Notre Dame is going after its 24th straight win at the Joyce Center on Saturday night against Eastern Michigan - as mark that would tie the school record for consecutive home wins at the Joyce Center. The streak dates back to the final two games of the 2005-06 campaign as Irish defeated DePaul (66-61) in the regular-season finale and Vanderbilt (79-69) in the first round of the NIT. Notre Dame's last loss at home was an 80-72 setback to Marquette on February 25, 2006.
Notre Dame (4-2, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Eastern Michigan (3-3, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, December 1, 2007 * 7:00 p.m. (EST) Joyce Center (11,418) * Notre Dame, Ind.
Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst)
LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst)
Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network which includes:
WLS 890 AM in Chicago, Ill. (Chicagoland area and Midwest);
WZOW 97.7 FM and 102.3 FM in South Bend, Ind.;
ESPN 950 AM in Indianapolis, Ind.;
WLYV 1450 AM in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Northeast, Ind.;
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WLUV 1520 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill., and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.;
WEFM 95.9 FM in Michigan City and Gary, Ind.;
ESPN (WRSW) 1480 AM in Warsaw, Ind.;
WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind., Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 159 and www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
Notre Dame vs. Eastern Michigan
Notre Dame is back in action for the first time since its
94-63 win over Colgate on Monday at the Joyce Center. The contest against the Raiders marked five games in 10 days for the Irish.
Notre Dame is going after its 24th straight win at the Joyce Center on Saturday night - as mark that would tie the school record for consecutive home wins at the Joyce Center. The streak dates back to the final two games of the 2005-06 campaign as Irish defeated DePaul (66-61) in the regular-season finale and Vanderbilt
(79-69) in the first round of the NIT. Notre Dame's last loss at home was an 80-72 setback to Marquette on February 25, 2006.
This evening's matchup against Eastern Michigan is the third in a three-game homestand. Folllowing the contest against the Eagles, Notre Dame will play its only game away from the Joyce Center during the month of December when it travels to New York City's Madison Square Garden to take on Kansas State in the Jimmy V Classic.
After the Jimmy V Classic, Coach Mike Brey's squad will enjoy a six-game homestand in the friendly confines of the Joyce Center.
Series Record vs. Eastern Michgian
In the only meeting between the two schools, Notre Dame posted an 81-76 overtime victory at the Joyce Center on December 11,
Irish vs. Mid-American Conference
Irish teams are 51-17 all-time versus teams that now comprise the Mid-American Conference. Notre Dame's last meeting against a team from the MAC was on Dec. 6, 2003 as the Irish dropped a hearbreaker 69-68 to Central Michigan at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame played two MAC tearm during its non-conference season and opned up the 2003-04 campaign with a 74-65 victory over Northern Illinois in its season opener.
Harangody Named To BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll
Irish sophomore Luke Harangody was one of five players named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll this week following performances last week against Georgia Tech and Youngstown. In the two contests, the 6-8 forward averaged 23.5 points and 12.0 rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
In a 70-69 loss to the Yellow Jackets in the final game of the Paradise Jam, Harangody matched his career-high (set the previous night versus Baylor) as he scored 22 points, hitting 8-19 shots, and grabbed 11 rebounds for the first double-double of the season.
Harangody followed that up another career-best outing with 25 points and 13 rebounds (one shy of a personal) best in Notre Dame's 87-75 win over Youngstown State. In the contest, he was 12-17 from the field.
Harangody has scored in double figures in all but one game this season and his three consecutive 20-plus point outings versus Baylor, Georgia Tech and Youngstown State were a first in his career as was his back-to-back double-double outings against the Yellow Jackets and Penquins.
Last year, Harangody was a member of the BIG EAST all-rookie team, and was named the league's top rookie on three occasions and was named to the weekly honor roll once.
Luke Harangody leads the Irish in scoring and rebounding averaging 18.2 points and 8.3 rebounds. Harangody had a career outing in Notre Dame's 87-75 win against Youngstown State as he netted a personal best 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Harangody was 12-17 from the field in addition to dishing off four assists in 27 minutes.
