Blame the tryptophan for the lateness of this post.
While Tim Abromaitis and co. were busting their humps in their first round game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, FL, I was busting my gut with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a healthy topping of gravy. After the double overtime thriller ended with a Notre Dame 89-83 win, I fell into a deep turkey-laced coma that I didn’t raise out of until after noon.
I felt like Paul Williams after waking up from Sergio Martinez’s knockout punch. I was in pain, discombobulated, and not quite myself. I’ve finally recovered to talk to you about this great game.
Abromaitis once again made four of his five three-pointers, leading the Irish to victory with 25 points, including eight points in the deciding second overtime.
Abro put the Irish ahead 74-71 with 3:46 left in the second overtime when he converted an and-one. A minute later, Abro nailed a three-pointer to once again put the Irish up three, this time 79-76.
Georgia answered right back with a driving bucket, but Erik Atkins canned a baseline jumper to push the lead back to three. Georgia finally blinked by missing on its next possession, and Notre Dame held on by making its free throws down the stretch.
“What a Thanksgiving for Notre Dame fans. They probably threw up some turkey around the country,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I’m really proud of our group. Fifth game of the season, to be up against the wall and find a way to fight it out and get a win. Something for us to really build on. A lot of guys made key plays for us.
“Nice to see the mental toughness of a group early in the season.” “What a Thanksgiving for Notre Dame fans. They probably threw up some turkey around the country,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I’m really proud of our group. Fifth game of the season, to be up against the wall and find a way to fight it out and get a win. Something for us to really build on.
“A lot of guys made key plays for us. Nice to see the mental toughness of a group early in the season.”
Notre Dame trailed by 12 points at halftime, but clawed back into the game behind some timely three-pointers and a 3-2 zone defense that forced perimeter shots from the inside-reliant Bulldogs.
Notre Dame took its first lead of the second half on a gorgeous Carleton Scott three with 8:35 remaining, making the score 49-48. Scott was crucial to the win with 11 points and 11 rebounds and I’m falling in love with the asthetic beauty of his jump shot.
Tyrone Nash then scored back-to-back hoops to keep the Irish ahead. Nash was fantasticly fierce in the post all night, grabbing six rebounds and muscling up 18 points. First, Nash entered beast mode when he bodied up a Georgia defender for the tough lay in. On the next play, Nash backed down his man, before spinning left and finishing over the outstretched arm of Trey Thompkins for a 56-52 lead.
Ben Hansbrough extended the lead to 60-52 with 2:38 left on a pretty spin move, lay up of his own, but Georgia battled back.
Gerald Robinson cut the lead to two with a deep three, then Thompkins tied the game with a tip in with 10 seconds remaining.
For his part, Thompkins lived up the hype of being named preseason SEC player of the year (whatever that’s worth). Thompkins had 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Travis Leslie also impressed with 23 points and a vicious windmill dunk in the first half.
Hansbrough had a chance to win the game in regulation, but he missed a short jumper and Nash couldn’t convert the tip in.
Notre Dame is now 5-0 after surviving its first true test of the season. The first four wins came, at home, against Georgia Southern, Liberty, Chicago State, and Maine.
The Irish impressed with a refusal to quit and a toughness I didn’t know they possessed. Notre Dame struggled offensively for much of the game, but they put the game in a blender and ground out the win. Notre Dame had no business winning the game, but someone forget to tell Abromaitis and his teammates.
Notre Dame faces another challenge tonight at 5 in its second rouch match up with California. Cal defeated No. 20 Temple last night, 57-50.