SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- The future is looking bright for No. 22
The present isn't so bad, either.
The 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish started a pair of freshmen for
the first time in five years in Tory Jackson and Luke Harangody,
and a third freshman, Jonathan Peoples, played a career-high 19
minutes Sunday when Notre Dame built a big lead against Seton Hall
and held on for an 88-76 victory.
"We were young," Irish coach Mike Brey said. "I'm looking out
there at Peoples and Jackson, but God did they play old. They were
young but they played old."
The Irish were forced to play Jackson and Peoples more after
Kyle McAlarney was suspended indefinitely after being arrested on a
marijuana possession charge on Dec. 29. They were forced to go even
younger against Seton Hall when Colin Falls, Notre Dame's
second-leading scorer, played just 19 minutes because of a stomach
The Irish got their usual big contributions from Russell Carter,
with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Rob Kurz, with 15 points and
nine rebounds. But sophomore Zach Hillesland added a career-high 12
points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in playing a career-high 25
minutes, coming two assists shy of becoming just the second Irish
player with a triple-double.
"It was a matter of finding open guys and knocking down shots,
just getting a rebound and doing little things here and there,"
The Pirates trailed by 11 late in the first half, but cut the
lead to 44-41 on a 3-pointer by Brian Laing with 17:51 left in the
But the only field goal Seton Hall scored over nearly 9 minutes
came on a goaltending call as the Irish went on a 28-10 run. Seton
Hall used a 9-0 run in 68 seconds to close to 77-67 on a basket
inside by Eugene Harvey, but couldn't get any closer as the Irish
shot 54 percent and held Seton Hall to 36 percent shooting.
"Even without Kyle McAlarney, they're one of the best shooting
teams in the country that I've seen," Seton Hall coach Bobby
Notre Dame (15-2, 3-1 Big East) improved to 13-0 at home and is
off to its best start in seven seasons under Brey.
"I think our guys are really confident here," Brey said.
"Taking care of your stuff here has been good. If we can continue
to do that, that's great. Then you want to steal a couple on the
Seton Hall (10-6, 2-2) hasn't won two straight since early
Peoples said he didn't notice the young Irish lineup until
someone else pointed it out.
"I think we all have confidence, and we don't look at each
other as freshmen or sophomores," he said. "We look at each other
as just being teammates."