In the last three games, the 6-8 forward has been unstoppable averaging 23.0 points and 10.7 boards. Harangody netted 20-plus points in three consecutive outings for the first time in his career against Baylor (22 points), Georgia Tech (22 points) and Youngstown State (25 points) and had back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in his career versus Yellow Jackets (22 points, 11 rebounds) and the Penquins.
Luke Harangody's string of three consecutive games with 20-plus points ended on Monday night against Colgate when he finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Prior to that game, he had registered 20-plus points in three consecutive games - Baylor (22), Georgia Tech (22) and Youngstown State (25) for the first time in his career. The last Irish player to score 20-plus points in three consecutive outings was Russell Carter during the
2006-07 campaign when he netted 27 against Alabama, 21 versus Elon and 28 against Portland. The last Irish player to net 20-plus points in four consecutive outings was Chris Thomas in 2003-04 (his junior
year) versus Pittsburgh (23 points), Connecticut (31 points), Seton Hall (26 points) and Syracuse (25 points).
McAlarney Finds The Range
Since returning from the St. Thomas, USVI, no Irish player is playing better than Kyle McAlarney. In back-to-back wins over Youngstown State, the 6-0 guard has recorded back-to-back career-highs. In the 87-75 victory over the Penquins, McAlarney connected on 6-13 shots from the field and was 5-10 fom three-points en route to a then personal best 23-point performance. He followed that up with a career-high 25-point effort against Colgate in Monday night's 94-63 win as he connected on 8-12 shots from the field and was 7-10 from three-point range.
In the two games, he has a shot a combined 14-25 (.560) from the field and has been 12-20 (.600) from three-point range. Prior to these two contests, McAlarney was just 9-31 (.290) from the field and
5-17 (.294) from three-point range in Notre Dame's three games at the Paradise Jam.
One Is A Lonely Number
Rob Kurz is the lone senior among the 14 players on this year's Irish roster. The last time Notre Dame had only one senior on the roster was during the 1983-84 when Cecil Rucker was the only senior member of that team that consisted of four juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. The 1988-89 Irish squad featured no seniors on that team and was comprised of five juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen.
Notre Dame joined an elite group last year when it registered its 1,600th win against Providence on February 15, 2007.
Entering its 103rd season, Notre Dame has 1,605 victories. Only 12 other schools have reached the mark: Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Temple, St. John's, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Utah and UCLA.
Eight Straight Postseason Appearances
Notre Dame's appearance in last year's NCAA tournament field marks the fourth NCAA berth for the Irish in seven years.
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last eight years. The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned consecutive NCAA tournament berths - 2001, '02, '03 - followed by NIT appearances in '04, '05 and '06. This current postseason streak matches the longest stretch since making eight straight from 1983-90 (NIT in 1983 and '84 and NCAA from 1985-90).
Four 20-Win Seasons Under His Belt
Notre Dame's 24-8 campaign a year ago marked the fourth time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that the Irish won 20-plus games. The 24 wins also equaled the most for Notre Dame during the Brey era. Notre Dame's 20-win campaigns under Brey have been in 2000-01 (20-10), 2001-02 (22-11) and 2002-03 (24-10). In the 102-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 31 occasions.
"D" The Key Against Monmouth
En route to its 76-33 victory over Monmouth on November 16, Notre Dame held the Hawks without a point in the final 10:31 of the contest and outscored Monmouth 23-0 down the stretch. In fact, the Irish held the Hawks to just eight points in the second half and just
11 points overall in the final 24:52 of the contest. Notre Dame also limited Monmouth to just nine field goal attempts (all misses) in the final 8:17 of the game.
The 33 points allowed by Notre Dame were the fewest ever under head coach Mike Brey and the eight points in the second half were the fewest ever by an Irish team in a half since the inception of the three-point shot.
The 33 points allowed were also the fewest given up by a Notre Dame team since January 4, 1950 in a 54-33 win at home against Butler. It also marked the fewest points scored by an Irish opponent in a road or neutral site game since Kentucky's 34-28 win over the Irish on December 29, 1981 in Louisville, Ky.
The 43-point margin of victory was the matched the seventh-highest for an Irish team under Mike Brey.
Defense Shines In First Two Games ...
While offense has always been a staple under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame's defense keyed Notre Dame's first two wins.
