S. Dakota-Notre Dame Preview
Notre Dame will likely be without Luke Harangody for a few more games after the reigning Big East player of the year has been diagnosed with pneumonia.
With the way Kyle McAlarney is playing, however, Harangody might hardly be missed.
McAlarney looks to continue his torrid outside shooting and help the seventh-ranked Irish extend their school-record home winning streak to 40 games when they host South Dakota on Tuesday.
Harangody, Notre Dame’s leading scorer (22.6 per game) and rebounder (11.2 per game), is out indefinitely with pneumonia. The Irish (5-1) next play Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Showcase at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, and then host Boston University on Dec. 13.
Coach Mike Brey hopes to have Harangody back against the Terriers, although he said no doctor had told him that.
“It’s early in the season,” Brey said. “There’s plenty of big games on our schedule throughout the year when he comes back.”
Harangody became ill after scoring 29 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Notre Dame’s 81-80 victory over then-No. 6 Texas last Tuesday in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.
Despite being ill, he had 13 points and seven rebounds in a 102-87 loss to top-ranked North Carolina in the championship game on Wednesday. McAlarney tried to take some of the pressure off Harangody with 10 3-pointers and a career-high 39 points against the Tar Heels.
Harangody missed his first game at Notre Dame Sunday when the Irish defeated Furman 93-61 for their school-record 39th straight home victory, breaking the record set from 1943-48 at Notre Dame Fieldhouse. Notre Dame has not lost at the Joyce Center since an 80-72 decision to Marquette on Feb. 25, 2006.
With Harangody out, McAlarney again stepped up and had another stellar performance.
McAlarney, who needed five stitches to his upper lip after getting elbowed in the second half, finished with 32 points and went 9-of-17 from 3-point range. The senior guard became the first Irish player with back-to-back 30-point games since Troy Murphy did it in 2000.
“The shots were there and I just felt real confident,” McAlarney said.
After scoring 10 in Notre Dame’s season-opening win over South Carolina-Upstate and being held without a point for the first time since his freshman year in a win over Loyola Marymount on Nov. 21, McAlarney is averaging 27.0 points in his last four games. He is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor in his last four after going 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) in his first two.
“It’s not surprising. He’s a potent guy. I think obviously his team knows his team needs a little bit more out of him now with Luke H. down,” Brey said. “How crazy is basketball? He can go scoreless against Loyola, turn around and get 39 on the best team in the country. That’s why when you try to predict college basketball and trends, you’ve got no shot at it.”
The Irish will take on a South Dakota (3-4) program in its first season in Division I. It faces a Top 10-ranked Division I opponent for the first time.
The Coyotes are coming off Saturday’s tough 77-76 loss to West Texas A&M in the championship game of the West Texas A&M tournament, as the Buffaloes won on Nick Burns’ shot at the buzzer.
Jesse Becker had a career-high 30 points on Saturday after scoring just two points on 0-for-9 shooting in the Coyotes’ 66-50 semifinal win over Panhandle State on Friday.
This will be the first meeting between these two schools.