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    McAlarney Leads Irish Over Furman, 93-61

    FIGHTING IRISH Kyle McAlarney scored 32 points.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Kyle McAlarney scored 32 points.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 30, 2008

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    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Kyle McAlarney scored 32 points and Ryan Ayers had a career-high 19 points to lead No. 8 Notre Dame to its school-record 39th straight home victory, beating Furman 93-61 on Sunday.

    Notre Dame (5-1), playing without Luke Harangody for the first time because he has pneumonia, got off to a slow start, as Furman (1-4) led 11-6 early. But McAlarney got the Irish going with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the half.

    McAlarney, who needed five stitches to his upper lip after getting elbowed in the second half, was 9-of-17 from 3-point range to match his second-highest scoring performance after scoring a career-high 39 points in a loss Wednesday against top-ranked North Carolina. He is the first Irish player with back-to-back 30 point games since Troy Murphy did it in 2000.

    The performance came after he started the season slowly, scoring just 10 against South Carolina-Upstate and going scoreless at Loyola Marymount. The North Carolina game was the first time he scored more than 20 points this season.

    The Irish, who have the nation's second longest home winning streak to Brigham Young's 48, broke a school record for consecutive home wins set from 1943-48 at Notre Dame Fieldhouse. The Irish, the only Big East school to go undefeated at home in consecutive seasons, last loss at home was 80-72 to Marquette on Feb. 25, 2006.

    To mark the feat, the Irish posed for a photo at midcourt immediately after the game.

    The only thing missing from the photo was Harangody, who hoped to attend the game but did not feel well enough. The Irish missed him for a while on the floor as well. The Irish didn't have much of an offensive post presence in the first half with Harangody missing. They had five baskets in the paint in the half, with guard Tory Jackson getting two of them and McAlarney another. Jackson had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Irish, who outrebounded the Paladins 45-35.

    But the Irish got going better in the second half, with Zach Hillesland scoring seven of his eight points then. He also had 12 rebounds to lead the Irish.

    Justin Dehm led Furman with 14 points, Brandon Sebirumbi added 12 points and 10 rebounds, Jordan Miller added 11 points and Bryson Barnes had 10.

    Furman trailed only 19-18 when Alex Opacic scored inside with 6:40 left in the first half. But McAlarney sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a 3 for Luke Zeller to spark a 13-0 run by the Irish. The Paladins went 0-for-6 shooting and turned the ball over twice during the run. The run capped a stretch where of seven baskets made by Notre Dame, six were 3-pointers.

    The Irish led 37-22 at halftime following a slam dunk by Ayers, then started the second half with an 8-2 run and were never threatened as Furman lost its fourth straight.

    The Irish were 14-of-35 from 3-point range, while Furman was 7-of-14.

     

     

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