By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Luke Harangody had 29 points and 13 rebounds and No. 8 Notre Dame hung on to beat No. 6 Texas 81-80 on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
Harangody, the Big East player of the year last season as a sophomore, was his usual force inside in a game that saw both teams combine for 49 3-point attempts. Notre Dame won that battle as well, hitting 11 from beyond the arc while the Longhorns made eight.
It wasn't all great for Harangody, however, as he missed two free throws with 3.5 seconds left and the Fighting Irish leading 81-80. A.J. Abrams, Texas' top 3-point shooter, got off a shot from just before halfcourt but it bounced off the rim.
This was the first matchup of Top Ten teams this season and there will be another Wednesday night as the Fighting Irish (4-0) advanced to the championship game against the winner of the semifinal between No. 1 North Carolina and Oregon. The loser of that game will play the Longhorns (3-1) for third place.
Kyle McAlarney had five 3s and 19 points for Notre Dame, while Tory Jackson added 16 points and seven assists.
Abrams had 23 points and Justin Mason had 16 points and seven assists for the Longhorns, while Damion James added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Both teams came in having opened the season with impressive defense but neither had played a team as good as the other one they saw in the semifinals.
Notre Dame came in allowing 54 points per game and Texas was even better at 46.3. Those numbers were almost gone by halftime as the Fighting Irish took a 43-40 lead.
Notre Dame took the lead for good at 47-45 on a drive by Harangody with 17:29 left but the Longhorns were always within striking distance, closing within 75-71 on a basket by Varez Ward with 1:40 left. Harangody made four free throws to make it an eight-point lead but the Longhorns got back within four twice in the final 32 seconds on 3s by Abrams and then made it 81-80 with 4.3 seconds left on a 3 by Justin Mason.
McAlarney, Notre Dame's 3-point specialist, made five of his first six and that opened things up inside for Harangody.
Abrams, who was 9-for-18 from 3s coming in, had a tough go from beyond the arc, missing eight of his first 10 from there, although he did make the big shots down the stretch and finished 5-of-17.
But the 3-pointer of the game belonged to Harangody, who was 1-for-3 from beyond the arc coming in. There was a scramble for the ball far from the basket and the shot clock was winding down. Harangody grabbed the ball and let fly from 40 feet with the ball banking in as the buzzer sounded to give Notre Dame a 66-60 lead with 7:47 to go.
Notre Dame beat Indiana 88-50 in the opening round while Texas advanced with a 68-50 win over Saint Joseph's.
This was second meeting between these schools at this tournament as Texas beat Notre Dame 89-72 for fifth place in 1993.