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Men’s Basketball: Irish hope to add to four-game win streak against IUPUI

Eric Prister | Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Notre Dame will look to improve on its best start since the 2006-07 season and win its fourth game in a row when they take on IUPUI tonight in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.

The Irish (8-1) are counting on senior Luke Harangody to post his 25.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, but are also hoping that junior Tim Abromaitis will continue his impressive play. After starting the season on the bench, Abromaitis recorded double-digit scoring in the first seven games before earning a start and scoring 31 points Sunday against Central Florida.

“Abromaitis was fabulous, but he’s been really good and he’s been coming on,” Irish coach Mike Brey said after the Central Florida game. “We thought it was time to get him in there and start him and have another really offensive guy on the floor because [opponents] double Harangody early sometimes, and it also made us a little bit bigger. Certainly, [Abromaitis] keeps answering every bell and we are very proud of his development.”

The Irish have played well offensively this season, averaging 80.7 points per game with three players averaging double-digits — Harangody, Abromaitis and senior Ben Hansbrough. The Irish also hold their opponents to 66.6 points per game, about 10 less points than the Cougars (7-2) average.

IUPUI has three players who average more than 15 points per game, including senior forward Robert Glenn, whose 18.3 points per game lead the team. Junior Leroy Nobles and sophomore Alex Young also score 15 points per game, and have helped the team to their 41 percent 3-point shooting percentage.

The Irish have played well in most aspects of the game so far this season, but Brey still has some concerns, particularly rebounding, since no one besides Harangody averages at least five rebounds per game, and free throw shooting.

“I’ve been a little disappointed up to this point with our free throw shooting,” Brey said. “I think we are better than being a 68 percent free throw shooting team. Hopefully today starts a trend of us bringing it up into the 70s.”

Notre Dame will take on the Cougars and then Loyola Marymount before taking on the always-dangerous UCLA on Dec. 19 in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. It will be one of Notre Dame’s first true tests before starting conference play.

Tonight’s game against IUPI tips off at 7:30 p.m.