The Irish allowed just 41.5 points per game and held opponents to
27.2 percent shooting from the field and 20.5 percent from three-point range. Notre Dame owned a +19.5 advantage on the boards and outscored its first two opponents a combined 82-35 in the second half.
... But Defense Struggles Against Baylor And Georgia Tech
In Notre Dame's final two games of the Paradise, which resulted in losses to Baylor and Georgia Tech, the Irish allowed 138 points (69.0 ppg.) and allowed the Bears and Yellow Jackets to shoot a combined 51-115 (.443) from the field and 18-39 (.462) from three-point range. The Irish also were outrebounded in both contests.
Irish Offense Struggled Against Bears and Yellow Jackets
Notre Dame's struggled on offense in its two losses versus Baylor and Georgia Tech. Against the Yellow Jackets, the Irish were just 20-59 from the field (.339) and connected on just 7-19 (.368) from three-point range. In the second half, Notre Dame was only 8-28 from the field (.286).
In the loss to Georgia Tech, the Irish hit on 40.7 percent of its shots (22-54) and were only 5-16 (.313) from three-point range.
Notre Dame averaged just 12.0 assists in the two games and turned the ball over 29 times (14.5).
Lost Leads Down The Stretch
In its first two wins of the season, Notre Dame never trailed in either contest. In fact, the Irish have only trailed 5:45 of a possible 240 minutes this season.
Against Baylor, the Irish led by as many as 14 points in the first half after jumping out to a 8-0 lead. The Bears took their first lead (61-60) of the contest with 3:15 remaining in the contest.
It also marked the first time Notre Dame had trailed in a game all season long. The Irish regained the lead briefly at 62-61 with 1:33 left on the clock before the Bears closed the game with a 7-2 run to close the game.
In the loss to Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets grabbed a four-point lead early on, but Notre Dame's basket at the 16:54 mark would give the Irish the advantage until the final two seconds of the contest. The Yellow Jackets trailed by nine (62-53) with 5:11 to play before outscoring Notre Dame 17-7 down the stretch.
In Notre Dame's win over Youngstown State, the Irish led by
25 with 11:41 left in the game, but were outscored 31-18 in the final 11-plus minutes of the contest before holding on for the 87-75 victory.
Quietly Goes About His Business
Perhaps no player in the Irish lineup is as steady as Rob Kurz. The senior forward is the team's second-leading scorer and rebounder has been Notre Dame's leading scorer and rebounder in two games and has scored in double figures in all but one contest. He has recorded two double-doubles and is coming off a season-high 20-point performance against Colgate on 7-10 shooting from the field. In addidtion, he grabbed 10 boards. Kurz is shooting 52.8 percent
(28-53) from the field and 46.7 (7-15) from three-point range.
Gody A Force
Six games into the 2007-08 campaign, Luke Harangody is averaging a team-leading 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds (both career bests). He has scored in double figures in five of six contests. He also is shooting 57.0 percent (44-79) from the field. Harangody recorded his first double-double of the season against the Yellow Jackets when he finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds and then followed that up with 25 points and 13 rebounds against Youngstown State. In addition, he has netted 20-plus points in six career outings.
Zach Attack Off The Bench
As he was a year ago, junior forward Zach Hillesland has been a spark for the Irish off the bench. He is averaging 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds and has scored in double figures in two games. He recorded back-to-back double-figure scoring outings for the first time in his career against Georgia Tech (12 points) and Youngstown State (10 points). Hillesland is shooting 51.6 percent (16-31) from the field.
Junior Ryan Ayers is off to the best start in his career shooting 44.7 percent from the field (17-38) and 50.0 percent (12-24) from three-point range. His 7.8 points per game also marks a career best. Last year, he began the season 0-12 from the field before hitting his first field goal in the sixth game of the year. Heading into this season, he owned a 38.5 career field goal percentage and
37.5 percent mark from three-point range. Ayers netted a career-high
13 points against Monmouth.
Zeller Matches Career High Against Colgate
Luke Zeller is coming off his second double-figure scoring outing of the season and the sixth of his career in Notre Dame's win over Colgate. He matched his career-high with 14 points as he finished 5-8 from the field and 4-5 from three-point range in 16 minutes off the bench. In addition, Zeller grabbed four rebounds in the contest. He is averaging 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds this season.
