Jan. 5, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Luke Harangody didn’t let being in foul trouble against an athletic Georgetown team bother him. Neither did Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.
Harangody thought he would spend about 10 minutes on the bench when he picked up his fourth foul with 15:17 left and the 13th-ranked Fighting Irish up by six points.
Instead, he sat less than 4 minutes, then scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds down the stretch to help Notre Dame beat the ninth-ranked Hoyas 73-67 on Monday night and end a five-game losing streak to Georgetown.
Brey said he didn’t think for too long about putting Harangody, who finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds, back in.
“When you’re an older player, a veteran player, my feeling is sometimes coaches sit guys with foul trouble too much. He’s played a lot of basketball,” Brey said. “I talked with him when I took him out. I told him, `I need you to be smart.”‘
Harangody, who had never scored more than 13 points in three previous games against Georgetown, scored Notre Dame’s final 13 points of the first half to give the Irish an 11-point lead.
“He’s the MVP of our league,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of the reigning Big East player of the year. “He makes good decisions. He can score from many places on the court, and they surround him with guys who can make shots.”
The Hoyas closed to 71-67 with 15 seconds left when Chris Wright scored inside, but Kyle McAlarney, who missed the front end of a 1-and-1 14 seconds earlier, made two free throws with 12 seconds left.
McAlarney, who was 1-of-5 from 3-point range in a loss Saturday at St. John’s, was 5-of-11 from 3-point range Monday night, finishing with 17 points. Tory Jackson added 10 points and seven assists.
Freshman Greg Monroe led Georgetown (10-3, 1-2) with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Wright added 13 points and DaJuan Summers finished with 11, his second-lowest point total this season.
Notre Dame (11-3, 2-1) extended the nation’s longest home winning streak to 44 games, including 19 in the conference, one shy of the Big East record set by Pittsburgh in 2004.
Brey said the Irish are more confident playing at home.
“They really believe in this building. This has been a great advantage for us. It’s been therapy for us on the road,” he said. “Come on home and get well.”
The Hoyas were one of only two Big East teams the Irish hadn’t beaten during that streak. They also haven’t beaten Rutgers, which visits the Joyce Center on Feb. 25.
Thompson said the Hoyas simply didn’t play well enough to win.
“This is an unforgiving league, so we have to do it every night in every aspect of the game,” he said.
He wouldn’t use the excuse of having to open the Big East season against Connecticut, Pittsburgh and the Irish–three of the league’s record nine ranked teams–as a reason for the Hoyas’ struggles and two-game losing streak.
“Yes, it was a difficult stretch with two road games and a quick turnaround here. But so what?” he said. “It’s the Big East.”