Notre Dame got a chance to measure itself against the best team in the country in the championship game of the Maui Invitational and Luke Harangody got an opportunity to see where stacks up against the nation's best player.
The Irish found out that they are a bit short on both counts, at least for now.
No. 8 Notre Dame (4-1) fell to top-ranked North Carolina (6-0) 102-87 on Wednesday night. Reigning National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough led the Tar Heels with 34 points, while Harangody was held to just 13. Harangody was not feeling well at all on Wednesday and even received an IV earlier in the day.
Kyle McAlarney led all scorers with a career-high 39 points and set a school-record with 10 three-pointers. McAlarney tried to single-handedly bring the Irish back late in the second half with a barrage of deep balls but Notre Dame was unable to come up with any key defensive stops.
Notre Dame came out prepared to play but it did not seem like the Irish were ready to hang with North Carolina for the full 40 minutes. Notre Dame blew out Indiana in the opening round game of the Maui Invitational, but needed to play every last second to beat Texas 81-80 in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the Tar Heels rolled to victories over Chaminade and Oregon, so despite the fact that both teams played three games in three days, North Carolina appeared to have much more in the tank than the Irish.
Notre Dame's offense struggled for stretches during the game and whenever it did get going the Tar Heels always had a response.
Tory Jackson played awesome in Notre Dame's first four games, but struggled to keep up with Carolina point guard Ty Lawson. Lawson had 22 points and 11 assists to earn MVP honors while Jackson had just 10 points and a couple of assists.
The Irish hung with the Tar Heels early, leading 17-15 five minutes in, but the Heels started running and Notre Dame had trouble keeping up.
North Carolina went on a 25-9 run over eleven minutes to take a 40-26 lead before taking a 46-36 advantage into the locker room.
Hansbrough led all scorers at halftime while McAlarney had 13 before the half. Harangody went into the locker room with eight points.
Ryan Ayers knocked down a three-pointer early in the second half to make the score 48-39, but North Carolina quickly pushed the game back to double-figures. The Tar Heels controlled much of the second half, leading by as many as 21 points, but back-to-back deep threes from McAlarney cut the lead to 11, 84-73 with five minutes to play.
McAlarney kept firing away and ended up drilling four more deep threes, but the game was already over with as the Irish could never make any of the stops they needed.
The Irish and the Tar Heels swept Maui honors with McAlarney and Harangody joining Lawson, Hansbrough and Danny Green on the all-tournament team.