Notre Dame (2-2) fell to both Baylor and Georgia Tech in the final minute. Luckily for the Irish, the team has three very home winnable contests before a must-win non-conference game vs. Kansas State at Madison Square Garden on December 4th. Notre Dame will first host Youngstown State on Saturday night. Tip-off was moved back to 7:30 PM at the Joyce Center because the football team plays at Stanford at 3:30 PM.
The Irish will look to get back on track after two crushing losses at the Paradise Jam. In the loss to Baylor, Notre Dame, at one point in the second half, held a 11-point advantage and led by seven at 59-52 with just under seven minutes to go. But the Bears came storming back and LaceDarius Dunn's three-pointer with 36 seconds to go gave Baylor the lead for good. The Bears eventually beat Winthrop for the Paradise Jam Championship.
Georgia Tech made it two comebacks in two nights for Notre Dame opponents the following evening. The Irish led 62-53 with 5:11 remaining before the Yellow Jackets came through with clutch shot after clutch shot. Georgia Tech hit 8-of-11 three-pointers in the second half, including Matt Causey's with two seconds remaining to give the Yellow Jackets a 70-69 lead. A last second shot by Kyle McAlarney was in and out as Notre Dame lost another heartbreaker.
The one huge positive out of the Virgin Islands was the play of Luke Harangody. The sophomore center notched a double-double against Georgia Tech with 22 points and 11 rebounds, a night after totaling 22 points and eight rebounds versus Baylor. Harangody leads Notre Dame in scoring at 16.8 PPG while senior forward Rob Kurz is at 15.5 PPG to give the Irish an excellent one-two punch down low.
In the backcourt, Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson have combined for 35 assists but also 21 turnovers. McAlarney is shooting just 30 percent from the field, including 6-of-20 from three-point range while Jackson's field goal rate is at 27 percent, including 1-of-12 from behind the arc. Three straight games in a row at home and nine of the next ten should help these two get back on track.
Youngstown State comes into South Bend at 2-1 with wins over Weber State and Lock Haven and a loss to No. 1 UCLA by 31 points. Byron Davis leads the Penguins in scoring at 16.3 PPG while John Barber and Vance Cooksey are tied at second with 11 PPG. Davis scored a career-high 19 points in the 40-point victory over Lock Haven. Youngstown State has outscored its three opponents by 41 points in the first half but been outscored themselves in the second half by 29. The Penguins are shooting 49 percent from the field as a team, including 42 percent from three-point range.