Nov. 1, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – On an evening when Notre Dame debuted its newly-renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, Irish head coach Mike Brey’s refurbished lineup took center stage and held off a relentless Lewis squad, 70-54, during Sunday evening’s exhibition action.
Brey went with a three-guard lineup to start the game as Jonathan Peoples, Tory Jackson and Ben Hansbrough – who was making his first action in an Irish uniform – were flanked by Tyrone Nash and preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Luke Harangody.
Harangody led all players with 33 points on 15-of-25 shooting and a team-high nine rebounds, including a three-pointer. He attempted almost half of Notre Dame’s attempts in the contest, as the Irish shot 49.1 percent (27-55) from the field including 4-of-19 from behind the arc. Notre Dame was also 12-for-12 from the charity stripe.
“This was a good test for us as we had to guard the three-point line. I thought we took some quick three’s, but in the second half our half-court offense was better and we moved it a little bit more,” Brey said. “It’s small steps with this group, and as we try to analyze things, we’ll start to figure this team out.”
While the elder Hansbrough brother and current Indiana Pacer, Tyler, watched from the stands, the younger sibling captained the Irish offense with 12 points and seven defensive boards. His one-handed jam with 1:30 left in the game brought the crowd to its feet and gave Notre Dame a 68-54 cushion.
“I knew he’d be playing a little too fast tonight after sitting out for a year,” Brey said of Hansbrough, who transferred to Notre Dame after his sophomore season at Mississippi State. “When we were struggling, he made some drives and got to the foul line and got us off the hook a few times. I love his competiveness and I think he’s going to score the ball for us because he can do it in so many different ways.”
Hansbrough hit each of his four free throws.
Notre Dame got on the board less than a minute into the game with Harangody’s jumper, and Jackson’s layup capped off an early 8-0 jaunt.
Jackson finished with seven points and seven of Notre Dame’s 16 assists.
Lewis’ Chris McClellan, who led the Flyers with 18 points and four three-pointers, drained a trey to bring his team within three (10-7) and Justin Jarosz tied it at 10-10 with another try.
Harangody scored 11 of Notre Dame’s next 13 points – including seven straight – as the Irish built a 23-14 lead.
“Sometimes you’re in the right position but he’s is so big, so good and so strong that he’ll still make the play,” Lewis head coach Scott Trost noted in regards to Harangody.
Lewis scrapped its way back and turned a 16-point Irish lead into a two-point Flyer deficit with 14:06 left in the game. Their run was jolted by Matt Toth’s jumper in the paint with four seconds left in the first half which capped off a 9-0 run for Lewis heading into intermission.
Lewis continued its run as Marty Strus drained a pair of free throws one minute into the second half.
Harangody answered with a driving layup from the right baseline to make it 34-27 in favor of the Irish. He added an assist on Jackson’s three-pointer one possession later.
McClellan’s third three-pointer came just under the 17-minute mark, but Jackson answered with his own on the ensuing Irish offensive trip. McClellan came back down and netted another trey to cut into the Notre Dame lead, 40-37.
Dennis Thomas’ driving layup at 14:45 put the Flyers on top 41-40.
The Irish regained their lead, 46-44, with Harangody’s hook shot with 12:33 left in the contest. Harangody added a putback dunk with 9:26 left on the clock as the Irish remained in control for the duration.
Notre Dame made a number of energized plays in front of a crowd of 8,076, but Nash’s behind-the-back pass to a streaking Harangody for a fast-break flush at the 4:33 mark in the second half took the cake.
Harangody had 13 first-half points as the Irish shot 50.0 from the field in the opening frame.
Lewis hit 11 of its 33 attempts (33.3 percent) including 3-of-12 from behind the arc to start the game.
Notre Dame returns to action with another home exhibition affair versus Quincy on Friday (Nov. 6) at 7:30 p.m. (ET).