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ND hangs on to win in L.A.

Greg Arbogast | Monday, November 24, 2008

It’s probably a good thing No. 8 Notre Dame had a warm-up test before the Maui Invitational. Playing on stiff legs after their flight to Los Angeles was delayed for seven hours by bad weather, the Irish did just enough to beat Loyola Marymount 65-54 in the Lions home opener Friday.

Loyola used streaky shooting to keep the game close all night, and when Corey Counts hit his second straight three pointer with seven minutes remaining, Notre Dame’s lead was down to three points.

After that, the Irish combo of Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson made sure it wouldn’t get any closer. The two players combined for 12 of Notre Dame’s final 15 points helping Notre Dame pull away in the final minutes.

Harangody recorded his standard double-double and then some, finishing with 27 points and 17 rebounds on the evening. Jackson chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

“Those two guys were men when we needed men,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “We were fortunate to win the game. When you play on the road, you’re happy to get it. I never thought it was going to be easy here. You knew you were going to have game pressure.”

Loyola Marymount managed to keep the game close living behind the three-point line all night. Although the Lions only shot 33 percent for the game, they shot 44 percent from behind the three-point line. The Irish, meanwhile, shot unusually poorly from behind the arc making only 27 percent of their attempts. Kyle McAlarney missed all four of his attempts on the evening.

With the win, Notre Dame handed Loyola Marymount their 30th consecutive loss to a ranked opponent. The Lions last victory over a top-25 team came in 1990 when they defeated No.23 Alabama in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Irish now head to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational where they will take on Indiana in the first round. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m.