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    Fighting Irish Host Saint Francis (Pa.) On Saturday

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior point guard Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 6.0 assists per game.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Junior point guard Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 6.0 assists per game.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 23, 2012

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    SAINT FRANCIS (Pa.) (0-4) vs. NOTRE DAME (4-1)

    November 24, 2012 • 1 p.m. (ET)
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
    Notre Dame, Ind.

    TV/INTERNET: ESPN3
    Mike Couzens (play-by-play)
    Sean Kearney (analyst)

    RADIO:
    Broadcast on UND.com (free)
    Sirius/XM Catholic Channel 129 Jack Nolan

    FIGHTING IRISH HOST SAINT FRANCIS (Pa.) ON SATURDAY

    • Notre Dame (4-1) will play host to Saint Francis (Pa.) (0-4) at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
    • This will be the 12th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Saint Francis. The Fighting Irish have won the 11 previous meetings, which all have occurred at Notre Dame. The last showdown was a 95-72 Irish triumph on Nov. 16, 2009.
    • Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey is 1-0 all-time against the Red Flash.
    • Saturday's game can be seen on ESPN3. Mike Couzens will handle play-by-play duties, while Sean Kearney will serve as the analyst.
    • Jack Nolan will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 2). The broadcast is available on the Sirius/XM Catholic Channel (129) and can also be heard for free on UND.com.
    NOTRE DAME AGAINST THE NEC
    • Notre Dame is 26-0 all-time against teams currently in the Northeast Conference (NEC). Saint Francis is the second NEC opponent on Notre Dame's 2012-13 slate. The Irish defeated Monmouth, 84-57, on Nov. 12.
    NOVEMBERS TO REMEMBER
    • Notre Dame is 43-0 at home in the month of November under head coach Mike Brey. As a program, the Fighting Irish have won 46 straight home contests in November. Notre Dame's last home loss in November was a 76-65 setback to Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 13, 1998.
    PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
    • The Fighting Irish are 103-7 in their last 110 games played at home. That .936 home winning percentage over the course of the last six-plus seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .964 mark.
    • The Irish are 38-1 (.974) in their last 39 home games. Notre Dame has a current nine-game home win streak.
    • Notre Dame has won 21 straight non-conference home games and the Irish are 62-1 in their last 63 non-league home contests. Notre Dame's last non-conference home loss was an 87-85 setback to Loyola Marymount on Dec. 12, 2009.
    DEPENDABLE DEFENSE
    • Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 37.3% (113-303) from the floor this season. That includes a 25.4% (18-71) mark from three-point range.
    • The Fighting Irish held George Washington to just 26.5% (9-34) from the field in the first half. That was the lowest shooting percentage for an Irish opponent in any half this season. The Colonials shot just 32.8% (22-67) for the entire game.
    • George Washington's 48 points were the fewest for a Notre Dame opponent since West Virginia scored 44 in a 71-44 Irish victory on Feb. 22, 2012. It marked the second time this season that Notre Dame held an opponent under 50 points (Evansville 49).
    SHERMAN SHINES
    • During his two seasons at Michigan State, center Garrick Sherman had one double-digit scoring effort and he already has notched two this season. He tallied a career-high 22 points against Monmouth (Nov. 12) and registered a game-high 18 points on Wednesday against George Washington.
    • He also hauled down a career-best nine rebounds versus Monmouth.
    • Sherman's previous career-high for points were 10 against Washington on Nov. 24, 2010, during his sophomore season at Michigan State. His previous high for boards were eight versus Eastern Michigan on Nov. 12, 2010.
    • Sherman is the only Notre Dame player to score 20-plus points in a game this season.
    • The center has been an efficient scorer as he is shooting a team-best 65.6% (21-32) from the field (minimum 20 attempts).
    COOLEY COMING TO PLAY
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley is averaging team-best totals in points (15.2) and rebounds (11.0). He has a team-high three double-doubles this season.
    • Cooley averaged 16.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the two championship-round games (Saint Joseph's & BYU) of the CVC Classic. He was named to the CVC Classic All-Tournament Team. Cooley also was selected to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
    ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
    • Junior point guard Eric Atkins is averaging a team-best 6.0 assists per game. Atkins dished out a career-high 10 assists in last Friday's game against Saint Joseph's. He became the first Notre Dame player to record 10 assists in a game since Ben Hansbrough on Feb. 28, 2011 (vs. Villanova).
    • Atkins also tallied 12 points in the Saint Joseph's contest to record the first double-double of his career.
    • He produced an all-around effort in Wednesday's win over George Washington with six points, nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
    • Atkins is shooting a team-best 46.2% (6-13) from three-point range (minimum 10 attempts).
    BUSY STRETCH
    • The Irish are in the middle of a stretch that has them playing eight games in 20 days. Notre Dame has nine contests, including one exhibition, on its docket for the month of November before playing just five games in December.
