Dec. 28, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame is showing Irish coach Mike Brey something different each time out, and he likes what he is seeing.
Rob Kurz scored 23 points and Kyle McAlarney had 21 points on seven 3-pointers to lead No. 19 Notre Dame to a 101-51 win over Rider on Thursday night.
Notre Dame (11-1) won its 10th straight game in its best run since winning 11 in a row during the 1986-87 season. The Irish are also off to their best start since opening up 12-1 in 2002-03.
“Offensively, I’ve not been around this in my years of coaching, anywhere,” Brey said. “We do something new every time out.”
Rider (7-5) played its fourth straight game on the road and lost its second game to a Big East team in the last eight days. Villanova beat the Broncs 108-61 on Dec. 20.
McAlarney’s 3-point outburst for the Irish gave him a career-high point total in Brey’s 200th game as Notre Dame’s coach.
“I would hate to be another team having to come into our place and guard us,” McAlarney said. “You look at us and everybody’s a great shooter. How do you guard a team like that that keeps moving?”
Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody tied his career high with 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double and fourth of the season.
“Right from the gate we wanted to come out and not give them a chance at all,” Harangody said. “I think that’s what we do. We come out hungry every game.”
Notre Dame outscored Rider 23-5 over a 5:11 stretch of the first half and built a 24-point lead. McAlarney hit three 3-pointers and Harangody scored eight points down low during the run.
“We knew (McAlarney) was in a groove so we kept getting him touches,” Brey said. “I think what he’s doing is learning a great balance of running the team and hunting his shot. He really has a feel for tempo. He’s got great command of our offense, too.”
Another run, 16-3 over the last 3:40 of the first half, gave the Irish a 56-24 halftime lead. Kurz had eight points during the surge.
“They don’t stand out to you with individual performances as much as they just stand out to me by sharing the ball,” Rider coach Tommy Dempsey said. “They have multiple options and you have to guard everybody.”
Rider scored 11 straight early in the second half to close within 24 points, but Harangody answered with a basket down low, a nice inside pass to Zach Hillesland for a layup and tip-in basket all in less than 2 minutes.
Ryan Thompson and Terrance Mouton each scored 10 points for Rider.
Notre Dame also got 15 points from leading scorer Russell Carter, who was averaging 17.6. Carter’s three-point play with 8:50 to go capped a 20-4 run that pushed the Irish lead to 82-41.