Notre Dame's 18-0 record at home last season marked just the third time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that an Irish team finished undefeated at home during the regular season.
It also marked the most wins ever for a Notre Dame team in a single season. 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 were the only BIG EAST team to finish the season undefeated at home. Dating back to 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame has won 23 consecutive games at home following the win over Colgate on Monday night - an active streak that is fifth among all Division I teams and is the third longest in school history as well as the longest during Mike Brey's tenure. The record for consecutive wins at the Joyce Center is 24 (1973-74).
Notre Dame will look to tie the Joyce Center home win streak mark on Saturday night against Eastern Michigan. The current 23-game win streak is the second-longest streak at the Joyce Center and longest during the Mike Brey era. Here's a look at the Joyce Center streaks ...
24 - Began with a 94-68 win over Xavier on 2/3/73 and ended with a 94-84 loss to Indiana on 12/11/74
23 - Began with a 66-61 win over DePaul on 3/4/06 (current streak)
22 - Began with an 88-68 win over Pittsburgh on 1/26/77 and ended with a 69-68 overtime loss to DePaul on 2/12/78
16 - Began with a 92-70 win over Fairfield on 12/9/82 and ended with a 51-47 loss to UCLA on 12/3/83
16 - Began with an 89-76 win over West Virginia on 2/20/02 and ended with a 87-79 loss to Connecticut on 2/24/03.
What A Difference A Year Makes
With its 11-5 record in BIG EAST play last season, Notre Dame's win total was five more than the 2005-06 team which finished with a 6-10 conference mark after beginning league play 1-8. Notre Dame's 24 wins also were eight more its total of 16 the previous season.
Irish Roll Under Brey In November
Irish teams have traditionally played well under Irish head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame completed the month of November in 2006 with a 5-1 record. The Irish are 30-5 (.857) all-time in games played during the month of November. The five November losses have been to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002; to North Carolina State (61-48) at the John R. Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Nov. 26, 2005; against Butler (71-69) on Nov. 13, 2006 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off; and to Baylor (68-64) and Georgia Tech (70-69) this season. This is the first season that an Irish team has lost more than one game during the month of November under Brey.
The Irish All-Time
The 2007-08 men's basketball campaign marks the 103rd season of basketball and 13th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.
In 102-plus seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1609-887 record for a
.645 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns a 101-99
(.505) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Always In It
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame's 24 losses have been by a combined 121 points for an average of 5.0 points per game.
The 14 setbacks in '05-'06 were by a total of 59 points (4.2 points). The only double-digit loss was to North Carolina State (61-47). The Irish suffered 10 BIG EAST losses during the regular season and those were by a combined 35 points (3.5).
Putting Up The Points And Winning Impressively
Notre Dame averaged 81.0 points per game last season, the best points per game average ever under Mike Brey. With its 82 points against Long Island in the season opener, the Irish proved once again that they can score points. Ten of the 24 victories a year ago were by 24 or more points, while six of those games were by 30 points or better.
Keeping It Close
In the 80 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey's seven seasons, only 19 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 520 for an average of 6.5 points per game. Notre Dame's 18-point loss (66-48) to Georgetown in 2006-07 was the largest ever for an Irish team under Brey.
18-Game BIG EAST Slate
Notre Dame will play Connecticut, DePaul and Marquette twice as part of its 2007-08 18-game BIG EAST men's basketball conference slate. The league is employing an 18-game schedule this year with all teams playing each other at least once and three opponents twice (home and away). The BIG EAST utilized the 16-game slate since the 1999-00 campaign and has not played an 18-game conference schedule since 1998-99 when the league had 13 members. The format was used for eight years from 1991-99.
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 66-46 (.589) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a
3-7 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 69-53 (.566) against league foes. In Brey's first season, the Irish posted their first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the BIG EAST 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 since joining the league in 1995-96.
276 And Counting
Heading into tonight's game against Eastern Michigan, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 276 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was 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.
Home Sweet Home
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 477-141 record all-time for a .772 winning percentage. The Irish are 91-27 (.771) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey's seven-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 139-43 mark for a .764 winning percentage. Notre Dame's 18 wins at home last season marked the ninth time in 10 years that the Irish won 10 or more home games. The Irish played their 600th game at the Joyce Center on Nov. 27, 2006 versus Lehigh.
