by Mike Coffey
I know, the late great Mike Royko never said “some things you wonder, some things you think, and some things you just know”, Bernie Lincicome did. I still don’t have a new name for the column, but if you think I’m letting five overtimes go by without commentary, you’re nuts.
By the way, that was the headline I was planning on using if the Irish had won in Miami on January 7th. Glad it didn’t go to waste.
This is one of those fulcrum games on which a season can pivot. The team I watched the first 39 minutes would be lucky to make the NIT, let alone win a game there. The team I watched the last 26 minutes can do some damage. The energy and focus needs to be a mainstay rather than an infrequent visitor.
In the last minute, Jerian Grant took over the game. In the second overtime, Garrick Sherman took over the game. In the fifth overtime, my beta-blockers took over the game.
If confidence was a concern for Sherman, hopefully this game goes a long way towards giving him some. He played fearlessly. I remember one play in the third overtime where he got the ball down low on the left and he waved away his teammates to set himself up for an isolation play. He drove the defender back towards the basket and hooked the ball in.
Eric Atkins had a tough game overall, but it seemed like every play, he was getting the ball where it needed to be. If Grant can be the spark the way he was late in regulation, they can be an effective pair. But a guard who can’t be consistent at the free throw line is a liability, and that needs to be fixed.
This was a great game for Cam Biedscheid and Zach Auguste. They played with confidence, they contributed. They still get lost on defense sometimes, but no freshman is perfect. This is the kind of game that tempers the steel that is young players and will pay dividends for ND, both this season and in the coming years.
I don’t believe in substitution for its own sake. Having said that, this game is more than enough evidence that at least nine players on this team can be counted on, so I hope those players are given a chance as the season winds down.
I’m ashamed of myself that when Auguste fouled out, my first thought was, “Damn, he’s going to have to play Crowley.” Sorry, Austin. Won’t happen again.
Great win, but as Brey said, it only counts for one. Won’t mean a damn thing if they don’t bring it hard against the Demons on Wednesday.