Dec. 31, 2008
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) – Luke Harangody got some help from Zach Hillesland that set the tone early for the Fighting Irish.
Harangody scored 26 points and had 16 rebounds and Hillesland scored a career-high 17 to lead No. 7 Notre Dame to a 92-82 win over DePaul in the Big East opener for both teams Wednesday night.
“I think with Zach, I think he has a feel who he can take off the dribble. Nobody has ever been bashful in my system offensively. Nobody is ever looking at the bench,” said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. “We want guys that can attack and go for it. Tonight obviously, I felt he really set the tone with his drives and finishes.”
Hillesland took advantage of a favorable match up. DePaul lost freshman forward Devin Hill, who sprained his ankle in practice. And Hillesland took advantage of his speed by taking the ball to the hoop early.
“In the past against DePaul I’ve had pretty good matchups at the 4 spot. They are kind of more traditional big men as far as (Mac) Koshwal and (Matija) Poscic and I just tried to take advantage of that, use my speed to get to the basket,” said Hillesland.
Leading 23-19 midway through the first half, Notre Dame (10-2, 1-0) extended its advantage with a 7-0 run. Hillesland and Jonathan Peoples had back-to-back baskets and Luke Zeller made a 3-pointer to give Notre Dame a 30-19 lead. The Irish closed out the half with Jackson’s jumper and Ryan Ayers made a 3 to give Notre Dame a 47-34 lead at the break.
All five starters finished in double figures in scoring for the Fighting Irish.
DePaul (8-6, 0-1) was led by Dar Tucker with 24 points and Koshwal finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
“We played decent, but if we played a little bit more of defense I think we would’ve stopped them,” said Koshwal. We just gave them a lot second chance opportunities. In the first half, I didn’t rebound like I should of like I should have and coach grabbed me and told me I must rebound.”