Over The Century Mark
Notre Dame topped the 100-point mark twice during the
2006-07 campaign and eight times under Irish head coach Mike Brey.
In Mike Brey's seven-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 54-53 (.505) that includes a 35-36 (.492) in true road games and a 19-17 mark (.545) in neutral site contests.
Double The Pleasure
Rob Kurz led the Irish with nine double-doubles last season and has registered two this season (13 for his career) in the season opener against Long Island in the season (19 points and 10 rebounds) and Colgate (20 points, 10 rebounds). Ironically, both of those came while playing just 28 minutes in each contest.
Junior Kyle McAlarney and sophomore Tory Jackson started in the backcourt in a regular season game for the first time ever against Long Island in the season opener. The duo combined for 11 points and 15 assists (eight by Jackson and seven by McAlarney) of Notre Dame's 28 assists. Against Colgate, they dished off 12 assists (seven by Jackson and five by McAlarney) and turned the ball over just once.
Under Irish head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame always has done a good job of distributing the basketball and shown great unselfishness as a team. That was again evident against Long Island when the Irish dished off 28 assists on 35 baskets (a 0.8 assists-to-basket ratio). Notre Dame also enjoyed a strong assist-to-basket ratio against Youngstown State with 24 assists credited to 32 baskets and against Colgate (25 assists on 32 baskets). Through six game, the Irish are averaging 20 assists per game and have dished off 120 assists on 170 baskets for a .71 assist-to-basket ratio.
Zeller Down Under
For the second straight summer in 2007, forward Luke Zeller played with Athletes In Action, joining them this year for an eight-game Australian tour. During the exhibition tour, he averaged
11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds and scored in double figures in five of those contests. The previous year, he traveled to Taipei City, Taiwan and was a member of the AIA squad that captured the gold medal at the 2006 William Jones Cup.
A BIG EAST Family
The Kurz family name is family in BIG EAST circles this season. Rob Kurz' younger Laura is a member of the Villanova women's basketball team. She played for two years 2004-06 at Duke before tranferring to Villanova. After sitting out last season, the junior forward is posting nearly identical numbers as her older brother Rob.
Rob is currently the second-leading scorer (15.0 ppg.) and rebounder (7.7), while Laura is the Wildcats' second scorer (15.2 ppg.) and top rebounder (7.8).
A New Addition To The Irish Basketball Family
Assistant coach Rod Balanis and his wife Liz welcomed their second son, Lukas Lowell, into their family on Tues., November 27 at
11:43 a.m. joining older brother Andrew George (now two years old).
The baby was delivered just over 14 hours after the Irish had beaten Colgate 94-63 on Monday night.
Paradise Jam Recap
Notre Dame finished fifth at the Paradise Jam in the eight-team field and Luke Harangody was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 17.3 points and 8.0 rebounds.
The Irish opened up tournament play with an impressive
76-33 victory over Monmouth as Notre Dame shot 50.9 percent from the field and limited the Hawks to just 26.5 percent (13-49). Notre Dame also held a 46-18 advantage on the boards. Rob Kurz led all scorers with 15 points, while Kyle McAlarney and Ryan Ayers each added 13.
Ayers' 13 points marked a career-high as he connected on 5-6 shots from the field and was 3-4 from three-point range.
Luke Harangody scored a game-high and matched his career-high with a 22-point effort against Baylor as he finished 9-14 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. The only other Irish player in double figures was Rob Kurz as he finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Notre Dame shot just 28.6 percent in the second half and 33.9 percent for the contest, while the Bears connected on
Notre Dame led for all but the first three minutes of the game and the final two seconds when Georgia Tech's three-pointer lifted the Yellow Jackets to the win. Luke Harangody notched the fifth 20-plus point outing of his career and matched his personal best for the second time in as many nights as he finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Harangody was one of four Irish players in double figures. Rob Kurz finished with 15 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Zach Hillesland added 12 points and Tory Jackson finished with 10 points as he netted double figures for the first time in four outings. Notre Dame shot 40.7 percent from the field, but allowed Georgia Tech to connect on 47.4 percent for the game and
58.8 percent (10-17) from three-point range.