Irish Notebook

Luke Harangody began his defense of his most recent Big East Player of the Week award with 22 points and 13 rebounds in Notre Dame's 95-69 victory at Seton Hall.

Harangody made 10 of 15 shots; and he passed well when he was double teamed, adding 4 assists to a stellar performance. "He does something new just about every week," head coach Mike Brey said. "He's got a great feel for the game. Great hands. He keeps doing things where I shake my head, and I say, 'Keep going."'

Seton Hall entered the game ranked 5th in Big East three-point shooting but only 10th in overall shooting percentage. Those stats held to form as the Pirates made a respectable 8 of 22 shots (36.4%) from beyond the arc but only 25 of 71 (35.2%) overall.

Seton Hall added 14 steals to its league leading total. Full court pressure was great preparation for Marquette, but it would have been better preparation had the Irish taken better care of the ball.

The Irish lead the Big East in scoring. They average 79.9 points per conference game, a 5.4 points per game lead over second place Connecticut's 74.5. Tennessee is the only other major conference scoring leader with a similarly dominant lead, 4.6 points over #2 Florida.

The Irish had assists on 19 of 35 baskets. "We're a real unselfish group, and every time down the floor we try to get the best shot possible," McAlarney said. "We move the ball around and it really stirs teams up on the defensive end."

Notre Dame began the evening leading the Big East with its 38.1% three point shooting. 9 of 19 vs. Seton Hall, 47.4%, will maintain that lead.

The Irish blocked 6 Seton Hall shots, their best conference game total this season. Rob Kurz led with 4. It's probably too late for Kurz to catch Hasheem Thabeet for the conference lead, but he did solidify his own top 10 ranking.

Kurz made 8 of 9 free throws, but that actually hurt his free throw percentage. Kurz is shooting 94% from the line, second best in the Big East.

Tory Jackson is slowly climbing the conference's assist/turnover rankings. One or two more games like his 8 assist, 3 turnover effort vs. SHU will get him into the top 10.

Jackson's free throw percentage is also on the rise. It has been a long climb to 50% after a poor start, but tonight's 3 of 4 got him there. If Jackson can finish the season in the 60s, he will have become the reliable free throw shooter the Irish need their point guard to be.

The Irish face Marquette on Saturday seeking revenge for the Warriors' 92-66 victory in Milwaukee three weeks ago. Marquette shot 46.6% from the field that day, over 50% in the second half. MU was ranked among the Big East's best shooting teams at the time, but it has been in a team shooting slump since. MU will arrive in South Bend ranked 13th, shooting only 41% from the field.

Marquette is also vulnerable on the boards, ranked 12th with a -3.4 rebounding margin. Notre Dame's +5.4 is second in the conference.

As the Seton Hall game demonstrated, Notre Dame is susceptible to pressure defense. Marquette, fourth in steals, will apply pressure all over the court. The Irish must take care of the ball, especially early, to beat Marquette on Saturday.

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


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