December 21, 2012 7 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.
Adam Amin (play-by-play)
LaPhonso Ellis (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com (free)
Sirius 113, XM 192
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) Jordan Cornette (analyst)
Gametracker on UND.com
FIGHTING IRISH CONCLUDE NON-CONFERENCE PLAY AGAINST NIAGARA
#22/22 Notre Dame (11-1) will conclude its 2012-13 non-conference slate on Friday with a home tilt against Niagara (5-6). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Friday's contest will be the fourth game in a seven-day span for the Irish. The Irish will return to the floor Jan. 5 against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST opener.
This will be the third meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Niagara. The Fighting Irish have won both previous encounters. The first showdown was a 30-20 decision on Feb. 15, 1909, in Niagara, N.Y. The Irish produced an 80-59 home win over the Purple Eagles on Dec. 21, 2005.
Friday's game can be seen on ESPNU. Adam Amin (play-by-play) and LaPhonso Ellis (analyst) will be on the call.
Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Jordan Cornette (analyst) will call the action for the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network. The broadcast is available on Sirius 113, XM 192 and can also be heard for free on UND.com (full affiliate listings on Pg. 2).
The Last Meeting
December 21, 2005
Notre Dame Beats Niagara With Treys
Colin Falls scored 19 points and Kyle McAlarney added 16 as Notre Dame made a season-high 12 3-pointers and shot a season-high 55 percent to beat Niagara 80-59 Wednesday night. Falls was 5-of-10 from 3-point range and McAlarney was 4-of-6 as the Irish (6-2) won their fourth straight, making 12-of-26 3-pointers. The Purple Eagles (2-6) shot just 31 percent in losing their sixth straight. Niagara cut Notre Dame's lead to 42-41 when James Mathis scored inside less than five minutes into the second half. But the Purple Eagles made just 2-of-17 shots over the next 10 minutes as the Irish took control with a 22-7 run.
The Fighting Irish will bring a nine-game win streak into Friday's contest. It's the longest win streak for the Irish since they won nine straight games last season (Jan. 21-Feb. 22).
A win on Friday would give the Irish their first 10-game win streak since the 2007-08 campaign when they won 10 straight from Nov. 24-Jan. 5. It would be the third win streak of at least 10 games under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame captured 12 straight victories during the 2006-07 season (Nov. 14-Jan. 3).
PLAYING WELL IN PURCELL
The Fighting Irish are 109-7 in their last 116 games played at home. That .940 home winning percentage over the course of the last seven seasons ranks second nationally. Kansas is first with a .966 mark.
The Irish are 44-1 (.978) in their last 45 home games. Notre Dame has a current 15-game home win streak.
Notre Dame has won 27 straight non-conference home games and the Irish are 68-1 in their last 69 non-league home contests. Notre Dame's last non-conference home loss was an 87-85 setback to Loyola Marymount on Dec. 12, 2009.
MEETING THE MAAC
Notre Dame is 47-7 against teams currently in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Niagara is the first MAAC opponent for the Irish since a 101-51 win over Rider on Dec. 28, 2006.
The Fighting Irish have won 10 straight games against MAAC opponents. Notre Dame's last loss to a MAAC school was a 65-44 setback to Manhattan on Feb. 6, 1996, inside Madison Square Garden.
Notre Dame is 28-1 at home against MAAC competition.
CLOSING OUT A SUCCESSFUL YEAR
Friday will be Notre Dame's final game of the calendar year. The Fighting Irish have posted a 24-8 (.750) record so far in 2012.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Five different Irish players have posted a team-high point total in the last six games.
The Fighting Irish have seven players who are averaging at least 8.3 points per game, including three with a double-figure average.
Eight different Irish players (Atkins, Auguste, Biedscheid, Connaughton, Cooley, Grant, Martin, Sherman) have notched a double-digit scoring effort this season.
CONNAUGHTON ON A CAREER-BEST STREAK
Sophomore Pat Connaughton currently has a career-best three-game double-figure scoring streak. He is averaging 15.3 points per game during that stretch.
He scored a season-high 18 points in Monday's win over IPFW. His previous season-high was 16 in Saturday's victory over Purdue. He scored 12 points on Wednesday against Kennesaw State.
Connaughton is 12-for-16 (.750) from the floor in the last two games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOMINANCE FROM COOLEY
Senior forward Jack Cooley is tied for second nationally with eight double-doubles this season. He has posted five double-doubles in the last seven games, including a 14-point, 13-rebound performance on Wednesday against Kennesaw State.
Cooley has 21 double-doubles over the last two seasons.
He has reached double-figures in points in seven straight games, which is a career-best streak.
Cooley is averaging team-best totals in points (14.5) and rebounds (11.0). The rebound mark leads all BIG EAST players. He has scored in double-figures in 11 of the 12 games this season.
He is tied for third in the BIG EAST with a .627 (64-102) shooting percentage. Cooley is 10-for-12 (.833) from the floor in the last two games.
Cooley's 95 career blocked shots are tied for ninth (with Luke Harangody) in Notre Dame history.
