Notre Dame, IN (UHND) – The streak continues at 36 straight at home for the Irish thanks in large part to a historic three point outburst from junior guard Kyle McAlarney. KMac connected on a Notre Dame record 9 of 11 three point attempts and paced the Irish with a game high 30 points in Notre Dame’s 94-87 win over Syracuse on Sunday.
McAlanrey had a hot hand from the start of the game by connecting on his first three attempts from long range including a four point play in the games first few minutes. He wouldn’t cool off for the rest of the game and came up just one three pointer short of tying the record for most three pointers ever made in the Joyce Center set by Providence’s Donta Wade in 2000. His nine triples were still enough to break the Notre Dame record held by Keith Friel, Matt Carroll, and Collin Falls.
McAlarney was not the only one with a hot hand from beyond the arch though. As a team, the Irish connected on 56% of their three point tries (14 of 25) led by McAlarney’s 9. Rob Kurz added two on four attempts, Ryan Ayers one on six attempts, and both Jonathan Peoples and Tory Jackson connected on their only attempts from down town.
Notre Dame’s hot shooting from the outside helped make up for some poor rebounding, leaky defense, and uncharacteristically subpar free throw shooting. Syracuse out rebounded the Irish 21 to 4 on the offensive glass and 47 to 32 overall, but failed to capitalize on several close range attempts that could have drastically affected the outcome of this game.
The Irish were also unusually cold from the free throw line connecting on just 66.7% attempts after coming into the game sporting a team average of 74.3%. Most notably, Luke Harangody converted just 2 of 5 attempts despite being a 78% free throw shooter on the year.
Despite his struggles from the line, Harangody turned in his 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and a game high 14 rebounds. Notre Dame’s sophomore center now has 11 double-doubles in 14 Big East games.
The Irish also benefited from an all around nice performance from Zach Hillesland who added 6 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. Hillesland was also a perfect 3 for 3 from the field. Ironically, despite the well rounded performance, Hillesland was the only Irish starter not in double figures. On top of McAlarney’s 30 and Harangody’s 14, Rob Kurz added 15 and Tory Jackson added 10.
The Notre Dame bench did its part in extending the home winning streak to 36 as well. Ryan Ayers only hit 1 of 6 three point attempts, but he still scored 10 points, grabbed 6 boards, dished out 4 assists, and collected 2 steals. Jonathan Peoples added 7 points and Luke Zeller chipped in two giving the Irish bench a 19-13 scoring advantage over Syracuse’s reserves.
With Memphis’s loss last night to Tennessee, Notre Dame’s 36 straight home wins now ranks second in the nation behind BYU and with just one home game left this season against St. John’s, it’s very likely that this streak will continue into the 2008-2009 season.
Next up for the Irish will be a road contest with a Louisville team that escaped a home scare from Pitt on Sunday and sits atop the Big East standings in a tie with Georgetown and Notre Dame. Thursday’s road test at Louisville could very well be the last challenge the Irish face before the Big East Tournament. Notre Dame