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Harangody leads Irish in blowout

Chris Khorey | Monday, November 20, 2006

It was the Luke Harangody show Sunday afternoon at the Joyce Center.

The freshman forward scored 18 points in 17 minutes in a 74-50 win for Notre Dame (3-1) over The Citadel (1-4).

“He’s a special young man,” Irish coach Mike Brey said of Harangody. “He has a great feel for the game and great hands.”

Harangody started the game on the bench, but sparked an Irish run when he entered with just under 16 to play in the first half. The 6-foot-8, 250 pound freshman – taller and heavier than any player on the Bulldogs roster – proceeded to score nine of Notre Dame’s next 14 points as the Irish opened up a commanding 23-5 lead.

Junior forward Rob Kurz said Harangody’s energy contributed to Notre Dame’s run.

“He’s an offensive force off the bench,” Kurz said. “He does a great job down low, getting good position and finishing.”

Harangody then headed for the bench and Notre Dame’s scoring slowed down. The Bulldogs were able to trade baskets for next few minutes. Kurz said he was frustrated with the inconsistency, whether or not it had to do with Harangody’s presence.

“Good teams have to be consistent all the time,” he said.

Harangody came back into the game with 3:47 left in the half and the Irish up 30-12. Notre Dame scored the last 10 points of the half, including five by the freshman.

At the break, Harangody had personally outscored The Citadel 16-12, though he credited that statistic to team defense rather than his own play.

“I think it had a lot to do with playing great defense,” he said. “We played amazing defense in the first half.

Not to be outdone by Harangody, fellow forwards Kurz, Luke Zeller, and Zach Hillesland combined for 22 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for the game with Hillesland adding a block.

Brey said the production inside forced the Bulldogs to abandon the zone defense they had employed heavily in their previous games against Iowa and Michigan State.

“I thought we did a really good job of getting the ball inside against their zone early,” Brey said. “In fact, we may have done a better job getting the ball inside the zone than we did against man [defense] today.”

The Irish became more lackadaisical in the second half, cruising to a 24-point victory but getting outscored 38-34 after the break.

“We’ve got to put our foot on the pedal,” senior captain Colin Falls said. “The defensive end kind of looked sloppy. It shouldn’t be hard to keep the interest up. We’re playing college basketball. We’re going to have to bring it for 40 minutes for the rest of our games.”

Part of the reason for the turnaround after halftime was an adjustment by Bulldogs coach Ed Conroy to use more full court press, which the Irish struggled against at times. Conroy also told his team to be more physical after the break. “We told our guys that when you are outsized, you have to strike the first blow,” he said.

While the strategy worked for the most part, it resulted in two intentional fouls called against the Bulldogs – one by guard Vytautas Valiulis after a steal by Irish guard Russell Carter and another during a fast break by Harangody when the Irish forward was slammed into the base off the basket by Citadel forward Demetrius Nelson.

Harangody lay on the ground for a minute after the play, but was not injured.

Eleven players saw action for the Irish Sunday, with Brey rotating nine for most of the game and inserting freshmen Joe Harden and Jonathan Peoples late in the game.

Notre Dame will next be in action Nov. 27 against Lehigh at the Joyce Center.