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Men’s Basketball: Irish face another Big East test

Michael Bryan | Friday, January 22, 2010

For an Irish team that has fallen back to the pack after a 3-1 start in Big East play, welcoming DePaul to Purcell Pavilion would usually sound like the perfect remedy.

Notre Dame can’t look past the Blue Demons (8-10, 1-5) this Saturday, however, after the team broke a 24-game conference losing streak with a huge upset over Marquette on Jan. 20. Interim coach Tracy Webster’s rejuvenated team defeated the Golden Eagles on a last-second fadeaway by Mike Stovall for a 51-50 win, the team’s first since Dec. 19.

Senior forward Luke Harangody said the team isn’t panicking after dropping two straight Big East games to Cincinnati and Syracuse.

“It’s early in the season still, we have a good DePaul team coming in here,” Harangody said. “You just bounce back, we’ve been through this many times before, and just get that league win.”

The Irish fell at home Monday to No. 5 Syracuse 84-71 despite strong games from Harangody and junior Tim Abromaitis. Harangody scored 31 points with 14 rebounds and Abromaitis added 26, but the Orange pulled away from a resilient Irish team in the final minutes.

Junior forward Carlton Scott said rebounding late in the game let the Orange seize the advantage.

“We definitely needed to rebound more,” Scott said. “We all took that question and said to each other, ‘We have to rebound more’. I think that is where we lost this game.”
Harangody echoed Scott’s assessment.

“They’re coming in every time and have some big guys over there, but that is no excuse. We just need to get in there every time and try to put a body on someone and for most of the night we were coming up with those,” Harangody said. “But in the end of the night, in the last seven or eight minutes, those were their balls and that’s the game right there.”

The Blue Demons will be looking for their first road win of the season Saturday after five straight losing efforts. While the team has struggled to score at times, their defense is holding opponents to just under 64 points per game.

Senior guard Will Walker leads DePaul offensively, averaging 14.9 points per game. His leadership was key in the Marquette upset, leading the Blue Demons with 18 points.

Sophomore Krys Faber has also become a force in the DePaul frontcourt since Webster has taken the coaching reigns, and the center used his 6-foot-10 frame to grab a career-high ten rebounds against the Golden Eagles.

While the Irish battle on the court, the Notre Dame community will be helping those fighting for survival at both basketball games this weekend. The University will donate full gate receipts and net concession revenue to benefit relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.

During the first half of the game, student athletes will also pass buckets through the crowd raising money for the relief effort. Money raised will be contributed to the Notre Dame Haiti Program, the Congregation of Holy Cross and Catholic Relief Services.

Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.