#20/18 Notre Dame (20-9, 12-4) vs. #9/8 Georgetown (21-6, 11-5) Feb. 27, 2012 o 7:00 p.m. (ET) Verizon Center (20,600) Washington, D.C.
Sean McDonough (play-by-play)
Jay Bilas (analyst)
Bill Raftery (analyst)
Radio: Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
Live Stats: GameTracker (UND.com)
#20/18 IRISH AT #9/8 GEORGETOWN FOR BIG MONDAY SHOWDOWN
#20/18 Notre Dame (20-9, 12-4) will conclude its two-game road swing on Monday at #9/8 Georgetown (21-6, 11-5). Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET). This is the only regular-season meeting between the Irish and Hoyas this season.
The Fighting Irish had their program-record nine-game BIG EAST win streak snapped on Saturday with a 61-58 setback at St. John's. The loss also halted Notre Dame's four-game road win streak. The Irish are 5-3 on the road in BIG EAST play.
Notre Dame is third in the BIG EAST standings, while Georgetown is fourth. Both teams already have clinched a bye into the second round of the BIG EAST Championship.
The Notre Dame-Georgetown tilt can be seen on ESPN/ESPN3 with ESPN's Big Monday crew of Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Bill Raftery (analyst) calling the action.
The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 6) and their broadcast can also be heard on UND.com.
NOTRE DAME-GEORGETOWN SERIES HISTORY
Monday will be the 28th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Georgetown. The Hoyas lead the series 14-13, yet the Irish have won the last three encounters. In last season's lone meeting, the Irish topped the Hoyas, 69-55, in the BIG EAST opener inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
The Irish came away with a 78-64 victory in the last showdown with the Hoyas inside the Verizon Center (Feb. 27, 2010). Notre Dame is 5-6 all-time at Georgetown.
Notre Dame is 11-13 against Georgetown since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Head coach Mike Brey is 9-8 against the Hoyas during his Notre Dame tenure.
BREY BOASTS SUCCESS IN THE VERIZON CENTER
Notre Dame is 7-4 at the Verizon Center under head coach Mike Brey. That includes a 78-71 setback to Maryland earlier this season (Dec. 4) in the BB&T Classic. Brey's Irish squads are 4-3 versus Georgetown in the facility, 2-1 against Maryland and 1-0 versus Texas. Notre Dame won its last meeting against Georgetown in the Verizon Center, a 78-64 triumph on Feb. 27, 2010.
Monday will be a homecoming of sorts for some Irish players and coaches. Sophomore guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant hail from the Washington, D.C. area. Atkins is from Columbia, Md., while Grant is from Bowie, Md. Grant played at DeMatha High School, which is the alma mater of Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey and assistant coach Rod Balanis. Brey also served as an assistant coach at DeMatha, which is located in Hyattsville, Md., from 1982-87 under legendary head coach Morgan Wootten.
A SUCCESSFUL STREAK
Notre Dame's recent nine-game win streak was the longest BIG EAST win streak in program history and was the third longest for an Irish team under Mike Brey.
Four of Notre Dame's victories during the streak occurred on the road. The Irish also defeated three ranked teams during the streak.
JUST HOW FAR THEY'VE COME
Following its 65-58 loss at Rutgers on Jan. 16, Notre Dame stood at 11-8 overall and 3-3 in the BIG EAST. Prior to its recent nine-game win streak, Notre Dame was averaging 68.9 ppg. and allowing its opponents 64.4 ppg. Over the course of the last 10 games, the Irish are averaging 66.1 ppg, but allowing their opponents just 56.2 points. In three of those contests, Notre Dame held its opponent to under 50 points.
In the last 10 games, Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 38.4% (216-563) from the field, including 26.0% (39-150) from three-point range.
Comparing the Numbers
First 19 games
Last 10 games
BREY'S IRISH ONCE AGAIN AMONG THE BEST IN THE BIG EAST
Notre Dame's 12 league victories are the third-most in program history. The Irish won 14 BIG EAST contests in 2007-08 (14-4) and 2010-11 (14-4).