    • Saturday's contest versus Saint Francis is the second of four home games in a nine-day stretch. The Irish will face Chicago State on Monday and #8/7 Kentucky Thursday. Following the Kentucky game, the Irish will not play again until Dec. 8 versus Brown.
    KEY RUNS SEAL WIN AGAINST THE COUGARS
    • Notre Dame trailed BYU 47-40 with 14:45 left to play in last Saturday's contest before going on an 18-4 run to claim a 58-51 with 8:48 showing on the clock.
    • After BYU climbed back to within two points (63-61) with 4:27 remaining, the Fighting Irish outscored the Cougars 15-7 the rest of the way.
    • Notre Dame was 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the final 1:32 of the game.
    GRANT FINDING HIS GROOVE
    • Junior guard Jerian Grant currently has a team-best three-game double-figure scoring streak. He is second on the team with an 11.6 points-per-game average this season. Grant is averaging 14.0 ppg. in the last three games.
    • Grant helped the Irish overturn a 32-31 halftime deficit by scoring 17 of his 19 points in the second half of last Saturday's 78-68 win over BYU. Grant was 5-for-7 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the second period. He played all 20 minutes in the half and also notched four assists and three steals.
    • As a team, Notre Dame was 14-for-22 (63.6%) from the field in the second half against BYU.
    A VETERAN PRESENCE
    • The quintet of Eric Atkins (Jr./G), Pat Connaughton (So./G-F), Jack Cooley (Sr./F), Jerian Grant (Jr./G) and Scott Martin (GS/G) has started the last 20 games for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has gone 15-5 in those contests.
    • The Irish returned 2,003 of their 2,257 total points (88.7%) and 1,068 of their 1,144 rebounds (93.4%) from one season ago. The team also brought back 88.7% of its minutes played from last season.
    BREY SIGNS HERALDED QUARTET IN NOVEMBER EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
    • Irish head coach Mike Brey signed four players - V.J. Beachem (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven), Demetrius Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Austin Torres (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Steve Vasturia (Medford, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep) - to national letters of intent during the November 2012 early signing period.
    • The class is ranked 10th by Scout.com and 11th by Rivals.com.
    • Beachem (6-6, 180-pound small forward) and is ranked 64th by Scout.com and 85th by Rivals.com. He averaged 19.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 2011-12. An all-state selection he played on the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Junior All-Star Team.
    • Jackson (6-1, 179-pound point guard) is ranked 26th overall by Scout.com and 30th by Rivals.com. As a junior, he averaged 22.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals while leading Marian to the Class 3A sectional title. An honorable mention All-American by MaxPreps.com, he is an all-state honoree and two-time Northern Indiana Conference Player of the Year.
    • Torres (6-6, 200-pound power forward) was an all-Northern Indiana Conference honorable mention selection after averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds. He plays on the same MBA Select AAU Team as Jackson.
    • Vasturia (6-5, 190-pound shooting guard) is ranked 90th overall by Scout.com. He was named MVP of the Philadelphia Catholic League after leading his team to the Philadelphia 4A state championship while averaging 21.0 points and 9.3 rebounds.
    COOLEY ON WOODEN AWARD PRESEASON TOP 50 LIST
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
    108 YEARS AND GOING STRONG
    • The 2012-13 campaign marks the 108th season of basketball at Notre Dame and the 18th season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame teams have posted an all-time record of 1727-940 for a .648 winning percentage. In 17 seasons as a member of the BIG EAST, the Irish own a 160-130 (.552) record in conference regular-season play.
    FIGHTING IRISH PICKED THIRD IN BIG EAST PREASEASON COACHES' POLL
    • Notre Dame was picked to finish third in the BIG EAST's Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Irish received one first-place vote. Defending BIG EAST tournament champion and 2012 NCAA Final Four participant, Louisville, was the choice to win this year's regular-season crown as the Cardinals garnered 14 votes (coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team). Louisville finished the '11-'12 campaign with a final 31-6 record. Syracuse was tabbed for second place as the Orange are coming off a program-best 34-3 season.
    COOLEY AND GRANT GARNER PRESEASON BIG EAST ACCOLADES
    • Senior forward Jack Cooley earned a spot on the preseason all-BIG EAST first team. Cooley was a second team all-conference selection as a junior after averaging 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in league play.
    • Junior guard Jerian Grant was named to the league's preseason honorable mention team. Grant averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 assists per game in BIG EAST play last season en route to being named to the conference's all-rookie team.
    IRISH CAPTAINS
    • Scott Martin (GS/G), Jack Cooley (Sr./F) and Eric Atkins (Jr./G) will captain the Fighting Irish during the 2012-13 season. Martin and Atkins are the 20th and 21st players in program history to serve as two-time team captains.
    NATIONAL EXPOSURE
    • Every Fighting Irish game during the 2012-13 season can be seen either on television or the internet. Notre Dame will have 21 of its games covered on the ESPN family of networks. The Irish also will have two games each on CBS and TruTV.
    NOTRE DAME TO HOST KENTUCKY IN SEC/BIG EAST CHALLENGE
