Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody wasn’t bothered by a considerably taller defender in the Irish’s season-opening victory. The All-American forward won’t have to contend with anyone much bigger than him at Loyola Marymount on Friday.
Despite having to go against South Carolina-Upstate’s 7-foot-3 center Nick Schneiders, the 6-8 Harangody dominated with 30 points and 14 rebounds in No. 8 Notre Dame’s 94-58 rout Sunday.
It was the fourth 30-point performance and 26th double-double in 66 career games for the junior, who averaged 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds last season.
Harangody and Notre Dame coach Mike Brey used the matchup as practice for later in the season, as the Irish (1-0) will face Big East rival Connecticut and its 7-3 center Hasheem Thabeet twice.
“If he’s playing with one guy (on him), we’re going to keep throwing it in there and letting him go to work,” Brey said.
Harangody won’t have to face anyone quite as tall against Loyola Marymount (0-3), which has three players listed at 6-9 and one at 6-8.
Zach Hillesland added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Irish on Sunday, while fellow senior Luke Zeller added a career-high 18 points off the bench.
Notre Dame also tied a school record with its 38th consecutive home victory, and the 95 points were its most in a season opener since 2001.
The Irish, who led the nation in assists last season, finished with 25 - led by Tory Jackson’s eight.
“Most of the buckets I got out there were because other people created them for me, and that’s why it’s so fun to play on this team,” Harangody said.
Friday is the home opener for Lions, who suffered three losses in as many days at Iowa State’s World Vision Classic, averaging 53.7 points.
Loyola Marymount has 10 scholarship players on its roster, eight of whom are new.
Sophomore guard Vernon Teel, who transferred to Loyola Marymount from Chipola College in Florida, leads the team with 19.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 23 on Sunday in a 64-55 loss to UC Davis.
“We came out flat, playing three games in three days with a roster who has not played together,” said Lions coach Bill Bayno, who’s in his first season with the school after spending the previous two seasons as a Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach.
This will be the fifth meeting between the schools, with Notre Dame holding a 3-1 lead. The Irish took the last matchup 75-57 at home in 2000 and last played at Gersten Pavilion in 1994, winning 76-73 in overtime.