing was called on Carter. Crean had to be restrained by his assistants while screaming at the refs. At one point, Crean also walked towards the Notre Dame bench to talk to Mike Brey. Brey remained calm, but it appeared that Crean was still yelling, so it was unclear what the conversation was about. (Hopefully it was simply Brey apologizing for Carter's act in order to soothe Crean.) A bench warning was given to Marquette, but the ABC announcers failed to note whether that warning was given because Crean walked over to talk to Brey (they met at the halfcourt line, so both were out of the coaching box), because Crean stepped onto the court to complain to the refs (it was a dead ball situation, and Crean was only a step onto the court, so I doubt that was the case), or because a Marquette assistant was standing close to the sideline and possible interfered with Carter's attempt to save the ball.
Three techicals were called late in the game, including one after Harangody's fifth foul. Harangody and Dan Fitzgerald were going after a loose ball in the corner, when Harangody used his arm in an attempt to create some separation from Fitzgerald. It wasn't anything malicious or flagrant, but it was a foul, and it was properly called. However, Fitzgerald took umbrage and retaliated by shoving Harangody out of bounds. The big freshman took a tumble, and Fitzgerald was given a technical. The Notre Dame-Marquette rivalry was intense before Marquette's jump to the Big East, but now it may take on the level of passion seen in the late 90s/early 00s between ND and West Virginia.
The men finish their regular season on Saturday, March 3, at Rutgers.