SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)—Notre Dame coach Mike Brey wasn’t asked about the play of Luke Harangody until his postgame news conference was almost over.
“I hope our people appreciate what they’re seeing with this guy. He’s the best player in college basketball and to do what he does in a machinelike way every day, every night is really staggering,” he said. “Sometimes even I go, ‘Yeah, 29 and 15. He did it again.”’
Harangody had 29 points and 15 rebounds to help No. 23 Notre Dame beat Kennesaw State 80-62 in the Chicago Invitational Challenge on Tuesday night. He had a double-double in the first half with 16 points and 11 rebounds and picked up his 1,000th career rebound in the second half, becoming just the fifth Irish player to pass that mark.
“It’s a big deal. Just need to keep adding to it,” Harangody said.
The Irish (5-0), have scored at least 80 points in each game in getting off to their best start since going 7-0 to open the 2001-02 season.
It took Notre Dame a while to pull away especially after making just 8 of 15 free throws in the first half, finishing 20 of 33 for the game. Kennesaw State (2-2) was 5 of 8.
“They went in the double bonus early, then every time we touched them, they got a chance to get two points,” Kennesaw State coach Tony Ingle said. “I wish every time they touched us we had a chance to get two points. But we were in that situation, I think, because of being outrebounded.”
Notre Dame outrebounded the Owls 28-12 in the second half and 53-31 overall. Carleton Scott added a career-high 11 rebounds and Tim Abromaitis had 14 points.
Kurtis Woods, who scored 18 points, scored on a fastbreak basket as the Owls cut the lead to 45-39. But an 8-0 run by the Irish pushed the lead back up to 53-39 when Abromaitis hit a 3 with 10:16 left. The Owls never got closer than 10.
Markeith Cummings added 12 points for the Owls and Matt Haramb had 10 points.