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Notre Dame Looks To Snap Three-Game Losing Streak
Notre Dame (12-6, 3-4) will look to end its first three-game conference losing streak since the 2005-06 campaign when the Irish play host to Marquette (17-2, 6-0) in the only regular-season meeting between the two schools this season.
Notre Dame is coming off a 69-61 loss to Connecticut on Saturday night which ended the nation's longest and school record 45-game home win streak. The Irish had not lost at the Joyce Center since suffering an 80-72 setback to Marquette on Feb. 25, 2006. It also ended Notre Dame's 20-game home court win streak against BIG EAST foes. The Irish are tied with Pittsburgh the the longest consecutive home court win streak in conference history.
Notre Dame is playing its fourth straight ranked opponent and seventh ranked foe overall in 2008-09. The Irish are in the midst of stretch in which they face five straight ranked opponents. Tonight's contest against Marquette will mark the third straight top-10 foe for the Irish. No Notre Dame team has ever faced five straight ranked opponents and three top-10 opponents during the regular season.
The last time Notre Dame entertained two top-10 teams at the Joyce Center in consecutive outings was during the 2003-04 campaign when the Irish lost to No. 4/4 Pittsburgh (66-58) on Feb. 7, 2004 and then defeated No. 5/5 Connecticut (80-74) on Feb. 9, 2004.
Notre Dame's last win at the Joyce Center over a team ranked in the top 10 was when the Irish defeated No. 4/5 Alabama 99-85 on Dec. 7, 2006.
Tonight's contest will be the 112th meeting between the Irish and Eagles. Notre Dame leads the overall series 77-34, but Marquette has a 4-2 advantage in the six games they have played as BIG EAST foes.
Marquette is 7-15 all-time at the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame is in the midst of playing its fourth straight ranked opponent and in a stretch in which it will face five consectuive ranked foes. No Irish team has ever faced five consecutive ranked opponents during the regular season. The 1977-78 Irish squad played five straight ranked foes during the `78 NCAA tournament.
For the eighth time in 10 semesters, the Irish earned a team grade point average of 3.00 and above as Notre Dame finished with a 3.151 GPA following the 2008 fall semester.
Following the `08 fall semester, Notre Dame's cumulative GPA was a 3.093 which marked the ninth consecutive semester that the team had a cumulative 3.00 and above.
Zach Hillesland, a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business, earned 3.917 for the fall semester and has a 3.532 GPA overall. Luke Zeller, who also is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and majors in management entrepreneurship, had a 3.833 GPA in the fall and owns a 3.514 overall grade index following seven semesters. Tim Abromaitis is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and had a 3.688 grade point average in the fall.
Notre Dame won the BIG EAST Team Academic Award in 2007-08 with a team grade point average of 3.097 during the school year.
The Streak Ends
Prior to its loss to Connecticut on Saturday night, Notre Dame had owned the nation's longest home court win streak -- 45 game -- with its victory over Seton Hall on Jan. 10. That win also tied the BIG EAST mark for the most consecutive victories (20) at home -- a record that the Irish share with Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame's 93-61 victory on Nov. 30 against Furman marked the 39th straight home victory at the Joyce Center as the Irish eclipsed the all-time school record -- a 60-year old mark -- of 38 consecutive wins at the old Notre Dame Fieldhouse set from 1943-48.
All In The Family
In Notre Dame's win over DePaul on Dec. 31, all five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season and the first time since March 13, 2008 when the Irish lost to Marquette in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship. Luke Harangody led the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds, while Zach Hillesland finished with a career-high 17 points. Ryan Ayers added 14 points and Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson netted 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Luke Harangody's 24 points and 15 rebounds against Syracuse marked his 11th straight 20-plus point outing and eighth straight double-double (12th overall this season) since returning to the Irish lineup against Ohio State on Dec. 6 after missing the Furman and South Dakota contests because of pneumonia. It's the first time in his career that he has scored 20-plus points in 11 consecutive games and the first time with eight consecutive double-doubles.
The last player with better than eight consecutive games with 20-plus points was Adrian Dantley. He scored 20-plus points in nine consecutive games during the 1975-76 campaign. His longest streak of 20-plus games was 11 straight that spanned the final four games of his sophomore season in 1974-75 and the first seven games of his junior campaign in `75-'76. He also had a string of 10 games with 20-plus points in `74-'75.
