Last night I went to Notre Dame to watch the #15 Irish take on 9th ranked Georgetown. It was part of my four games in four days drive to end the year. For some reason I thought that Notre Dame would win the game. I even picked them this week in my weekly pick segment. The win was not because of the home crowd though. They only got going twice, and that was short lived each time. Games without the student sections are by far the worst. The students seem to generate 90% of the crowd noise. A big game like last night with the students would have been a great atmosphere. Instead people came in late like the Irish were playing Southest Missouri State. You are playing a top ten team…get to the game and get loud!
The game was really a battle early on. Both teams took turns slugging it out. Notre Dame slowly started pulling away before a huge run gave them a sixteen point lead. That run was sparked by a Tim Abromaitis three and some inspired defense by Ben Hansbrough. After that they gave up an easy basket to Georgetown who immediately called a timeout. The Hoyas came out of that timeout fired up, and playing great defense. The Irish had a little trouble adjusting, and the lead was cut to seven after a 9-0 Hoya run. Notre Dame finally got used to the pressure, and took the game back in control.
Let’s talk about Julian Vaughn for a minute. This guy really seemed like a thug last night. He had two fouls in the first two minutes of the game. This did not stop his rough play though. He really liked throwing elbows and just beating up his opponent. He picked up his third foul in the first half, and somehow only picked up one more during the second half of the game. Early in the second half he hit an Irish player so hard on the arm I could hear the slap from my seat. No foul was called, and Julian proceeded to hit every Irish player on his way down the court. I talk bad about his play, but I would probably like him if he played for my team.
Play of the Game – This one is tough. The Irish had two big runs that gave them their lead. The game though was turning towards Georgetown again when Scott Martin hit Tim Abromaitis who was cutting for a lay in. Abromaitis was fouled in the process and hit his free throw to complete the three point play. Tim hit five threes in the game, but this series put the Irish up 12, and they never looked back.
Gameball – I am going to cheat and give out three gameballs here. Tim Abromaitis scored a team high 20 points and made five of the six threes he attempted. He is the guy that you do not want to leave open in the corner. Tyrone Nash had a double-double for the Irish as well. He really doesn’t look like he has the size to play down low, but he makes up for that with some great moves and hustle. Ben Hansbrough is a guy that you don’t want to leave open, but he doesn’t need to be open to make a shot. He hit a tough fadeaway three right in front of me that was a tough running shot. He was sprinting at full speed when he just jumped back and nailed the three. He also had a few great hustle plays on the floor. All three of these guys played a huge role in the win. That is leaving out Scott Martin who scored eleven points for ND. The country may not know all the names, but this is a pretty good team.
I finally have decent photo editing program that I want to use before I post the pictures from the last two games. With the holiday I don’t know when I will have the time to do that. It may be a couple of days before pictures come from the last two days. Of course with the ridiculous policy that Notre Dame has in place I don’t have any from the action during the game. I could get kicked out for that.
I sat next to a father and son the whole game who were great people. I was thinking about how they didn’t even have something negative to say about my Purdue hat. Finally his dad let it out of the bag that he was a member of the Paint Crew. I thought that it was odd to see a Paint Crew member in kelly green at a Notre Dame game, but that explained why they were so nice. I also loved how they showed quite a few people on the jumbotron during breaks in the action who were sporting Purdue colors. The Boiler Nation is everywhere. The kids in the upper deck wearing the Smooge and Hummel jerseys got a lot of screen time. I don’t think the camera guy knew that they weren’t wearing Notre Dame jerseys.