Even the highest-scoring performance by a Notre Dame player in more than 14 years wasn’t enough for the Irish their last time out.
Luke Harangody and No. 17 Notre Dame (21-6, 11-4 Big East) look to bounce back Sunday when they visit slumping DePaul.
Harangody scored 40 points Thursday at No. 13 Louisville, but the Irish lost 90-85, snapping a three-game winning streak.
“If we got the win, that’s all I wanted,” the sophomore and frontrunner for Big East player of the year said. “It was a huge opportunity. That’s all we were looking for. I’m sad we didn’t come out of here with a win.”
Harangody was 16-of-28 from the field and made the first three 3-pointers of his college career. He also had 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots to almost singlehandedly rally Notre Dame from a 19-point deficit, but after his final 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining brought the Irish within five, they couldn’t get any closer.
The Irish allowed the Cardinals to start the game on a 22-9 run and never fully recovered.
“It’s hard to absorb that kind of start,” coach Mike Brey said. “We were on our heels a little.”
Harangody’s 40 points were the most by an Irish player since Monty Williams scored 42 against Valparaiso on Nov. 28, 1993, and the first 40-point game for the Irish in a Big East game.
Th burly forward, also the current Big East player of the week, is averaging 21.0 points and 10.6 rebounds.
“He is a warrior. I don’t know what else you can say about the kid. He brings it every night,” Brey said. “I am very proud of the confidence he plays like that in this atmosphere. You know, that is pretty good.”
Harangody had 29 points and 14 rebounds in Notre Dame’s 89-80 win over DePaul (10-17, 5-10) on Feb. 2 in South Bend—the Irish’s third win in the last four meetings between the teams.
A win in this game would be a huge step for the Irish in securing one of the four byes into the quarterfinals for the Big East tournament. They are currently in fourth, a half-game behind No. 15 Connecticut.
The Blue Demons have lost four straight and eight of nine, including an 85-73 loss on Wednesday against West Virginia. Draelon Burns scored 31 points as DePaul nearly rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit, but never put itself in position to tie the game in the second half.
Burns, who leads the team in scoring with came off the bench Wednesday after having shot just 35.3 percent (42-of-119) from the field in the previous eight games. Burns—the team’s leading scorer at 17.7 points per game—was 9-of-16 from the field on Wednesday and hit seven 3-pointers.
DePaul, currently clinging to the 12th and final spot for the Big East tournament in the 16-team league, has shot only 39.8 percent its last six games.
Notre Dame has won six of the last eight meetings against DePaul, and the home team has won the last five in the rivalry.