Thursday, February 07, 2008

Seton Hall No Match for Notre Dame: Irish plunder Pirates 95-69

Celebrating their first appearance this season in the national polls, the Irish defeated host Seton Hall by 26, suddenly showing they are a force on the road now as well. After scoring 29 to secure Notre Dame's 33rd straight home victory in their tight Saturday battle vs. DePaul, newly named Big East player of the week, Luke Harangody, came back with another all-around effort yesterday, not only notching 22 points for the 22nd ranked Irish, but amassing 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals to boot. Meanwhile, New York native, Kyle McAlarney, who always plays well in his home state, must have decided New Jersey was close enough, not only to purchase the usual 300 tickets for his New York entourage, but to play with his usual "Big Apple" abandon, scoring 19 on sizzling 7-for-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from the three-point arc. But beyond the big two, what made this game a rout for the 17-4 Irish, was the strong contributions from the "quiet Irish," especially the 17 point, 10 rebound night from steady Irish senior Rob Kurz.

Despite Notre Dame's past road woes, this game was never close, as the Irish pulled away early, accumulating a 47-27 halftime lead. The Pirates (and the ESPN announcers) tried to make it exciting when a full-court pressure, 9-0 Hall run narrowed the gap to 17 with eleven minutes left. However, a 7-0 counter-run by Notre Dame not only ended the evening's drama, but kept the Irish in second place in the Big East with a league record of 7-2.

Notre Dame hosts the 16th ranked Marquette team Saturday seeking both their record 34th straight home victory and revenge for their worst loss of the season, suffered at the hands of the Golden Eagles last month. But that was then and this is now. With their super-sized sophomore (according to Coach Mike Brey), "doing something new every week, to where [after yesterday's lofty hook shots] I just shake my head and say, 'keep going,'" the once average Irish are now hoping to ride the hot hand of "Cool Hand Luke" Harangody into March Madness and their first Final Four appearance since Fighting Irish Thomas was the sports editor for the Notre Dame Scholastic.

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