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Men’s Basketball: Road woes trail team still

Chris Khorey | Monday, January 21, 2008

The road has not been kind to Notre Dame.

The Irish (13-4, 3-2 Big East) fell to 2-4 on the season away from the Joyce Center with an 84-65 loss to No. 6 Georgetown Saturday at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

The loss came just one week after a similarly disheartening road defeat, 92-66 at the hands of Marquette in Milwaukee. Notre Dame is 11-0 at home this season, but has yet to capture that same swagger in other venues.

Senior captain Rob Kurz said he believes the Irish have it in them to win on the road.

“We’re going to get this right,” he said. “We’ve got seven more road games.”

But first they’ll have to fix their shooting. Against the Hoyas, Notre Dame made just 33 percent of its shots from the field, including going 7-for-25 from behind the 3-point arc.

“I feel like we didn’t play that bad of a game,” sophomore point guard Tory Jackson said. “We missed a lot of open shots. The game would have been a lot closer if we had knocked down shots.”

Despite shooting poorly, the Irish kept the contest close early, taking the lead 17-16 on a three pointer by sophomore guard Jonathan Peoples with 9:50 left in the first half.

Georgetown (14-2, 4-1 Big East) took the lead back on the next possession and then scored the next 13 points to break the game open.

Notre Dame was unable to stop the Georgetown post offense. Led by 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert, who scored 13 points in the first half and finished with 21, Georgetown scored 30 points in the paint before halftime – and took a 38-25 lead into the locker room.

At halftime, Irish coach Mike Brey switched to a 2-3 zone to try to keep the ball out of the paint and away from Hibbert. The Hoyas responded by shooting from the outside – and making six of their nine 3-point attempts after the break. Notre Dame never got closer than 12 points in the second half.

In addition to Hibbert, three other Georgetown players scored in double figures. Guard DeJuan Summers put in 17, while forwards Austin Freeman and Jessie Sapp added 16 and 14 respectively.

The Hoyas shot 53 percent from the field.

The Irish were led by sophomore forward Luke Harangody, who scored 13 points but shot only 3-of-13 from the field. Harangody was held well below his season average of 18.9 points by Hibbert and the other Georgetown big men.

Guards Kyle McAlarney and Peoples also scored in double figures. Peoples’ 12 points were a career-high.

With the win, Georgetown sits alone in first place in the Big East at 4-1 in conference play. The Irish fell into a six-way tie for third at 3-2. Two teams – Cincinnati and DePaul – sit half a game back of the Hoyas in second place at 4-2.

“We’re not going to put our heads down,” Jackson said. “It’s a long season. We still have a shot at being number one in the Big East.”

The Irish will have another chance to redeem themselves on the road in their next game, Saturday against No. 21 Villanova in Philadelphia. The Wildcats are 13-3 overall this season and are one of the five teams tied with Notre Dame at 3-2 in the conference.