NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three games into the Big East season Notre Dame faced its first true test. The Irish passed.
After falling to St. John's on Saturday, Notre Dame (11-3, 2-1) rebounded Monday night with a 73-67 win at the Joyce Center over Georgetown (10-3, 1-2), which is ranked ninth in the latest AP Poll and 10th in the Coaches' Poll.
"Big East basketball," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said after the game. "How you recover from losses in this league, whoever does that best will probably get the NCAA Tournament bids and be in position to get the byes for New York City. I thought we did that."
"I had a great time tonight," said Harangody. "This is what Big East basketball is about, playing with the guys on this team. This is why we're in the weight room at 6 in the morning, working out, running. We had a great time out there tonight."
Harangody was able to get his numbers despite playing the majority of the game in foul trouble and used a variety of shots to get his 31.
"What he's added to his game is getting out on the floor a little bit, handling the ball for us, driving it, shooting the 15-footer," Brey said of Harangody. "Our guys know playing inside-out off of him is what we're all about."
Both the Notre Dame and Georgetown offenses struggled a bit early as Harangody and Summers picked up two fouls apiece in the first half.
Henry Sims gave Georgetown a 15-11 lead when he slammed home Chris Wright's errant layup, but McAlarney drilled a three-pointer on the next trip for the Irish. After a Jason Clark bucket pushed the Hoya lead to 17-14, Zeller drained a three to tie it with 10:30 left in the half.
Notre Dame took the lead on its next possession when Jackson dribbled past Zeller and the entire Georgetown defense for an uncontested layup.
Harangody and Summers both returned with just over nine minutes to go in the half and Summers converted a quick three-point play that put the Hoyas back on top, 20-19.
Omar Wattad's three-pointer gave the Hoyas a 23-21 lead after a Harangody hook shot, but McAlarney nailed a deep three-pointer to get the Joyce Center on its feet and give the Irish a 24-23 advantage. Georgetown never led again.
The McAlarney three was the start of a 14-2 run by Notre Dame that featured nine points from Harangody. Harangody capped the spurt with a nifty reverse layup for a three-point play after a sweet pass from Tory Jackson, who finished with seven assists.
Harangody scored the final 13 points of the half for Notre Dame as the Irish took a 39-28 lead into intermission.
Harangody finished the half with 19 points and six rebounds while McAlareny's three threes gave him nine. Jackson (6 points) and Luke Zeller (5) were the only other Notre Dame players to score in the first half.
Monroe led the Hoyas with eight points while Summers was held to just three.
The Irish outrebounded Georgetown 20-16 in the first half. The Hoyas top rebounder was the ‘Team' with four boards in the first half.
The Hoyas came out with seven quick points to start the second half after a Jessie Sapp three-pointer and a pair of layups by Monroe.
After seeing their lead cut to four, the Irish settled in and took a 44-36 advantage after a three-pointer by Ryan Ayers, but Harangody was whistled for his fourth foul with 15:17 to play. Brey was forced to sit the reigning Big East Player of the Year, but not for long.
Brey brought Harangody back just three minutes later, right after Summers picked up his fourth on an offensive foul. The gamble paid off as the Irish scored four quick hoops to help the Irish increase their lead to 55-46 with 8:14 left to play.
After a pair of Georgetown free throws, McAlarney knocked down a three-pointer to give Notre Dame a 58-48 lead. The trifecta was McAlarney's first since there was 7:26 left in the first half, but he drilled another one on Notre Dame's next trip as the Irish took a 13-point lead with just under seven minutes to go.
Four Hoya free throws cut the lead to nine before Harangody and Summers scored four points apiece to make the score 67-58 with under two minutes to play.
Consecutive layups by Monroe cut the lead to five, 67-62, with a minute left, but the Irish converted six of seven free throws to hang on for the win.