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Men’s Basketball: Pirates plundered

Fran Tolan | Thursday, February 7, 2008

Notre Dame came out firing in the first half and blew Seton Hall out before the halftime buzzer even sounded. The No. 22 Irish cruised to a 95-69 win and improved to 17-4 overall and 7-2 in Big East play.

“It was a great win for us,” senior forward Rob Kurz said. “We knew this would be a big game and we had to come to play.”

Each team made 6-of-12 3-pointers in the first half but the Irish hit 20-of-37 shots overall and forced 12 turnovers in the period to take a 47-27 lead into the locker room.

The Irish were sloppy at times during the second half but it didn’t matter as Luke Harangody finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead his squad to the victory.

After Irish guard Kyle McAlarney hit a 3-pointer to put Notre Dame on top 65-41, Seton Hall put together its only real rally of the game. Senior guard Brian Laing made a basket then the Pirates picked up a steal and another hoop. After a Notre Dame timeout, Seton Hall forced yet another turnover and Laing hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 67-50.

But the Irish responded with an 11-3 run to quiet the home crowd and strengthen their hold on second place in the Big East. The win was Notre Dame’s second straight on the road after it lost its first two of the conference season.

“I think we’ve really improved and learned from our mistakes,” Kurz said. “We’ve gotten a lot better since the first two games.”

The run was one of many for the Irish, who outscored Seton Hall 18-3 during one stretch in the first half. That spurt was punctuated by a McAlarney 3-pointer with 7:19 remaining in the stanza.

Kurz, Notre Dame’s captain, said the team’s ability to score in bunches is what makes it dangerous.

“We got in a flow early and really showed what we could do,” he said.

McAlarney finished with 19 points and helped the Irish shoot 45 percent from behind the arc.

Harangody finished above his season scoring average of 20.4 and also displayed a new facet of his game as he spontaneously ran the point for the Irish. After a Seton Hall missed shot early in the second half, Harangody ripped down the rebound and dribbled the ball the length of the floor before finding Ryan Ayers for a 3-pointer.

Kurz added 17 points and 10 boards in the win, Notre Dame’s eighth in its last nine games against Seton Hall.

Jeremy Hazell led the Pirates with 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting.