SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis is excited to be contributing after two seasons of mostly watching from the bench.
Abromaitis, a 6-foot-8 junior, scored a career-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3 of 6 from three-point range, to help lead the Fighting Irish to a 95-72 victory over Saint Francis of Pennsylvania on Monday night.
“I'm just more comfortable out there, knowing that I belong and knowing that other guys believe in me,” he said. “It's helped me a lot out there.”
Abromaitis played 40 minutes as a freshman, scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, then sat out his sophomore year. In two games this season, he has 30 points and nine rebounds in 48 minutes.
“Love where he's coming. Got to keep getting him confident. He's had two really good nights,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I like that he's scoring. He's getting better as a defender. We're a little bigger with him, and he can get up on the backboard a little bit, too.”
Luke Harangody led the Irish with 27 points and nine rebounds, and Ben Hansbrough added 18 points. The Irish (2-0) shot 56 percent, but still had trouble putting away the pesky Red Flash (1-1). Saint Francis, picked by coaches to finish last in the Northeast Conference, shot 48 percent and was 13 of 19 from three-point range.
“That's one of those nights where if you can't score it, you're beat, because they really got into a rhythm and were shooting the heck out of the ball,” Brey said. “Some were some defensive breakdowns, but some were some really tough shots.”
The Irish used a 14-0 run early to take a double-digit lead, but the inexperienced Red Flash quickly cut the lead to five. Five minutes into the second half Harangody made a three-pointer to give the Irish a 60-45 advantage.
Umar Shannon scored 18 points for the Red Flash, Devin Sweetney had 16, Cedric Latimer added 12 points before fouling out midway through the second half and Anthony Ervin had 10.
“I thought we played hard for 40 minutes. We executed, we did some things, but we could not come up with stops,” Saint Francis coach Don Friday said.