The Fighting Irish have clinched a winning record in BIG EAST play for the third straight season and for the 10th time during head coach Mike Brey's 12 seasons at Notre Dame. This marks the third straight season that the Irish have won at least 10 league games. Notre Dame has won 10 or more BIG EAST contests eight times under Brey.
IRISH POST SIXTH-STRAIGHT 20-WIN SEASON
Notre Dame has reached the 20-win plateau for the sixth straight season and for the ninth time under head coach Mike Brey (12 seasons). The last time the Irish put together six-straight 20-win seasons was from 1983-89 under head coach Digger Phelps.
Notre Dame is 4-1 in its last five road games. The recent four-game road win streak marked the first time the Irish had won that many consecutive games on the road since they captured five straight during the 2000-01 season (Mike Brey's first at Notre Dame).
BIG EAST TRENDS
Notre Dame is 30-8 (.789) over its last 38 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 23-5 (.821) mark in the last 28 league games. The Irish stood 6-8 through 14 regular-season games during the 2009-10 campaign and then won four straight to finish 10-8. Last season, Notre Dame posted a 14-4 regular-season mark in the league.
SECOND HALF SHUTDOWNS
Notre Dame used impressive second-half defensive efforts in recent wins over Villanova (Feb. 18) and West Virginia (Feb. 22).
Villanova was 5-for-21 (.238) from the field in the second half. The five made field goals matched the fewest ever for an Irish opponent in any half of a BIG EAST contest (regular season or tournament). The Wildcats scored just 21 points in the second stanza.
On Wednesday, the Irish held West Virginia to just 16 points in the second half. That is the lowest second-half total by an Irish opponent this season. The Mountaineers were 6-for-27 (.222) from the field in the period.
In BIG EAST games this season, Notre Dame has been outscored 439-432 in the first half of play, but the Irish have a 563-474 scoring advantage in the second half.
Junior forward Jack Cooley has produced a double-double in five of the last six games. He has a team-best 11 double-doubles this season (nine in BIG EAST play). He tallied 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds on Saturday at St. John's.
Cooley is averaging a double-double in BIG EAST play (14.6 ppg. and 10.4 rpg.) Over the past five games, he is averaging 19.0 ppg. and 12.3 rpg. He has scored 21 points or more three times during that six-game stretch.
BIG EAST BIG MAN
Junior forward Jack Cooley is first among all BIG EAST players in shooting percentage for all games (.628) and league games only (.629). He is 45-for-61 (.738) from the field in the last six games.
In BIG EAST play, Cooley ranks second among all league players with a 10.4 rpg. average. He is averaging a league-best 4.7 offensive rebounds per game in BIG EAST play.
He ranks fourth in the BIG EAST with a 9.3 rpg. average this season (all games). That includes 4.0 offensive boards per game, which ranks second in the league. He is averaging 1.6 blocked shots per game, which ranks fifth among all BIG EAST players.
Last Monday, Cooley was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for a team-best fifth time this season. He also was named the league's player of the week on Feb. 13.
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 99-7 in their last 106 games played at home. That .934 home winning percentage over the course of the last six seasons ranks third nationally.
The Irish are 34-1 (.971) in their last 35 home games.
IRISH ENJOY HOME COOKING IN CONFERENCE PLAY
Notre Dame has gone 46-6 (.885) at home in BIG EAST play over the last six seasons. That is the best home winning percentage for any BIG EAST school in league play over that time period.
TOPPING THE MOUNTAINEERS
Notre Dame produced a solid all-around effort in last Wednesday's 71-44 win over West Virginia.
The Irish shot 61.4% (27-44) from the field for the game. That matched a season-high percentage for Notre Dame. The Irish also shot 61.4% against Sacred Heart (December 19th).
Notre Dame shot 63.2% (12-19) from the floor in the first half. That is the highest percentage for the Irish in a first half this season.
West Virginia's 44 points were a season-low total for the Mountaineers. It also was the lowest point total ever for the Mountaineers against the Irish (39 games). The previous low was 51 from this season's 55-51 Irish win in Morgantown (Feb. 8).
Notre Dame's four-point wins at West Virginia (55-51 on Feb. 8) and Villanova in overtime (74-70 on Feb. 18) provided many dramatic moments for the Irish basketball team.
