Irish Silence Road Doubts

There was one big question heading into Saturday's contest between Notre Dame and Villanova: can the Irish be competitive on the road? Notre Dame was blown out away from the Joyce Center in their first two true road contests by Marquette and Georgetown. Both were quality opponents but the Irish weren't in the game in the second halves of the contests. On Saturday, Notre Dame turned the corner.

Kyle McAlarney poured in 30 points and Luke Harangody added 25 points and 10 rebounds to spearhead the Irish's 90-80 victory over No. 18 Villanova. At the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Notre Dame quieted the road questions for an afternoon by shooting 51 percent from the field and getting to the free throw line 38 times, connecting 27 times from the charity stripe. The Irish improve to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big East while the Wildcats dropped to 13-5 and 3-4 in league action.

McAlarney was the main offensive force on Saturday. The junior was on fire and when McAlarney is hot, Notre Dame is a tough team to beat. McAlarney connected on 10-of-15 shots from the field, including five made three-pointers. After the Irish held a 39-29 halftime lead, the junior didn't stop the onslaught. McAlarney hit a three-pointer on the Notre Dame's first offensive possession to increase the advantage to 42-31. Another three-pointer from McAlarney in the second half gave the Irish their biggest lead of the game at 68-51.

Saturday was also a big day for Harangody and that should come as no surprise for Irish fans. The big sophomore forward has been one of the Big East's best players so far in conference action. Harangody proved too much for the Villanova defense. The sophomore forward notched his ninth double-double of the year and rebounded for a 3-of-13 performance last weekend against Georgetown. Harangody put the nail in the coffin late with a dunk after Villanova had closed to 84-78 with a minute remaining.

Tory Jackson had a solid performance. After committing seven turnovers last weekend versus Georgetown, the sophomore came back with nine points and seven assists to just two turnovers. Jackson also held Villanova's best player, Scottie Reynolds, to 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field. Ryan Ayers, coming off the bench for the first time this season, totaled 10 points and five rebounds while Rob Kurz contributed 12 points. The Irish will look to carry this momentum on Thursday. Notre Dame will host Providence at 7 PM and look to continue the home court winning streak at the Joyce Center.

***The Notre Dame Sports Information Department contributed to this report. Top Stories