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Men’s Basketball: Harangody breaks two thousand points in ND victory

Eric Prister | Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Senior Luke Harangody’s first basket of the night gave him 2,000 career points on a night in which he led the Irish to a 80-70 victory over the Idaho State Bengals.

He is the seventh Irish player to achieve the feat, and became the first to scored 2,000 while also recording 1,000 rebounds.

“It’s one thing I never thought would happen in my career,” Harangody said. “Never once did I think about that, and last year I never thought about that really. I just wanted to come in here as a freshman and do the small things. I’m just going to concentrate on every game. I’m not worried about the numbers that I’m putting up or the records I’m breaking. I’m just worried about the next game.”

Irish coach Mike Brey agreed, saying he expected big things out of Harangody, but nothing quite this big.

“The first time he put a jersey on, I said ‘we have somebody here who can put some numbers up,'” Brey said. “I knew he’d be really good for us. I didn’t know we were going to get this, but I knew we were going to need that motor and that toughness. But it is staggering, really. I use the phrase ‘machine-like,’ and you see it on game nights — this is practice too. These are the kind of things in practice too. He only knows one way.”

After being named Big East Player of the Year after his sophomore season and averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game last year, Harangody briefly considered entering the NBA Draft before deciding to return to Notre Dame.

“He came back for all the right reasons,” Brey said. “He loves being a senior, trying to lead his team. He’s still too hard on himself sometimes. I have to get him to loosen up, but he’s come a long way in the department.”

Harangody’s 27 points and 12 rebounds led the team, and he scored from every area of the floor. He shot 12-of-17 from the field and hit both of his 3-point attempts. Brey said his scoring game has evolved from where it was freshman year, and that has been the most important improvement he made.

“He finds the hoop,” Brey said. “He’s one of those guys that finds the net. People ask me about him and I say ‘he finds the basket.’ It may not look orthodox, and it comes from all areas of the floor now — 3-point line, the short corner, underneath the backboard, the free throw line, tip in — but he finds the basket.”

After a back and forth first half that saw 12 lead changes and five ties, the Irish turned a three-point halftime lead into a 21-point margin after starting the second half on a 25-7 run, a lead that did not drop under 16 until Notre Dame’s starters were off the floor late in the game. Senior Ben Hansbrough scored 14 for the Irish, and juniors Tim Abromaitis and Carleton Scott chipped in nine and eight points, respectively.

“We were better defensively to start the second half, and I think that really helped us,” Brey said. In the first half, I didn’t have us out pressuring the ball maybe as much I as should have, so that’s on me, and they kind of got comfortable and made some shots. In the second half, we did a better job of that. I thought we were very efficient offensively, unselfish again. Scott and Abromaitis continue to give us a great lift. I’m really pleased with their development.”

Defensively the Irish were sparked by senior point guard Tory Jackson, who added two steals and a block to his eight points.