    • Notre Dame will play host to defending national champion Kentucky in the 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge. The SEC/BIG EAST Classic consists of 12 games over a three-night span. The Wildcats will pay a visit to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on Thursday
    • This will be Notre Dame's second appearance in the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge. In 2010, Notre Dame and Kentucky met at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., with the Wildcats taking home a 72-58 win.
    • This year's matchup will be the 61st meeting between the two teams with Kentucky owning a 42-18 advantage in the series. The Wildcats' last visit to Purcell Pavilion was on March 25, 2009, in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament and the Irish snapped a 10-game losing streak to Kentucky with a 77-67 victory.
    • The Wildcats are 5-2 all-time in seven appearances at Purcell Pavilion. It will be the seventh time under Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey that the Irish will face Kentucky.
    IRISH RETURN TO CROSSROADS CLASSIC
    • Notre Dame will battle Big Ten rival Purdue in the second annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The game between the Irish and the Boilermakers is part of a doubleheader on Saturday, Dec. 15. Indiana and Butler meet in the first game at 2 p.m. (ET) followed by Notre Dame and Purdue at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
    IRISH AIM FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT 20-WIN CAMPAIGN
    • Notre Dame has reached the 20-win mark in each of the last six seasons and nine times in the last 12 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. The last time Irish teams reached the 20-win plateau in six straight campaigns was from 1983-89 under head coach Digger Phelps.
    ELDER STATESMAN
    • Mike Brey is in his 13th season along the Irish sidelines. He is the second-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST, behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse. Brey stands fifth all-time in career BIG EAST victories (both regular-season and tournament) with his 133-89 (.599) mark. He is one of nine coaches in BIG EAST history to record 100 conference wins.
    POSTSEASON STRETCH
    • Notre Dame has earned appearances in the postseason in each of the last 13 seasons, which marks the longest stretch in school history. The Irish have been to the NCAA Tournament on eight occasions and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times during this current stretch. Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame has played in the NCAAs eight times and NIT four times.
    LOOKING BACK
    • Notre Dame posted a 22-12 record last season and finished third in the BIG EAST regular-season standings with a 13-5 league mark. The Irish made their third straight appearance in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals.
    • The Fighting Irish earned their third consecutive NCAA tournament bid and fell to Xavier, 67-63, in the second round in Greensboro, N.C. Notre Dame was the No. 7 seed in the South Region.
    • Forward Jack Cooley led the Irish in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg) last season. Guard Jerian Grant had a team-best 5.0 assist-per-game average.
    • Cooley garnered the BIG EAST Most Improved Player Award in addition to being a second-team all-league pick. Grant was named to the conference's all-rookie team.
    BIG EAST BEASTS
    • Notre Dame is 31-9 (.775) over its last 40 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 24-6 (.800) mark in the last 30 league games.
    • The Irish have gone 70-36 (.660) in BIG EAST regular-season play over the past six seasons. That is tied with Pittsburgh for the third-best mark in the league over that time span.
    • Notre Dame has gone 47-6 (.887) 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.
    NOTRE DAME LISTED AS POTENTIAL HOST FOR ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY
    • The ESPN College Basketball GameDay cameras could be returning to Notre Dame during the 2012-13 campaign. ESPN released its College GameDay schedule and Notre Dame's matchup with defending BIG EAST tournament champion and 2012 NCAA Final Four participant Louisville on February 9, 2013, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center is listed as one of two potential sites for the game. The other game that day which could be part of the Saturday Primetime broadcast is Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.
    • The site of the Feb. 9 contest will be chosen closer to the date of the game. The GameDay matchup will be played at 9 p.m. (ET) on ESPN and the game not chosen will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2 at 6 p.m. that evening.
    • Notre Dame has hosted the Saturday morning show and primetime basketball contest on one other time -- Jan. 24, 2009, when the Irish played Connecticut.
    IRISH RANK NUMBER ONE IN 2012 GSR
    • University of Notre Dame athletic programs again rank as the best in the country in graduation rates, based on Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figures released by the NCAA--including first-place ratings in the sports of football, men's basketball, women's basketball and ice hockey.
    • Among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions, Notre Dame had the highest percentage of its sports with 100 percent scores (for the seventh time in eight years), with a .863 figure (19 of 22).
    • In men's basketball, Notre Dame achieved a perfect 100 GSR rating, with only Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Utah State, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky also reaching the top slot.
    • The four-year GSR data is based upon the entering classes from 2002 to 2005.
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