In the victory over the Mountaineers, the Irish trailed by three (45-42) with 2:50 to play in the contest, but three-pointers on three consecutive Notre Dame possessions propelled the team to victory. An Eric Atkins trey knotted the game at 45-45 with 2:34 to play. After Jerian Grant stole the ball on the Mountaineers next possession, he gave the Irish a three-point lead (48-45) on his three-point basket with 1:52 left to play. The final three-point dagger was provided by Scott Martin when his trey gave the Irish a 51-45 advantage with 58 seconds to play. Notre Dame extended the lead to eight with two Jack Cooley free throws in the final 26 seconds as the Irish outscored the Mountaineers 13-6 in the final 2:50 of the contest.
Notre Dame methodically cut into Villanova's lead to mount one of the classic comebacks in the 107-year history of the Irish program. The Irish erased a 20-point first-half deficit and a 16-point halftime deficit. The Irish trailed by 10 points with 5:45 remaining before outscoring the Wildcats 16-6 down the stretch. A three-point play by Atkins gave the Irish their first lead in the second half (57-56) with 1:43 left in regulation and the Irish extended the lead to 60-56 on a Grant three-pointer with 59.9 seconds. Villanova scored the final four points of regulation and tied the game with 0.9 seconds to play in regulation. In overtime, Notre Dame outscored Villanova 14-10 and actually was up eight (73-65) with 15.2 seconds remaining. Once again, it was three consecutive three-point daggers that lifted the Irish to victory. Pat Connaughton, who finished with 21 points on a career-high seven three-pointers, provided the first with 2:22 remaining that put the Irish up 65-62 with 2:22 to play. After a Villanova three which tied the game, Grant nailed his third three-pointer of the evening with 1:51 remaining. Connaughton's seventh and final trey gave the Irish a six-point advantage (71-65) with 45.9 seconds.
Notre Dame nearly erased a 14-point second-half deficit on Saturday at St. John's. The Fighting Irish got to within one of the Red Storm, but could never grab a lead in the contest.
GRANT HAS ALL-AROUND GAME
Sophomore guard Jerian Grant had his career-best nine-game double-figure scoring streak snapped on Saturday at St. John's as he was limited to a BIG EAST season low two points. The nine-game streak was the longest for any Irish player this season. Grant did manage to register a game-high seven assists against the Red Storm.
Grant has four 20-plus point efforts of this season (two in BIG EAST play).
Grant, who is in his first season playing with the Irish after sitting out all of last season, has team-high totals in points (369), assists (143), steals (36) and minutes played (1.032). His 48 made three-pointers also are a team-high total.
Entering last week, he ranked seventh nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - with a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. His 5.4 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST play ranks sixth in the league. He matched a career-high assist total with nine last Saturday against Villanova.
Grant is shooting a team-best 80.8% (101-125) from the free throw line this season. That mark ranks 10th among all BIG EAST players.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins is tied for the team lead (with Jerian Grant) with a 12.7 points-per-game average this season. He averaged 5.8 ppg. last season as a freshman.
Atkins has reached double-figures in points in seven of the last nine games.
He has scored 20 or more points in a game three times this season, including a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener.
He is shooting 37.4% (40-107) from three-point range this season. That places him 15th among all BIG EAST players.
Atkins dished out a BIG EAST career-high eight assists in recent wins over Rutgers (Feb. 15) and West Virginia (Feb. 22).
PAT PERFORMING FROM THE PERIMETER
Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton was 7-for-12 from three-point range in last Saturday's win at Villanova. The seven treys were the most for an Irish freshman since Chris Thomas had seven against Rutgers on Feb. 6, 2002. Connaughton's seven three-pointers also were the most for any Irish player this season.
Connaughton's 21-point performance against Villanova marked his third 20-plus point effort of the season (second in BIG EAST play).
Atkins has played 40-plus minutes 11 times this season, including eight times in league play. He ranks second in the BIG EAST in minutes played (league games only), while Grant is seventh and Martin is eighth.
