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Men’s Basketball: Slamming home a point

Michael Bryan | Friday, February 5, 2010

The Irish avenged a last-second road loss to Cincinnati earlier in the season at Purcell Pavilion Thursday, trouncing the Bearcats 83-65.

Senior forward Luke Harangody was dominant under the basket, scoring a season-high 37 points and gathering 14 rebounds while junior forward
Tim Abromaitis added 22 points.

The game stopped a miserable stretch that had seen the Irish (16-7, 5-5) lose four of their past five games, culminating in a defeat at Rutgers, who had been winless in Big East play.

Notre Dame started hot offensively, quickly opening up a 15-6 lead in the first six minutes. Abromaitis scored nine of the team’s first 11 points, as Notre Dame was able to run the floor and split the Bearcats’ (14-8, 5-5) defense for three early momentum-building dunks.

“I tried to come out aggressive, I was able to drive a couple of times and get to the foul line,” Abromaitis said. “Ben [Hansbrough] was able to penetrate and find me for a couple of easy buckets.”

The effort was also there early on the defensive end, as the Irish caused Cincinnati to make only three of its first 13 shots.

Harangody said Irish coach Mike Brey challenged the team to be tougher this week in practice.

“I think this week in practice we kind of got after each other, we’ve been a little soft, especially on the road,” Harangody said. “Now we’ve got another home game coming up, but we’ve got to be tough and get to work.”

The pace slowed down considerably for Notre Dame, as the team failed to find a rhythm from the perimeter, making just one of its first seven attempts. After the Bearcats capitalized on the cold shooting to pull within three, Abromaitis and Harangody keyed an 11-3 run to give the Irish a 28-17 lead.

Notre Dame maintained the lead until the half, entering the break with a 40-27 edge. Harangody had a double-double 15 minutes into the game, and ended the half with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

After halftime, the Bearcats gained a little momentum with two consecutive 3s, but the Irish responded with a steady diet of Harangody and Abromaitis, complemented by a few Hansbrough shots from distance.

Harangody said the difference between this effort and their earlier game, a 60-58 loss to the Bearcats, came down to rebounding.

“I think it was about getting on the backboard, we won those battles tonight,” Harangody said. “They kind of pushed us around down at Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, so we felt like they thought they could come in here and do it again, and we said ‘No, this is our place.'”

Hansbourgh had an impressive all-around game, flirting with a triple-double by filling up the box score with 12 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Notre Dame slowly began to pull away from Cincinnati as the second half wore on, and took a 15-point lead after a three-point play and dunk by Harangody. Another three-point play by Abromaitis gave the Irish a 66-48 lead with less than eight minutes to play and left little doubt about the final outcome.

Senior point guard Tory Jackson scored just one point but dished out eight assists, and forward Tyrone Nash tallied four points and six rebounds.

Irish football coach Brian Kelly was also in attendance to watch the battle between the Irish and his former school.
Notre Dame will be back in action Sunday, facing conference opponent South Florida at noon.