Notre Dame's all-time leading scorer, Austin Carr, had 58 straight games with 20-plus points (every single game his last two seasons in 1969-70 and 1970-71) and finished his career with 20-plus points in 70 of 74 career outings.
Since returning to the lineup from his two-game absence, Harangody has averaged 25.7 points (283 points) and 13.9 rebounds (153) in 11 contests.
McAlarney Becomes 49th 1,000-Point Scorer
In Notre Dame's win over Savannah State on Dec. 20, senior Kyle McAlarney became the 49th player in the 104-year history of the program to score 1,000 points. He has scored 1,112 points in 92 career outings for an 12.1 average. McAlarney is averaging a career-best 17.1 points this season.
Points A Plenty
Notre Dame is averaging 80.1 points per game this season and has topped the 80-point mark in all but five contests and scored 90-plus points in four games.
The Irish's 102-point outburst against South Dakota marked the 10th time during Mike Brey's tenure that Notre Dame topped the 100-point plateau.
Notre Dame's 61 points against Connecticut marked its lowest output of the season and matched the lowest during the 45-game home court win streak. The Irish scored 61 points in a 61-58 win over West Virginia on Jan. 9, 2007.
In The Polls
Notre Dame is ranked 19th in both the Associated Press and 13th ESPN/USA Today rankings this week. The Irish began the year ranked ninth and climbed to as high as seventh in both rankings on two separate occasions during the month of December. That marked the highest ranking for Notre Dame since the 2002-03 campaign when the Irish climbed to fifth in the AP poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today ranking in the second week of January 2003.
Harangody, McAlarney On Naismith Watch List
Senior Kyle McAlarney and junior Luke Harangody are among 11 BIG EAST players named to the 50-player Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List. The other conference players named to the team were: Jeff Adrien (Connecticut), DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh), Earl Clark (Louisville), Dominic James (Marquette), Jerel McNeal (Marquette), A.J. Price (Connecticut), Scottie Reynolds (Villanova), Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut) and Sam Young (Pittsburgh).
The 45-Game Joyce Center Win Streak
Notre Dame ran its Joyce Center home court win streak to 45 games (then the longest in the nation and longest in the 40-plus year history of the Joyce Center) following its win over Seton Hall on Jan. 10. Prior to the losss to Connecticut, the Irish had recorded back-to-back undefeated campaigns at the Joyce Center during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaign. Notre Dame is the the only school in BIG EAST history to finish undefeated at home in consecutive seasons. The previous all-time home win streak was 38 and was set at the Notre Dame Fieldhouse and began with a 41-31 win over Wisconsin on December 11, 1943 and ended with a 68-51 loss to St. Louis on February 9, 1948.
Irish Set Records With Three-Point Barrage
With its 19 three-pointers against South Dakota (Dec. 2), Notre Dame set the school and Joyce Center records for three-point field goals in a game. The single-game record previously was 17 set against St. John's in Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2006.
The 19 treys also were the most by the Irish or an opposing team at the Joyce Center. Previously, the most ever for a Notre Dame team at the Joyce Center was 16 versus Loyola (Ill.) on Nov. 20, 2000. The most three-pointers by an opponent at the Joyce Center is held by Villanova as they connected on 16 on Jan. 7, 1999.
Notre Dame is averaging 9.3 three-pointers per game this season and is shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the three-point stripe (168-414).
The Irish have made 55 more three-pointers (168-116) and are averaging 2.9 more three-pointers than their opponents.
After making just 11 three-pointers in their first two games, the Irish have made 157 and averaged 9.8 per game over the last 16 outings.
Series Record Vs. Marquette
Tonight's matchup with the Golden Eagles is the 112th meeting between the two schools with Notre Dame leading the all-time series 77-34.
The Irish have played the Golden Eagles more than any other opponent in the 104-history of its program.
Notre Dame is 2-4 against the Golden Eagles as BIG EAST foes.
Luke Harangody ranks fifth in scoring (24.8) and second in rebounding (13.1). He is the only player in the country to rank in the top five in both categories.
Kyle McAlarney stands third in three-point field goals made (4.3) and is fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.475).
As a team, Notre Dame ranks second in turnovers (9.8), 14th in scoring offense (80.1), fourth in assists (18.2) and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.406).
Rare 30-30 Outings
Kyle McAlarney became the first Irish player since Troy Murphy in 2000 to record back-to-back 30-point outings. McAlarney's 32-point outing against Furman (Nov. 30) came just four days after he scored a career-high 39 points against North Carolina (Nov. 26).
Luke Harangody recorded back-to-back 30-point outings in Notre Dame's wins over Georgetown (Jan. 5) and Seton Hall (Jan. 10) as he finished with 31 and 30, respectively.
Prior to McAlarney's back-to-back 30-point outings, the last Notre Dame player to score 30-plus in consecutive games was Troy Murphy when he netted 31 at the Joyce Center versus Loyola Marymount (1-2-00) and 33 against Connecticut (1-5-00) at the Hartford Civic Center.
The last Notre Dame player to score 30-plus points in three consecutive outings was Adrian Dantley (inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2008) as he scored 30-plus points in six straight games in 1976 -- 34 vs. Pittsburgh (1-13-76), 33 vs. Ball State (1-14-76), 35 vs. Xavier (1-17-76), 30 vs. St. Joseph's (1-21-76), 30 vs. UCLA (1-24-76) and 31 vs. DePaul (1-28-76).
Big Win Against Hoosiers
Notre Dame's 88-50 win over Indiana in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational marked the largest margin of victory ever for an Irish team in the 68 meetings between the two schools. It also marked the second straight win for Notre Dame against the Hoosiers. The two teams had not played each other since a 55-45 victory in Bloomington, Ind., on Dec. 8, 2004.
Thirty Something Guys
Ryan Ayers became the third different Irish player to score 30-plus points in a game this season when he registered a career-high 35-point performance in the win over South Dakota. It also marked the first 30-plus point game of his career. Ayers' nine three-pointers tied the Joyce Center single-game three-point record by an Irish player (he now shares with Kyle McAlarney).
Luke Harangody topped the 30-point mark for the fourth time in his career in the season opener against USC Upstate as he scored 30 points. He registered his second 30-plus point outing of the season with his 31-point effort against Georgetown and then netted his sixth career 30-plus point outing last Saturday with a 30-point performance against Seton Hall.
Kyle McAlarney recorded back-to-back 30-plus point outings when he scored 39 against North Carolina and followed that up with a 32-point effort versus Furman. He has five 30-point performances during his career.
The last time Notre Dame had three different 30-point scorers in the same season was in 1991-92:
Elmer Bennett: 32 pts. vs. DePaul (1-29-92), 38 pts. vs. Detroit (2-4-92) and 39 pts. vs. Virginia in overtime of NIT final (4-1-92)
LaPhonso Ellis: 31 pts. vs. North Carolina (1-11-92) and 30 pts. vs. St. John's (2-29-92)
Daimon Sweet: 30 pts. vs. North Carolina (1-11-92)
Irish Earn Runner-Up Finish In Maui
Notre Dame finished second at the EA Sports Maui Invitational in its second-ever appearance in the tournament. The Irish advanced to the championship game against top-ranked North Carolina by virtue of its wins over Indiana (88-50) and sixth-ranked Texas (81-80). Notre Dame lost to the Tar Heels 102-87 in the title game.
In the win over Indiana, five Irish players recorded double figures with Tory Jackson matching his career-high as he finished with 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Kyle McAlarney canned six three-pointers as he netted 18 points, while Luke Harangody finished with 14 points, five rebounds and a career-high five steals. Ryan Ayers netted double figures for the first time this season and Luke Zeller posted his first career double-double as he tallied 10 points and grabbed a personal best 11 boards.
In the first game of the 2008-09 college basketball season matching two top-10 teams, the eighth-ranked Irish prevailed by one point over the sixth-ranked Longhorns. Luke Harangody led led all scorers and rebounders with 29 points and 13 rebounds as one of three players in double figures as he recorded his third double-double. Kyle McAlarney finished with 19 points and he nailed five three-pointers while playing all 40 mintues of the contest. Tory Jackson turned in another key effort as he tallied 16 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished off seven assists and made three steals.
Kyle McAlarney made a school record 10 three pointers (eclipsing the record he set last season against Syracuse in February 2008) en route to a career-high 39-point performance against the Tar Heels as the Irish fell in the championship game. McAlarney, who played 39 minutes in the contest, also finished with six assists. Luke Harangody finished with 13 points and seven boards in the loss, while Tory Jackson notched double figures for the fourth consecutive game as he added 10 points.
More Maui Tidbits
Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney were named to the all-tournament team at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, joining North Carolina's Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson. Lawson was the tournament's most valuable player.
Kyle McAlarney averaged 25.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists as he shot 51.0 percent from the field (25-49) and 55.3 percent (21-38) from three-point range.
Luke Harangody ended the tournament averaging 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, while Tory Jackson averaged 15.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals.
Notre Dame earned its best-ever finish in its second-ever appearance in the Maui Invitational. In its only other appearance in 1993, the Irish were 1-2.
After scoring just 10 points in the season opener against USC Upstate and being held scoreless for just the fourth time in his career in Notre Dame's win against Loyola Marymount, Kyle McAlarney has averaged 18.7 points per game (289 points) in the last 16 outings. He has shot 99-228 (.434) from the field and 77-162 (.475) from three-point range.
McAlarney set a Notre Dame school record against North Carolina with his 10 three-pointers and then followed that up with nine treys versus Furman. Both were the most three-pointers made by an opposing player in a single game.
McAlarney had three 30-point outings last season and now totals five for his career.
Tory Jackson's 21 points against Indiana matched the junior guard's career high and was the third time in his career that he scored 20-plus points in a game. Both of Jackson's other two 20-point efforts occurred during his freshman season (2006-07 campaign) when he scored 21 points versus Marquette and 20 against Georgetown in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
Jackson has scored in double figures in 11 of 18 games this season.
Ryan Ayers notched his seventh double-figure outing of the season when he scored 14 points in Notre Dame's win over DePaul. He had back-to-back career-high scoring efforts in Notre Dame's wins over Furman and South Dakota.
He recorded a then-career-high 19 points against Furman as he connected on 8-13 field goals and was 3-6 from the three-point stripe.
Ayers followed that up with a 35-point effort against South Dakota as he was 12-20 from the field and 9-14 from three-point range.
Ayers has scored in double figures in eight games this season and his four-game double-figure scoring streak that was snapped against St. John's was the longest of his career.
Double The Pleasure
Luke Zeller's 10 points and 11 rebounds against Indiana was the first career double-double for the Irish senior. The 11 boards also marked a personal high and the second time this season that he achieved a personal best. In the season opener against USC Upstate, he finished with a career-high 18 points.
Luke Harangody enters tonight's game against Marquette riding a 47-game double-figure scoring streak.
Two Top-10 Wins
Notre Dame's win over #6 Texas in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational was the first for the Irish over a top-1o foe since Dec. 7, 2006 when the Irish beat #4/5 Alabama at the Joyce Center (99-85). The second came on Jan. 5 in the win over #9/10 Georgetown. Notre Dame is 11-14 versus top-10 foes under Mike Brey.
The 95 points scored in the 95-58 victory over USC Upstate were the most scored by an Irish team in a season opener since the 2001-02 when Notre Dame defeated New Hampshire 99-53 on Nov. 16, 2001.
Zach Hillesland scored a career-high 17 points against DePaul on Dec. 31 and grabbed six rebounds. He shot 8-11 from the field in netting double figures for the third time this season and 15th time in his career. Hillesland, who battled plantar fasciitis during the preseason and missed the first exhibition game against Briar Cliff, started the game against USC Upstate and scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds while also dishing off four assists in 21 minutes. Hillesland was 4-6 from the field and 5-7 from the line. It marked the 13th time in his career in which he scored in double figures.
Hillesland had his second double-figure scoring effort of the season against Boston University as he finished with 11 points in the win over the Terriers.
Luke Zeller had a career outing against USC Upstate in the season opener as he came off the bench in 19 minutes of action to score a personal best 18 points as he connected on 6-7 shots from the the field and was 4-6 from the three-point stripe. In addition to the 18 points, he grabbed five rebounds. Just one day prior to Luke's performance, his brother Tyler scored 18 points as a starter for the North Carolina Tar Heels in his collegiate debut.
After leading the nation in assists a year ago (18.4 per game), Notre Dame dished off 25 assists in the season opener against USC Upstate. Last season, the Irish dished off 20-plus assists in 12 games, including a season-high 28 in the season opener against Long Island. Notre Dame has dished off 20-plus assists in seven games this season, including a season-high 28 in the win over South Dakota. The Irish are averaging 18.3 assists per game this season and own a 1.87 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Taking Care Of The Basketball
Notre Dame ranks second nationally with just 9.8 turnovers per game. The Irish had a season-low four assists against Delaware State which matched the fewest for a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey.
It's All In The Experience
Notre Dame's regular starting lineup of Zach Hillesland (95 games played/38 starts), Luke Harangody (81 games played/65 starts), Ryan Ayers (99 games played/36 starts), Tory Jackson (83 games played/71 starts) and Kyle McAlarney (92 games played/73 starts) boasts a combined 283 starts in the 448 games the five have combined to play in during their careers. Luke Zeller has started 27 games in the 110 that he has appeared in during his three-plus seasons with the Irish.
Top 10 Debut
Notre Dame was ranked ninth in ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released on October 30. It was the highest preseason ranking ever for the Irish in the preseason coaches' poll. The Irish also were ranked ninth in the Preseason Associated Press Poll. It marked the fifth time in program history that Notre Dame has debuted in the top-10 of the AP poll.
The Irish have not begun a season ranked in the top 10 of the AP rankings since 1980-81 when they were 10th. Notre Dame's highest-ever AP preseason mark was third in 1978-79. The Irish were ranked fourth in 1977-78 and fifth in 1979-80. The last time Notre Dame was ranked in the preseason AP poll was in 2004-05 when the Irish were 20th.
Leader Of The Pack
Notre Dame led the nation in assists during the 2007-08 campaign. In 33 games, Notre Dame dished out 608 assists (the third-highest single-season total in school history) for an 18.4 average per game.
Nine Straight Postseason Appearances
Notre Dame's appearance in last year's NCAA tournament field marked the fifth NCAA berth for the Irish in seven years. Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments -- the longest postseason stretch in school history.
Five 20-Win Seasons Under His Belt
With its 25-8 record last season, Notre Dame reached the 20-win mark for the fifth time in eight seasons and second consecutive year under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame's 20-win campaigns under Brey have been in 2000-01 (20-10), 2001-02 (22-11), 2002-03 (24-10) and 24-8 (2006-07). In the 103-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 32 occasions.
BIG EAST Turnaround
During head coach Mike Brey's tenure, Notre Dame has had only one losing season. That season was in 2005-06 when the Irish finished 6-10 after beginning the BIG EAST campaign with a 1-8 record. Since that 1-8 start, Notre Dame has gone 33-15 (.688) over the last 48 regular-season games.
Notre Dame's 17-0 record at home in 2007-08 marked just the fourth time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that an Irish team finished undefeated at home during the regular season. In 2006-07, the Irish were 18-0, which marked the most wins ever for a Notre Dame team in a single season. In addition to this year's team and the 2006-07 squad, only two other Notre Dame squads ever completed a season undefeated at home -- the 1973-74 and 1985-86 squads both finished their campaigns with identical 15-0 records. The Irish have been the only BIG EAST team to finish undefeated at home each of the last two seasons.
The Irish All-Time
The 2008-09 campaign marks the 104th season of basketball and the 14th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted a 1642-899 record for a .646 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, the Irish own a 118-107 (.524) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Always In It
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame's 35 losses have been by a combined 283 points for an average of 8.1 points per game. In the 92 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey's eight-plus seasons, only 26 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 673 points for an average of 7.3 points per game. Notre Dame's 26-point loss (92-66) to Marquette on January 12, 2008 was the largest ever for an Irish team under Brey.
Now That's Something To Talk About
Notre Dame has won 45 of its last 46 home games. Here's a look at the dominance of the Irish over the course of the last 46 contests at the Joyce Center:
3,858 (83.7 ppg.)
2,989 (65.0 ppg.)
Margin of Victory
+869 points (+18.9)
Notre Dame has shot .500 or better in 18 of 46 games
Notre Dame opponents have shot .500 or better in 4 of 46 games
31 wins by 10-plus points
18 wins by 20-plus points
13 wins by 30-plus points
5 wins by 40-plus points
1 win by 50-plus points
BIG EAST Win Streak
Notre Dame's 20-game BIG EAST homecourt win streak (Notre Dame's longest since the Irish joined the conference in 1995-96) matched the longest in conference history.
20 - Notre Dame (1 game in 2005-06, 8 games in 2006-07, 9 games in 2007-08 and two games in 2008-09)
20 - Pittsburgh (6 games in 2003-04, 8 games in 2002-03 and 6 games in 2001-02)
BIG EAST Formula For Success
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led the Irish to an 83-54 (.606) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 3-8 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 86-62 (.581) against league foes. In Brey's first season, the Irish posted their first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the league's West Division title with an 11-5 mark. Prior to Brey's arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record after joining the league in 1995-96.
321 And Counting
Heading into tonight's game against Marquette, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 321 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game. The 2005-06 Irish squad set the single-season record with 288 three-pointers and fell just one field goal short of that mark (287) in 2006-07.