MARTIN TALLIES 1,000TH CAREER POINT
With his sixth point during Wednesday's win over Kennesaw State, Scott Martin (GS/G) reached the 1,000-point milestone for his collegiate career. Martin has 728 points during his Notre Dame career. He tallied 272 points during his freshman season at Purdue.
AUGUSTE IMPRESSIVE AGAINST OWLS
Freshman forward Zach Auguste notched career-high totals in points (12) and rebounds (7) on Wednesday against Kennesaw State. He was 4-for-5 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
DECEMBERS TO REMEMBER
Notre Dame is 53-7 (.883) at home in the month of December under head coach Mike Brey. That includes a current 14-game home win streak in December.
The Fighting Irish are allowing just 59.3 points per game this season. That is the best mark for the Irish through the first 12 contests of a season since 2004-05 when they allowed 58.3 points per game.
Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 37.8% (264-698) from the floor this season.
HANDLING THE ROCK
Notre Dame is second nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71) and fifth in assists per game (19.0).
The Fighting Irish rank 17th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (11.1).
Notre Dame had 21 assists on its 32 made field goals on Wednesday in the Kennesaw State contest. It was the sixth time this season that the Irish had 20 or more assists in a game.
The Fighting Irish are shooting 50.2% (338-673) from the floor this season. That mark ranks second among all BIG EAST teams.
Notre Dame shot a season-best 61.5% (32-52) from the floor in Wednesday's victory over Kennesaw State. It was the highest shooting percentage for the Irish since a 62.1% (36-58) performance in a 108-62 win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007. It was the second time this season the Irish shot above 60% from the field (61% vs. Chicago State).
The Irish are shooting 56.5% (61-108) in the last two games.
Notre Dame's 37.8% three-point percentage is first in the BIG EAST.
CASHING IN FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
The Fighting Irish shot a season-best 86.7% (13-15) from the free throw line on Wednesday against Kennesaw State.
Notre Dame made a season-high 24 free throws (on 33 attempts) in Saturday's win over Purdue. The Irish put the game away by going 16-for-18 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of the contest.
ATKINS ASSISTING THE IRISH EFFORT
Junior point guard Eric Atkins dished out a career-high 13 assists in Wednesday's win over Kennesaw State. Those were the most assists for an Irish player since Tory Jackson had 15 in an 84-71 loss to Syracuse on Jan. 18, 2010.
Atkins is second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.3) and is third in assists per game (7.5).
Atkins has three double-doubles this season (points & assists). He has dished out 10 or more assists in a game four times this season.
Senior center Garrick Sherman currently is first in the BIG EAST with a .652 (45-69) shooting percentage.
During his two seasons at Michigan State, Sherman had one double-digit scoring effort and he already has notched five this season. He tallied a career-high 22 points against Monmouth (Nov. 12). He also hauled down a career-best nine rebounds in that contest.
FEW FOULS FOR FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame ranks fourth nationally in fewest fouls per game (12.2).
CLEANING UP THE GLASS
The Fighting Irish are 10-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent. Notre Dame has a +7.7 rebounding margin per game this season.
Notre Dame held a commanding 36-17 rebound advantage in Wednesday's win over Kennesaw State.
TAMING THE CATS
Kentucky's 50 points in Notre Dame's 64-50 triumph on Nov. 29 were the fewest allowed by the Irish against a top-10 team since a 52-47 home win over No. 5 Maryland on Jan. 28, 1984. They were the fewest points for the Wildcats since a 73-46 loss at Kansas on Jan. 7, 2006.
Kentucky entered the contest averaging 85.2 points per game and shooting 55.8% from the field. The Wildcats managed just 50 points and shot 40.4% (19-47) from the floor.
BREY VS. TOP 10
The 64-50 win over #8 Kentucky on Nov. 29 improved Notre Dame to 17-23 (.425) against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll under head coach Mike Brey. That includes a 12-6 mark at home.
Notre Dame has won four straight against top-10 opponents are 5-1 in the last six games against top-10 teams.
The Irish are 5-4 versus non-conference top-10 opponents under Brey.
Under Brey, unranked Notre Dame squads are 10-16 against top-10 teams.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TIMES THREE
Notre Dame had three players record double-doubles in the win over Chicago State on Nov. 26 (Jerian Grant 22 points, 10 assists; Eric Atkins 13 points, 11 assists; Jack Cooley 11 points, 11 rebounds). It's the first time the Irish had three double-double performers since Nov. 17, 2010. That game also was against Chicago State.
Atkins and Grant joined elite company with their efforts. In the last 15 years, only one other pair of teammates had points and assists double-doubles in the same game. That was Connecticut's Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker in 2010 against Notre Dame.
A VETERAN PRESENCE
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.
Beachem (6-6, 180-pound small forward) 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 averaged 22.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals as a junior 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.
o Vasturia (6-5, 190-pound shooting guard) 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 SEASONS 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 1734-940 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.
o 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sophomore guard/forward Pat Connaughton also is a pitcher on the Fighting Irish baseball team. Last spring, he appeared in 12 games, including 10 starts, and posted a 4-4 record with a 3.18 earned-run average. He logged 45.1 innings on the mound and registered 40 strikeouts.
Connaughton was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 50th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
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.
o 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.