Nov. 16, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — One defender — not even at 7-foot-3 — was enough to slow Luke Harangody.
Harangody, who got double-teamed often last season on his way to becoming the Big East player of the year, found himself being guarded by one defender most of the night.
He took advantage, scoring 30 points for the fourth time in his career and adding 14 rebounds to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 94-58 season-opening victory over South Carolina-Upstate on Sunday night.
“If he’s playing with one guy (on him), we’re going to keep throwing it in there and letting him go to work,” Irish coach Mike Brey said.
Brey said it was good practice for Harangody to go against 7-3 center Nick Schneiders, since he will face Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet twice this season. He said he told Harangody to try to move Schneiders around.
Harangody sparked a 15-2 run that broke the game open, scoring a fast-break basket late in the first half even though Upstate’s Chalmers Rogers had a hand on his neck trying to stop him. Harangody then made a free throw to cap the three-point play.
Harangody shot 12-of-21 from the floor and hit his fourth career 3-pointer.
“They’ve got a great inside-outside presence, certain guys that you can’t leave, and that leaves Harangody one-on-one in the post,” Upstate coach Eddie Payne said. “I thought our kid, the 7-footer, did a fairly decent job on him, but he has that quick release. They make you pay for it every time you make a mistake.”
Harangody credited his teammates.
“Most of the buckets I got out there were because other people created them for me, and that’s why it’s so fun to play on this team,” he said. “I was having a blast out there tonight, and that’s when we’re playing the best, when we get real energized and when we show our emotions, that’s when we’re playing our best game.”
The Irish, who led the nation in assists last season, finished with 25 assists, led by eight from Tory Jackson and six from Kyle McAlarney, who added 10 points.
Luke Zeller, a senior, added a career-high 18 points for the Irish, matching the total his brother, Tyler, had in his first game as a freshman at North Carolina on Saturday.
“I didn’t know I did, but it sounds good to me,” Zeller said.
Zach Hillesland had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Irish (1-0). Bobby Davis led the Spartans with 14 points and Nick Schneiders added 12 and seven rebounds.
For the Spartans (0-2), in their second season as a Division I school, it was their first game against a ranked opponent.
“What I was disappointed in our team was, once the game got out of hand, we had some guys start making it up a little bit,” he said.
Notre Dame has won 38 straight at home, tying the school record set in 1948. The Irish have won 10 straight season openers and improved to 86-18 overall in openers.