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Men’s Basketball: Eight day layoff to end next Monday against Lehigh

Chris Khorey | Tuesday, November 21, 2006

After a 74-50 win over The Citadel Sunday, Notre Dame will have eight days off before taking on Lehigh Monday at the Joyce Center.

The Irish left the Thanksgiving weekend part of their schedule open in order to accommodate the semifinals and finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden, which they would have reached with two wins last week in the opening rounds of the tournament in Indianapolis. Notre Dame (3-1) lost to Butler on Nov. 13, however, and will not head to New York.

After taking on the Mountain Hawks Monday, the Irish will play Winston-Salem State at home two days later. Then the schedule gets tougher.

Notre Dame will travel to Washington D.C. on Dec. 3 to take on Maryland at the Verizon Center, home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards. Four days later, the Irish will play their first big home game of the year against Alabama at the Joyce Center Dec. 7.

“I’m getting ready for the big games coming up after Thanksgiving break,” freshman forward Luke Harangody said. “It should be a good challenge for us.”

Harangody scored 18 points in 17 minutes off the bench Sunday. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he would consider starting the freshman in future games, but that he also sees advantages to bringing the 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward off the bench.

“That’s something I’m going to think about, since he’s so productive, but also, when I bring him off the bench at 14 minutes, he’s got fresh legs and usually the other team doesn’t have a fresh big guy, so I have to consider that too,” Brey said.

Brey said the team’s other three forwards – junior Rob Kurz and sophomores Luke Zeller and Zach Hillesland – would not be bothered if he rearranged the lineup in upcoming games.

“The four big guys are all unselfish because they know they’re going to play,” Brey said.

The Citadel used a full court press effectively in the second half of Saturday’s game, throwing off Notre Dame’s rhythm enough to outscore the Irish 38-34 after the break. Brey said he will use the tape of the press to improve the squad’s ability to get down court against it efficiently.

“I was glad they did that,” Brey said. “We’re going to see that coming up. We did some good things against it and we did some not good things against it.”

Kurz said the second half problems against the Bulldogs were due primarily to a lack of motivation after leading 40-12 at halftime rather than a strategy issue against the press.

“We got a little disinterested in the second half,” he said. “That will not be good enough in upcoming games.”

The Lehigh and Winston-Salem State games will both begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Joyce Center.