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Men’s Basketball: Second straight upset for ND

Bill Brink | Monday, March 1, 2010

Another game without Luke Harangody was no problem for the Irish. Ben Hansbrough made sure of that.

The senior guard scored 21 points and Notre Dame knocked off No. 11 Georgetown 78-64 on the road Saturday, its second straight win against a ranked opponent and another step in its late-season push for the NCAA Tournament.

The Irish (19-10, 8-8 Big East) followed their dominating game against No. 12 Pittsburgh Wednesday with another good offensive performance. The win moved them to eighth place in the Big East, in position — for now — to get a first-round bye in the conference tournament.

“We’ve had guys that stepped up and are playing really well together,” said Hansbrough. “Nobody really cares how many points, we’re just all trying to win together. I think that’s a rarity in college basketball.”

The Hoyas (19-8, 9-7) could not keep up with the Irish on the boards, even with Harangody still sidelined because of a bone bruise to his knee suffered on Feb. 11 against Seton Hall. Notre Dame had 26 rebounds, 10 of them offensive, compared to Georgetown’s 15 total rebounds.

“I think we were really fighting the whole night trying to get in position, not accepting block outs,” junior forward Tim Abromaitis said.

Abromaitis scored 19 points. Junior forward Carleton Scott had 17 points and nine rebounds, four of them offensive.

Georgetown junior guard Austin Freeman, who averages 17 points per game, did not start for the Hoyas because of an illness. He played, but scored only five points.

Notre Dame trailed 4-3 three minutes into the game, then took the lead for the rest of the first half. The Irish pulled ahead 11-4 and 21-14, but Jason Clark hit a 3-pointer to pull Georgetown within three with 7:23 left in the first half.

In the second half, a Hansbrough 3-pointer gave Notre Dame a 41-30 lead with 17:18 remaining, and two layups from freshman forward Jack Cooley put Notre Dame ahead by 12. Then a Georgetown 8-0 run pulled the score to 50-46 with 8:40 left.

But senior guard Tory Jackson hit a 3-pointer to widen the lead to seven, Scott followed with another and Hansbrough hit a third after Scott scrambled for a loose ball to give Notre Dame a 59-49 lead with 5:21 left.

“Looking up at the scoreboard and seeing you’re up seven instead of four, that’s huge,” Hansbrough said. “We locked up and we played on the defensive end as well.”

Hansbrough stole the ball on the next possession and was fouled as he made the layup, then sank the free throw to give Notre Dame a 13-point lead. The play capped a 12-3 Irish run.

Abromaitis was fouled taking a 3-point shot and the 88-percent free throw shooter made all three, giving Notre Dame a 65-49 lead with 4:08 to play.

“All season long we’ve known that we can compete with the best teams out there,” Abromaitis said. “It’s really big to have this confidence and try to carry this forward.”