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August 19, 2008
MORE FROM ZELLER
The Fighting Irish return four starters from a team that went 24-8 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and they are ranked in the Rivals.com preseason top 10.
The Irish are 3-0 on the trip after Sunday's victory over Poland.
Here is Zeller's fifth entry:
By Luke Zeller
We had a physical game with Poland. We ended up winning 104-86. We were up by like 15-20 at halftime. We played really well. They were a big team, older. You could tell they had been together for quite a while.
The game was physical from the start. I started, but I got into foul trouble. I had three fouls in the first half. I don't want to be one to complain, but consistency (with the officials) might have been an issue. I ended up with eight points and two rebounds. After the first half, I just couldn't get back in the flow.
'Gody (Irish forward Luke Harangody) continues to play well. He had 16 points and 17 boards. He had eight offensive rebounds, and I actually thought he had more than that. A lot of his points were off offensive rebounds. Kyle (McAlarney) had 17 points and hit five '3s' again. Tory (Jackson) had 13 points and seven assists. Ryan Ayers came off the bench and had 12 points. He was really hitting from mid-range. Jon Peoples came off the bench and had nine points.
(The Polish team) had done some talking about how they were going to beat us. They were talking during the game, too, yelling at us, but we couldn't understand what they were saying.
But we knew they were talking, so we came out pretty hard. We took it personally.
They had a kid who had six 3-pointers. They're team had 13 '3s.' It just kind of took them a while to get going.
This weekend, we play Iceland, Poland again and Ireland again. Ireland already called three more guys to play, and I wouldn't be surprised if Poland calls their senior national team. These national teams have players everywhere. They'll probably both be entirely different teams by the time we play them again this weekend.
They had a whole section for Polish people at the gym (as Zeller told us earlier, there is a large Polish population in Belfast). We actually had two girls basketball teams that we met at the U.S. consulate there rooting for us and some other people from the consulate, so that was nice.
They screwed up the national anthem. Actually, they didn't even play it. I was thinking about doing a Barry White-style anthem.
What happened in the Spades tournament (see Diary No. 4)?
We won. It was me and Peoples against Zach Hillesland and Ryan Ayers. We got down big but the last two hands ? you bid at the beginning and we had like nine sandbags. I was better than I thought I was. If you get 10, you lose like 100 points, and we got perfect hands on the last two hands. We worked it to perfection. We're defending the championship Monday night, I think.
What's next as far as sightseeing since you don't play again for a few days?
We go to Dublin on Tuesday. But the thing I'm really looking forward to is a Gaelic football game on Sunday. The stadium holds 92,000. I was in Australia last summer and saw an Aussie Rules football game, and those people are nuts. I have a feeling the crowd at a Gaelic football game will be every bit as physical as our game with Poland was.
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