Notre Dame completes perfect season at homeMar 6, 2008 - 4:31 AM SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Notre Dame achieved a first in the Big East Conference.
Luke Harangody led a balanced attack with 20 points to lead the 19th-ranked Fighting Irish to a 68-55 victory over St. John's on Wednesday night.
Rob Kurz added 15 points and Kyle McAlarney 13 for Notre Dame (23-6, 13-4 Big East), which improved to 17-0 at home this season.
"It was nice to go out on a good note, to close the season out undefeated at home," McAlarney said. "We are very proud of it, and now it is not a distraction."
The Fighting Irish, who already have clinched a first-round bye in the Big East tournament, became the first conference team to post back-to-back unbeaten seasons at home.
Notre Dame, which winds up the regular season at South Florida on Saturday, extended its winning streak at the Joyce Center to 37 games.
"Now is the most fun part of the season for us. It's what we work for all year," Kurz said. "So in order to keep playing we have to be playing our best basketball."
Harangody had six points in an 8-0 run in the first half to help the Fighting Irish build a double-digit lead at 29-17 with 4:45 to play.
Maintaining a 12-point edge at halftime at 33-21, Notre Dame opened a 48-32 cushion on a three-point play by Ryan Ayers with 11:43 to play.
"I just think we didn't come in with the right mind-set," Red Storm senior guard Eugene Lawrence said. "We came out way too lackadaisical and we didn't really give ourselves a chance as a team."
St. John's (11-18, 5-12) stayed within striking range behind its long-distance shooting. A pair of 3-pointers each by Anthony Mason Jr. and freshman D.J. Kennedy had the Red Storm within 58-47 with 4 1/2 minutes to play, but they had no answers for the inside strength of Harangody and Kurz, who combined to shoot 15-of-22.
"For us to finish two years undefeated is unbelievable," Kurz said. "I can't believe it went by so fast."
Kurz is the only senior on Notre Dame's roster, and his teammates said his enthusiasm was infectious on Senior Night.
"We fed off him today," Fighting Irish guard Tory Jackson said. "It was a Rob type of game. His birthday was today, he's our only senior and this was his game."
Harangody, who had a 40-point performance in a loss at Louisville on Saturday, converted a three-point play to boost the margin to 62-47 with 3:46 to play that all but sealed the victory.
Mason hit 4-of-8 from the arc and scored 15 points for St. John's, but he finished just 5-of-16 overall from the floor.
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