Notre Dame, IN – Notre Dame opened its Big East conference schedule with an upset of 9th ranked Georgetown on Wednesday. Lead by senior Tim Abromaitis, the 15th ranked Irish led throughout the contest en route to a 69-55 victory at the Purcell Pavilion.
Abromaitis paced the Irish with 20 points including a 5 for 7 night from behind the arc. Tyrone Nash chipped in with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Ben Hansbrough added 17 points of his own.
Nash was especially effective in the second half after some early foul trouble. “After I got a few fouls early in the first half I thought it was important to get back into the flow of the game early in the second half. I have to stay aggressive and play my game,” Nash said after the game.
While Abromaitis was white hot from three point range, the Hoyas, one of the nation’s better three point shooting teams, struggled mightily hitting just 4 of 22 three’s on the night.
Limiting Georgetown’s effectiveness from outside was a focal point of Notre Dame’s strategy coming in. “I think the biggest key for us was containing their three point shooters,” Abromaitis said after the game. “We know that they are a great shooting team, and they have proven that all year. So coming into the game tonight we really wanted to get out on them, really hug them around the perimeter and not allow them to have any easy looks that jumpstart their offense,” he added.
On top of strong three point shooting, the Irish used a huge disparity in free throws to build their lead. Notre Dame hit 22 of 27 free throws. Georgetown meanwhile attempted just 9, connecting on 5 from the charity stripe.
Despite their struggles from three point range and their lack of free throw attempts, the Hoyas used a 9-0 run in the second half to cut the lead down to 7. Abromaitis and Hansbrough hit back to back three pointers to push the lead back to 13 and the Irish didn’t look back.
Georgetown made one final push when Austin Freeman scored four points on back to back possessions with a layup and two free throws to cut the lead to 9 with 3:24 to play. Abromaitis converted a three point play to push the lead back to 12 and Georgetown never seriously threatened again.
Abromaitis’s 21 point effort was his fourth straight 20+ point outing improving his team leading points per game average to 16.4
The win improved the Irish to 12-1 on the season with two more contests against top 10 teams in the next week. Notre Dame travels to upstate New York to face #5 Syracuse on New Year’s Day before hosting #4 Uconn on January 4.
Should the Irish be able to pull off another upset Friday, Notre Dame could find itself in the top 10 when the new rankings come out next week. The Irish were last in the top 10 two years, reaching as high as 7th. That same season, Notre Dame faced a similar gauntlet of top 10 matchups with four straight games against top 10 teams and 5 in a row against top 20 opponents. Notre Dame went 0-5 in that stretch.