In last Saturday's overtime win at Villanova, Atkins played all 45 minutes, while Martin (44), Grant (42) and Jack Cooley (42) all played over 40 minutes.
The Fighting Irish defense ranks second in the BIG EAST by surrendering just 58.6 points per game in league play.
The Irish boast the top three-point defense (25.4%) in BIG EAST play.
Notre Dame's recent nine-game win streak has produced some significant achievements for the Fighting Irish program.
The streak began with a 67-58 home win over #1 Syracuse. It was Notre Dame's 10th victory all-time against a top-ranked opponent and the first since 1987.
The Irish snapped Seton Hall's 12-game home win streak in a 55-42 victory. The Pirates had been 10-0 at home this season. Seton Hall's 42 points were the fewest Notre Dame has ever allowed against a BIG EAST opponent.
The 50-48 win at Connecticut marked the first time in program history that Notre Dame has won consecutive games at Connecticut. It also was just the second win ever at Hartford's XL Center for the Irish.
The victory over Marquette snapped its seven-game win streak and it also marked Notre Dame's first two-game win streak over the Golden Eagles since they joined the BIG EAST in 2005.
The win at West Virginia halted Notre Dame's three-game losing streak in Morgantown.
Notre Dame overcame a 20-point deficit in a 74-70 overtime win at Villanova on Feb. 18.
BEATING THE BEST
The Irish have defeated five AP top-25 teams this season. Notre Dame has topped #1 Syracuse (67-58), #11 Louisville (67-65 in 2ot), #15 Marquette (76-59), #22 Pittsburgh (72-59) and #24 Connecticut (50-48).
Notre Dame is 7-4 against teams currently in the RPI top 50.
COMING THROUGH IN CLOSE GAMES
Prior to Saturday's three-point loss at St. John's, Notre Dame had won four straight games when the final margin was five points or less. Overall, the Irish are 4-2 this season in games decided by five points or less.
In fact, dating back to the 2010-11 campaign, Notre Dame is 10-2 in its last 12 games decided by five or fewer points. Last year's squad was a perfect 6-0 in those contests.
The Irish are 2-0 in overtime games this season. In addition to the 74-70 overtime triumph at Villanova (Feb. 18), Notre Dame won at Louisville, 67-65, in double-overtime on Jan. 7. The Fighting Irish are 9-8 in overtime contests during the Mike Brey era (12 seasons). That includes a 5-1 mark in the last six overtime games.
DRAINING FROM DEEP
The Fighting Irish are averaging 6.7 made three-pointers per game this season. That places them fourth among all BIG EAST teams.
Notre Dame has made 10 or more three-pointers in a game five times this season (twice in BIG EAST play). The Irish are 5-0 in those contests.
CASHING IN FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
Notre Dame ranks third in the BIG EAST with a .717 free throw percentage (all games). The Irish were 4-for-7 from the free throw line on Saturday at St. John's. Both the make and attempt totals were season-low figures for the Irish.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
Entering last week Notre Dame ranked ninth nationally - and second among all BIG EAST teams - with a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
The Irish are only committing 10 turnovers per game. Entering last week, the Fighting Irish ranked third nationally - and first in the BIG EAST - in fewest turnovers per game.
Over the last four games, the Irish have had an assist on 68 of their 97 made field goals (.701). Notre Dame has only committed 32 turnovers combined in those four contests.
Notre Dame ranks fifth in BIG EAST play with 14.4 assists per game.
The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game 13 times this season (seven times in BIG EAST play). The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in each of the last four games. Notre Dame had a season-low four turnovers against Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). The BIG EAST low was five at West Virginia (Feb. 8).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Seven different Irish players have posted a team-high point total in a game this season.
Junior forward Jack Cooley has both led the Irish in scoring a team-best nine times this season.
Cooley has scored 20-plus points a team-best five times this season.
Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Connaughton is the 66th Notre Dame student-athlete to compete in both basketball and baseball and the first to do so since Tom Hansen during the 1973-74 academic year.
Baseball America ranks Connaughton as the 29th best freshman in the country. He is rated as the #4 Major League Baseball draft prospect in the BIG EAST according to Perfect Game, which ranks him as a 1-3 round draft pick in 2014.