NOTRE DAME, Ind.-Notre Dame turned in another solid, well-balanced, high-energy performance en route to an 85-57 exhibition victory over Bellarmine University Monday night in the Joyce Center.
The Irish shot a sizzling 10-of-18 from three-point range and spent the evening at the free-throw line as they executed their final tune-up with precision before the regular-season opener this Friday night against IPFW in the Joyce Center.
"Fifty-five attempts, 18 of them threes," mused Irish head coach Mike Brey. "We're not just living out there, but if we get clean looks, we've got a lot of guys that can fill it up."
"We do have depth," Brey said. "We have a lot of different guys we can throw in there. We can keep fresh bodies in there, which keeps our defense moving. We can run a little bit more. We can get extra possessions by offensive rebounding because we're a little fresher with of our depth."
The Irish played without junior Rob Kurz, who suffered a broken nose Sunday in practice. Harangody, who accidentally threw the elbow that broke Kurz's nose, and Zeller picked up the slack on the boards with nine rebounds apiece.
Notre Dame shot to a 26-10 lead by the 11-minute mark of the first half. The Knights kept it between a 16- and 20-point game the better part of the next 25 minutes before a late Irish flurry made the final 28-point margin a bit deceiving.
"We battled, but that last 12-1 run, I don't know if reality set in or what," said Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport, a former Louisville assistant, who heads up the Division II squad from the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
"When you allow a team to shoot 55.6 (percent) from the three, and your No. 1 goal coming in was to defend the three-point line and transition defense, that's a little discouraging.
"But they do a tremendous job of spacing, they pass the ball very well, and if you don't guard them, they're going to knock down shots."
Bellarmine's Dzaflo Larkai led all scorers with 19 points. Brandon Clifford was the only other Knight in double figures with 12 points.
For the second straight exhibition game, the Irish displayed some pretty impressive man-to-man defense. Bellarmine shot just 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from three-point range.
"Primarily, we're a man-to-man team," Brey said. "There will be games, remember last year, when we played a 2-3 zone against Alabama on the road for 38 minutes? You've got to see what's in the wind that night.
"Tonight, we had a great flurry of full-court pressure in the first half, which is something we wanted to add this year. That kind of broke it open."
The Irish shot 22 free throws in the first half and converted 21-of-30 (70.0 percent) for the game.
"I'm disappointed in 70 percent," Brey said. "I think we'll shoot it better than that. I loved that we got there 30 times, but I think we can shoot it better than that as a team for the year."
Brey said Kurz will be back in practice Wednesday and will be ready to go against IPFW Friday night.