Dec 9, 2013, 9:25 AM EDT
Mike Franz, the official 2013-14 men’s basketball beat writer for the In The Paint blog, is currently a sophomore at Holy Cross College. Over the course of the year Mike will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and stories from inside the team circle. You can follow Mike (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.
Four days after Notre Dame suffered a loss in a back and forth battle with Iowa in their first B1G/ACC Challenge, the team had to play the Blue Hens of Delaware. Today, the team had to bounce back from a defeat in order to compete. And bounce back they did, defeating Delaware 80-75.
Three Notre Dame players tallied double-digit points today with Pat Connaughton being one of them. The junior from Arlington, Massachusetts is a dual-sport athlete, playing basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. During baseball, you can see Connaughton on the pitching mound striking out hitters left and right.
In baseball, a complete game for a pitcher is very impressive. It is where the pitcher goes the full nine innings without coming out. On Saturday, Connaughton channeled his baseball skills, playing the full 40 minutes and not coming out once. “I’m twenty years old. I could run all day,” Connaughton said. “If it goes into overtime, I’ll play forty-five. I want to win in regulation, but I could do it.”
Connaughton’s endurance not to come out proved valuable in the win this afternoon. Scoring a total of 21 points was just the tip of the iceberg for Connaughton’s big day on the court.
His consistency from the three-point line was another important feature of his game. Shooting 75% from the arch, Connaughton kept the Blue Hens at bay when they seemed like they were making a run.
Along with his shooting ability, Connaughton’s rebounding ability was a feat in it of itself. Leading the team in nine defensive rebounds, Connaughton made sure to limit Delaware in second chance points. “It’s something that we need to do and always work on.” Connaughton stated, “I really wanted to focus on it today, and I try to focus on it every game.”
Connaughton’s performance was much needed and helped the Irish get the victory and improve their record to 6-2 on the year.
Three Notes I Made During The Game
1) Never Gave Up- The team showed a lot of physical and mental toughness. Whenever there was a loose ball, Notre Dame flocked to the ball. This sort of determination of never giving up on a play is an attitude the team will need to carry into their ACC schedule.
2) Where Are The Students?- Ten minutes before game time, the teams were on the court, the media was beginning their reports and the fans were in their seats. The students however must have forgotten the game started at 4:00 PM because it looked like the band was outnumbering the students in attendance. The Notre Dame basketball team needs a much better following from the students in future games, especially during their huge ACC games.
3) Bad Day For The Refs- The referees seemed to have a bad day making calls today. On three separate occasions, they had to converse amongst themselves and switch the call. Even if the second call was correct, changing the calls is a huge change in momentum. Hopefully the refs will have a better day of calls in Monday night’s game.
Monday night the Irish play in another regional round of the Gotham Classic Tournament at 7 p.m. (ET). The team will take on the Bryant Bulldogs, so we need the Leprechaun Legion to come out and show your Notre Dame pride.
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