Georgetown’s five-game win streak over Notre Dame ended last season thanks to a big performance from Luke Harangody. The task this year should be easier with Harangody out.
The Fighting Irish expect to be without their leading scorer for the fourth straight game when they travel to face the No. 11 Hoyas on Saturday.
Georgetown (19-7, 9-6 Big East) fell 73-67 in South Bend last season as Harangody had 31 points and 11 rebounds. He made a bigger impact on the game than Hoyas star Greg Monroe, who had 21 and 10 but missed 4 of 7 at the line.
Harangody has missed the last three games with a bone bruise to his right knee suffered in a 90-87 loss at Seton Hall on Feb. 11. The senior was unable to make it through practice earlier in the week, and likely won’t return.
“I’m doubtful that he’ll play Saturday,” coach Mike Brey said.
Harangody’s absence should give Monroe more room to operate inside after the Hoyas center had 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in Tuesday’s 70-60 victory at Louisville. The win, though, was keyed by Austin Freeman, who scored 24 of his 29 points after halftime to rally the Hoyas from a six-point deficit at the break.
“He’s one of those guys who can go into an aggressive mode, yet he’s not going to make too many mistakes, he’s not going to make too many bad decisions,” said coach John Thompson III about Freeman.
Freeman was a non-factor last season against Notre Dame (18-10, 7-8) with five points. He’s clearly a different player now, averaging career-high 17.5 points and shooting a Big East-leading 54.4 percent from the field.
“Freeman right now is playing as well as anybody, you know you can’t let him go off,” Brey said.
Brey has gotten a strong season from Tim Abromaitis, who is second in the conference to Freeman in field-goal percentage at 53.2 percent. Abromaitis is averaging 23.3 points on 60.5 percent shooting the last three games with Harangody out.
The Fighting Irish ended their three-game slide with Wednesday’s 68-53 home victory over No. 12 Pittsburgh. Abromaitis scored 17 points to lead four players in double figures for Notre Dame, which made 10 of 18 3-pointers and is shooting a Big East-leading 41.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Notre Dame has lost its last three games against Georgetown at the Verizon Center, where it is 8-4 all-time.
“I just would like to see us do what we did here there,” Brey said. “This group has battled really hard, we finally won one battling. Now can you do it against a real good team in a tough atmosphere?”
The Hoyas are in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference, and trail No. 8 West Virginia and Pittsburgh by one game. The top four teams gain a double-bye into the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
“We don’t take a look at the big picture,” Thompson insisted. “We just want to win the next game.”