(South Bend Tribune)
The 2 men pictured above, Luke Harangody and Tim Abromaitis, helped power the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (16-7, 5-5) past our highly disinterested Cincinnati Bearcats (14-8, 5-5) last night. Unlike the first match up, Gody wasn't contained, and went off for 37 points on 15-25, 7-8 from the free throw line and 14 rebounds. Luke had a double double by halftime as the Irish, who were outrebounded 50-31 in Cincinnati, beat UC on the glass by 9, and pulled down 11 offensive rebounds to the 2 they got at 5/3 Arena. Tim Abromaitis went off for 22, showing that UC has no one that can stick him this season. Ben Hansbrough had 12-8 rebounds-9 assists, and Tory Jackson had 8 assists as the Irish had 25 assists on 29 field goals. UC had no answer for the Irish on defense, or offense. Larry Davis lead the team in scoring with 12. Larry Davis is a good kid, but he can't be your leading scorer. Deonta Vaughn had 11 on 2-8 shooting, all from 3. He has become very 1 dimensional this season, content to sit on the perimeter. Cashmere Wright followed his great day against Providence by going 1-9 for 4. Lance Stephenson didn't start, and only played 21 minutes for whatever reason, and had 8-6. I guess Mick didn't want the team's best player getting in the way of the suck. Let's dive into this frustrating loss.
Tim Abromaitis started the game with a 3 that was answered by Ibrahima Thomas. I swear that Ibby takes 80% of his shots before the first media break. He took 4 shots and 4 free throws, and they were all done by the under 12 I would bet. The teams would do a little battle until Notre Dame pulled away for good. Yes, for good. The Irish got dunks on 3 straight possessions while UC went ice cold and turned the ball over. A Harangody j made the score 15-6, and it would be 15-8 to the under 12. UC made a mini run with free throws by Vaughn and Yancy Gates scoring, but when the Irish could get field goals, they converted at the line. Gates would score again, but the Irish would get another dunk and lead 19-14 at 7:28. ND was 6-20, and UC 5-18. UC would get stuck shooting jump shots, and it cost them. Gody made 2 free throws and a lay up to help ND pull away. Larry Davis made his first 3 to pull UC back, but Abromaitis made another 3 to push the lead to 11. Harangody got a put back to give himself the previously mentioned first half double double to keep the lead 11. UC made their last gasp with a Davis 3, and a basket and foul by Gates at 4:30. Ben Hansbrough hit an open 3 to push the lead back. The teams traded free throws until Gody went on a 6-0 run, capped by a lay up off a nice Hansbrough pass for a 40-27 lead at the half. I didn't say as much about Tim Abromaitis because he scored mainly at the free throw line, but he had 16 in the half. Gody had 16-10. Tory Jackson had 7 assists, and Hansbrough 5. ND shot 14-33, 3-10 from 3, 9-11 ft, and had 13 assists to 5 turnovers. UC was 9-28, 3-11, 6-9 ft, and had 5 assists to 8 tos half of which were by Yancy Gates. Gates led UC with 10-4, Davis had 6, Rashad Bishop had 4-4, and Ibrahima Thomas had 4. Vaughn had 3 of his assists. Lance Stephenson didn't start, and didn't play more than 10 minutes in the half. Mick Cronin said after the game that he wanted Bishop in the line up to guard Abromaitis, and Bishop didn't exactly do that at all.
The Irish built their lead from the get go with a Hansbrough 3. UC got a Vaughn 3, a Steve Toyloy put back and a steal on the inbound. With their chance to make a run, Vaughn threw up a terrible 3 that lead to a Gody jumper. UC scored 5 more off a Toyloy lay up and a Davis 3, but the lead was back to 11 with a Hansbrough put back. Hansbrough was everywhere when UC looked to do anything. UC should have played a guard to stick him, because Deonta Vaughn couldn't do it. Lance Stephenson didn't play until the 12 minute mark, and until the the teams exchanged baskets with the lead still in double digits. Abromaitis hit a 3 to make the lead 13. Stephenson would get to the line to score his first 2 of the game and cut the lead to 11. Thomas got to the stripe with 11 minutes left, and made 1 of 2 to make it a 10 point game. That's when the game ended for all intents and purposes. Harangody schooled Gates on an up and under for a basket and foul. Jaquan Parker, who did nothing, turned the ball over, which lead to a press break lay up by Gody for a 15 point lead. UC took terrible shots, with Wright and Vaughn being the offenders in this anti-run. The anti-highlight came off a missed Vaughn 3. ND, I think it was Hansbrough, pulled down the long rebound and flung a pass down court to a streaking Abromaitis who would dunk and get fouled by Cash Wright. UC had 2 players even attempt to run down the floor. Lance Stephenson didn't take a step after moving to the paint for the rebound. Abromaitis made the free throw to make it an 18 point game. As you can tell by the final, the score stayed that way.
The pathetic effort hasn't been highlighted in this recap enough. If I made it seem that UC was in the game at all the second half besides the very beginning, I'm sorry. UC had another awful, awful, awful road effort. Notre Dame shot 54% the second half. UC shot 38% for the game, 7-28 for 3. Why this team of terrible outside shooters is able to settle on taking 3s, I don't know. It's incredibly frustrating to watch. The only 2 things of positive note were UC was 16-20 at the free throw line, and Larry Davis made 4 from long range. Larry has been bad from deep this year, and it was good to see him hitting shots. Besides that, it was another lousy road effort. The team is 8-43,323 on the road in Mick's UC career. With the back end of the Big East schedule coming up, this has to be the last time this pathetic of an effort can take place. This loss is on Mick, the players, and the rest of the coaches. This can't happen anymore. Syracuse is up next on Sunday. It's a gigantic opportunity for UC to was the taste of this disaster out of their mouths.