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INDIANAPOLIS - Two former stars from the City League will square off here this afternoon when Ohio State and Notre Dame meet in the Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase event.
St. John's Jesuit grad Zach Hillesland is a senior captain and a starter for the No. 7 Fighting Irish, who will likely start four seniors and a junior against Ohio State.
Libbey's William Buford is a freshman for the unbeaten Buckeyes and comes off the bench for Ohio State, which has no seniors on its roster and starts two juniors and three sophomores.
Hillesland, a 6-9, 228-pound forward who creates matchup problems for the opposition with his ability to handle the ball in transition, will be trying to help the Fighting Irish overcome the loss of Big East preseason player of the year Luke Harangody.
The 6-8 Harangody is out indefinitely with pneumonia. Harangody, one of just 10 players in the country to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game over a single season when he accomplished that last season, became ill after a recent Notre Dame win over Texas in Hawaii.
Hillesland, who has played in 84 games during his career at Notre Dame, starting 27 times, usually draws the toughest defensive assignment for the Irish and is relied on for rebounding at both ends of the floor. He had nine rebounds, six points and a career-high five steals in the recent win over South Dakota.
Buford, last year's Mr. Ohio Basketball and a three-time City League player of the year, has averaged six points per game for the Buckeyes. He is averaging 15 minutes of play per game. The 6-5, 190-pound wing had a great debut with Ohio State, scoring 13 points against Delaware State on 5-of-10 shooting from the field.
Buford and the Buckeyes will have to be very conscious of the 3-pointer against Notre Dame, since the Fighting Irish hit a school record 19 triples against South Dakota on Tuesday.
Senior guard Kyle McAlarney, who is averaging 32.7 points over the past three games, hit a record 10 from beyond the arc as part of his career-best 39-point performance against North Carolina in a recent loss in the championship game in Maui.
Notre Dame, which is averaging 87.1 points per game this season, has eclipsed 80 points in every game but one and broken 90 points three times in seven games. Notre Dame's scoring ability and its experience are a big concern for Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
"They've got veterans, they understand each other, and all the guys they put on the floor have the ability to pass and find the open man," Matta said. "I think the challenge for us is to try and distract them as much as we can, and try and space things properly and be with them as much as you can."
The Buckeyes, coming off a recent win over Miami in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, hope to be able to match some of that long-range production with sophomore Jon Diebler, who had a creeer-high six 3-pointers in the win over the Hurricanes. Diebler, who played all 40 minutes at Miami, is 13-of-28 from 3-point range this season (.464), a significant improvement on his 48 of 166 shooting (.289) last season as a freshman.
Sophomore guard/forward Evan Turner leads the Buckeyes with 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Junior David Lighty is the team's leader, and he started his 41st-consecutive game in the victory over Miami and played all 40 minutes in that contest.
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Owens 75, St. Clair 73
Michael Henderson scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead St. Clair. Taurean Villolovos added 17.
Brew Story scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Express. Josh Robinson added 12.
Owens 84, St. Clair 71
Trailing 56-55 with 10 minutes to go, Owens went on a 16-2 run.
Unique Lane led the Express (7-4) with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jeanne Bockey added 19, Sarah Clark 16 and Ashley Hooker 11.
Chanahl Putnam scored 31 points for St. Clair (3-5). Ashley Williams added 17.39.76691 -86.14996