Georgetown saw its 29-game home winning streak come to a crashing halt its last time out. Now, it’ll try to end an even longer streak that belongs to Notre Dame.
The nation’s longest home-court winning streak will get a severe test Monday night in South Bend, where the 13th-ranked Irish will try to make it 44 in a row at the Joyce Center against the No. 9 Hoyas.
Georgetown (10-2, 1-1 Big East) got off to a fantastic start in conference play, starting its opening-week gauntlet with a 74-63 win at second-ranked Connecticut last Monday. The Hoyas had another stiff challenge looming on Saturday with a visit from No. 3 Pittsburgh, but they hadn’t lost at home since Jan. 8, 2007.
The Panthers, however, didn’t have much of a problem snapping that 29-game run. Georgetown came into the game second in the country in opponents’ field-goal percentage (34.3), but Pitt made 47.1 percent of its shots on its way to a 70-54 win.
The Hoyas were outrebounded 48-23.
“The team is trying to stay focused and that’s the main thing,” said prized Georgetown freshman Greg Monroe. “(Connecticut) was a huge win, but we had to come here and prepare for this game. Today we just got outworked and they were a better team.”
Georgetown is 10-0 when it holds its opponent below 45.0 percent from the field and 0-2 when it doesn’t.
Hoyas coach John Thompson III wasn’t too concerned with the loss - the program’s most lopsided since losing by 19 at Connecticut on March 2, 2005.
“That’s the nature of this league … to a certain extent this year, you have to bounce back,” Thompson said. “You’re going to have to figure out what to take from it and immediately focus on what’s ahead of you.”
What’s next is the Hoyas’ first trip to South Bend since Jan. 24, 2006. That game - an 85-82 double-overtime thriller - was the first of five straight Georgetown wins over the Irish.
Notre Dame (10-3, 1-1) lost two of its next four home games after that, but hasn’t lost since. With BYU’s 53-game winning streak on its home floor ending over the weekend, the Irish - on a 43-game roll since March 4, 2006 - now own the nation’s longest string of home victories.
To extend that streak, Notre Dame will likely need more from star Luke Harangody versus Georgetown than it’s gotten in the past. The reigning Big East player of the year has averaged 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds on 28.0 percent shooting in three career games against the Hoyas.
Harangody has been outstanding so far this season - he’s tied for third in the nation with 12.5 rebounds per game and is 10th in scoring at 23.5 ppg.
Harangody had his way at St. John’s in the paint on Saturday, scoring 28 points and grabbing 14 boards, but it was the Irish’s outside game that let them down. Notre Dame entered the weekend seventh in the country from behind the arc (41.8 percent), but went 4-for-17 on Saturday in their 71-65 loss.
The Irish, who average a Big East-best 82.5 points, fell to 1-2 when they fail to score 70 points.
“They were very aware of hugging our shooters and we had to work so hard to get looks,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “Luke Harangody’s a warrior and he kept us in it and we made a couple of plays down the end to stay in it, but give them credit.”
The Irish’s top outside threat is senior Kyle McAlarney, and on Saturday, he was held in check. McAlarney, a 45.3 percent 3-point shooter, was 1-of-5 against the Red Storm.
Like Harangody, McAlarney has no success against the Hoyas of which to speak. He’s shot 22.7 percent from the floor in three games versus Georgetown, averaging 4.0 points.
The Hoyas have won their last two road games against ranked opponents after losing their previous 11.