SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)—Luke Harangody didn’t let an off night slow him down.
Despite shooting a season-low 36 percent from the field, Harangody finished with 23 points on 13-of-14 shooting from the free throw line and added 13 rebounds to lead No. 8 Notre Dame to an 81-49 victory over Savannah State on Monday night.
“It was just one of those nights where you’re not making it from the field and that’s going to happen,” Harangody said. “You just have to keep shooting, which I did, and I kept getting to the line.”
Harangody’s shooting was off from the start as he missed from underneath on Notre Dame’s first two shots of the game. Harangody started the half 1-of-9 from the field, but was 8-of-9 from the free throw line and made his final two shots to finish the half with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s 7-foot guys or 6-5 bouncy athletes, he seems to beat everyone to the ball off the rim,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
The Fighting Irish (9-2) led 37-21 at halftime despite shooting 34 percent, their second worst shooting half this season. Brey thought Savannah State’s defense gave the Irish trouble until the Tigers (7-5) tired.
“They flew at every shot,” Brey said.
The Irish rebounded in the second half, shooting 14-of-21, as they pulled away most of the game.
“When the margin starts stretching, our guys take what we call mental breaks,” Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax said.
Broadnax was called for a technical in the first half because he was unhappy with the officiating, with the Tigers being called for 10 fouls to just one for the Irish.
“We were fouling and I guess we were playing a little too aggressive for the referees,” he said.
The Irish made were 23-of-28 from the free throw line for the game, while the Tigers were 8-of-8.
Broadnax said that Tracy Rankins broke his nose and Arnold Louis needed several stitches over an eye.
Tory Jackson and Ryan Ayers added 10 points each for the Irish, who shot 67 percent in the second half.
Chris Linton led the Tigers with 14 points.
The Irish dominated inside against the smaller Tigers, outscoring them 34-18 in the paint. Notre Dame also had a 44-21 rebounding advantage.
“We thought we go could out there and expose them with their height,” Harangody said.
Kyle McAlarney finished with eight points to become the 49th Notre Dame player to score 1,000 points during his career.
The Irish appeared a bit lethargic in the game, and Brey said he thinks the Irish may have been looking ahead a bit to some time off for Christmas.
“It’s human nature,” he said.
But Brey said he knows the Irish will be focused when they begin Big East play at DePaul on New Year’s Eve.
“Everybody had better have their seat belts on because this is going to be an unbelievable ride,” Brey said of the conference that has seven teams ranked in the Top 25.