Sunday, February 25, 2007

Irish Glide Past Golden Eagles 85-73

For only the third time in their basketball history, Notre Dame completed a perfect record at home going 18-0 in the shadow of the Golden Dome and running their overall record to 22-6 as the Irish defeated Marquette's Golden Eagles 85-73 Saturday.

It was senior night in South Bend and Notre Dame's victory yesterday assured Irish seniors Colin Falls and Russell Carter their first ever trip to March Madness and the NCAA Tournament. However, it was not they but the Irish freshman duo of Luke Harangody (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Tory Jackson (21 points, 7 assists) who led the way when it looked like Marquette would spoil their day.

The swifter Eagles soared to early 8-0 and 25-11 leads, but Marquette's foul trouble and a late, crowd-inspired 11-0 Irish run put ND ahead 42-36 at halftime, and the home Domers held the lead the rest of the way. "The emotion of senior day contributed to our slow start," said ND's suddenly savvy freshman Jackson, "but we kept our poise, took their punches, and finally knocked them out." Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey was quick to disagree, saying "It was Marquette's talent that led to our poor start," before adding "Thank God they got tired and couldn't sprint the entire forty minutes."

Colin Falls with 14 points and 4 of 7 from beyond the arc broke the Big East career record for three-pointers on his final basket, and now has 184. Colin has been steady down the stretch, but he will need to connect early and often from downtown if the Irish are to do any damage come tournament time. Likewise, senior partner Russell Carter, who early this season played like an All American but lately has Coach Brey wondering if he should even start, needs to step up his game again as the Irish once more leave South Bend, where their Big East record is only 2-5. It's great to play with Mary in your midst, but the Irish's troubles away from home is all the more reason to remember to take your rosaries with you on the road as well.

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