Nov. 28, 2009
CHICAGO (AP) – Luke Harangody and Ben Hansbrough shook off their shooting difficulties from a night earlier and helped No. 23 Notre Dame respond to a disappointing loss with a victory.
“We weren’t going to come out without a win. We were pretty upset about last night’s game, but we can’t dwell on that,” Harangody said Saturday, after the Irish beat Saint Louis 64-52 to capture third place in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
Harangody had 14 of his 18 points in the second half and Hansbrough finished with 14.
A night earlier in a 14-point loss to Northwestern, Harangody shot 7 for 19 and Hansbrough was 1 for 10. On Saturday, Harangody was 6 for 9 in the second half and 8 for 16 for the game, while Hansbrough finished 6 of 9 from the field.
“I thought Notre Dame responded the way you want to respond when you have a game like they had last night,” Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus said.
“They’re just physical and strong. Harangody was not the backbreaker. The backbreaker for us was Hansbrough. He was posting up our guy and driving our guards.”
Harangody is now two points shy of becoming the seventh 2,000-point scorer in Irish history, and would become the first Notre Dame player to have 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Willie Reed led Saint Louis (4-2) with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
“We got worn down emotionally because we missed a lot of good shots,” said Majerus, whose team shot 34 percent from the field.
Harangody connected on his first 3-point attempt of the game to start the second half – he’d been 0 for 6 from long range Friday night. He then took a pass on the break and made a nice spin in the lane before hitting a layup as the Irish quickly expanded a three-point halftime lead to eight just over a minute into the half.
Saint Louis got within one when Kwamain Mitchell hit three straight baskets, but Harangody hit two of his own and Tim Abromaitis dropped in four free throws – two after a technical on Mitchell – to put Notre Dame up nine.
Harangody picked up his fourth foul with 5:43 left, and Mitchell hit a 3-pointer to pull the Billikens within four. But Notre Dame stretched the lead as Hansbrough hit a driving basket, Abromaitis a 3-pointer and Harangody a jumper with just under two minutes remaining.
“He is a one-man scoring run and it can happen at any time,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I thought his teammates got him the ball in some key spots. We knew we had to get him some touches when it got down to four or five points. We did a good job of getting him touches.”
Hansbrough had missed all seven of his 3-pointers Friday night, and he didn’t even attempt one against the Billikens.
“I told him today just relax. Shooters in our program, I don’t ever talk to them when they have a tough night,” Brey said. “I thought he was able to drive it to get him started. He is a driver first and when he can drive, I think it gets him a better rhythm.”
Harangody was off again in the first half, missing 5 of 7 attempts. He was scoreless before hitting a jumper with 5 minutes left that ended a 6-minute Irish scoring drought. And then once he hit his first two shots in the second half, he was more comfortable.
“I had a couple of good looks in the first half. They just haven’t necessarily been going in,” Harangody said.
The teams traded first-half runs. The Irish scored nine straight when the Billikens didn’t score for five minutes. Saint Louis then ran off 10 in a row capped by Reed’s dunk.
Notre Dame took a three-point halftime lead on Carleton Scott’s dunk just before the buzzer after he took a pass from a driving Tory Jackson.