Preview: DePaul

It didn't look good. After surrendering an eight-point lead with seven minutes to go against Providence on Thursday night at the Joyce Center, the Irish's Luke Harangody somehow forced the Friars Geoff McDermott into a late turnover. Harangody proceeded to drain two free throws, overtime ensued and Notre Dame won their 32nd straight at home. The chance for 33 will come on Saturday.

The Irish, alone in second place in the Big East at 5-2, will try to make it three wins in a row against DePaul. Tip-off at the Joyce Center on Saturday is at 6:00 PM and ESPN Classic has the broadcast rights. Notre Dame sits at 15-4 overall while the Blue Demons enter the game at 9-11 and 4-4 in league play. DePaul lost to Syracuse on Wednesday at home 60-55 but will try to attempt what Providence fell just short of on Thursday.

The Friars had the game in their hands. Providence led 61-59 and were in good shape after Ryan Ayers missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining. McDermott got the rebound and an Irish foul was surely to follow. McDermott tried to pass the ball to a better free throw shooter, according to Friars head coach Tim Welsh. But the pass was intercepted by Harangody, who was promptly fouled. The sophomore forward connected on both attempts from the free throw line to send the contest into overtime.

Harangody continued his fantastic play into the extra session. The sophomore forward finished with a career-high 31 points and 14 rebounds, good for his tenth double-double of the year. Welsh said his vote for Big East Player of the Year right now would go to Harangody and who could argue that point. Tory Jackson also shined down the stretch, totaling 14 points and seven assists, three of those dishes coming in the critical overtime period. The sophomore point guard, not known for his free throw shooting, nailed 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute to put the game on ice.

DePaul lost to Syracuse on Wednesday at home despite the Orange having just seven scholarship players available. The Blue Demons held a three-point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining but Syracuse went on a 10-2 run to take the lead and capture victory. Will Walker led DePaul with 14 points while Karron Clarke chipped in with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

A stat not going in the Blue Demons direction is their defense. DePaul is second to last in the Big East in scoring defense and three-point percentage defense and last in field goal percentage defense. This means on the road that the Blue Demons offense will have to be in tune to pull the upset and snap Notre Dame's 32-game home court winning streak.

Draelon Burns, a 6-4 senior, is seventh in the conference in scoring at 17.5 PPG. Burns has topped the 20-point mark nine times this year. Dar Tucker, a 6-5 freshman, adds 12 PPG while Mac Koshwal is the man down low. The 6-10 freshman chips in 11.5 PPG and pulls down eight rebounds a contest.


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