March 1, 2012
Providence (15-15, 4-13) vs. #20/19 Notre Dame (20-10, 12-5)
March 2, 2012 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.
BIG EAST Network (Regional)
WMYS Ch. 69 (South Bend area)
Anthony Calhoun (play-by-play)
Bob Valvano (analyst)
Broadcast on UND.com
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Jordan Cornette (analyst)
#20/19 IRISH CONCLUDE REGULAR SEASON ON FRIDAY VERSUS PROVIDENCE
- #20/19 Notre Dame (20-10, 12-5) returns home to wrap up the regular season on Friday with a home showdown versus Providence (15-15, 4-13). Tip-off against the Friars is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. This is the only regular-season meeting between Notre Dame and Providence this season.
- The Fighting Irish went 0-2 in their two-game road swing. Notre Dame fell at St. John’s, 61-58, on Saturday and were topped by Georgetown, 59-41, on Monday. Prior to those two setbacks, the Irish had won a program-record nine straight BIG EAST games.
- Notre Dame is tied with Georgetown for third in the BIG EAST standings. The Irish already have clinched a bye into the second round of the BIG EAST Championship. A win on Friday would secure Notre Dame a double-bye and the No. 3 seed for the league tournament.
- Friday’s game will be broadcast on the BIG EAST Network with Anthony Calhoun (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst) calling the action. The contest can be seen on WMYS (Channel 69) in the South Bend area.
- 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-PROVIDENCE SERIES HISTORY
- Friday will be the 25th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Providence. The Fighting Irish lead the series 15-9, including eight straight victories over the Friars. The Irish have won four straight at home over Providence. The last Providence win in the series was a 73-59 decision on Feb. 24, 2004 at Notre Dame. The Friars are 4-8 all-time at Notre Dame.
- The Irish won the lone meeting last season, a 94-93 triumph on Feb. 23, 2011 at Providence. Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis scored 32 and 28 points, respectively, for the Irish, while Marshon Brooks netted 52 points for the Friars. Scott Martin also chipped in 10 points for Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame is 13-6 against Providence since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
- Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey is 10-1 against the Friars during his Notre Dame tenure.
DANTLEY TO JOIN NOTRE DAME RING OF HONOR ON FRIDAY
- Former Irish basketball great and U.S. Olympian Adrian Dantley, the 1976 national college basketball player of the year and a member of the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame, will become the fourth inductee into the Notre Dame Basketball Ring of Honor on Friday. The ceremony will take place during halftime of the Notre Dame-Providence game.
- Dantley, who enjoyed a stellar three-year career in an Irish uniform from 1973-76, will join Austin Carr, Luke Harangody and Ruth Riley as a member of Notre Dame’s Ring of Honor. Harangody, who played for the Irish from 2006-10, was the school’s first inductee in Feb. 2010. Riley (1997-2001), who helped lead the Irish women’s basketball program to the national championship in ’01, became the second member of the Ring of Honor in Nov. 2010, while Austin Carr (1968-71), who still remains the program’s career scoring leader with 2,560 points, became the third honoree when he was inducted in Feb. 2011.
NOT THEIR NIGHT
- Notre Dame’s 41 points in Monday’s 59-41 setback at Georgetown tied the fewest of the Mike Brey era (12 seasons). The Irish also scored 41 in a 61-41 loss to Washington State in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Monday’s point total was the lowest ever for the Irish in a BIG EAST contest (regular season or tournament). The previous low was 48 in a 66-48 setback at Georgetown on Jan. 6, 2007.
- The Fighting Irish were 3-for-17 (17.6%) from three-point range against the Hoyas. The three made treys were a season-low in a BIG EAST game for the Irish.
- The 18 first-half points were the fewest for the Irish in any half of play this season. Notre Dame’s 23 rebounds in the contest matched a season-low total.
- Georgetown shot 52.3% (23-44) from the field. That is the first time this season a BIG EAST opponent has shot above 47% from the field against the Irish.
- While being held to just 41 points in its loss at Georgetown on Feb. 27, none of the nine Irish players that saw time scored in double figures. That’s the first time that has occurred during the Mike Brey era.
- The last game in which Notre Dame failed to have a player score in double figures was in a home contest against North Carolina State on Feb. 13, 1982. The Irish fell to the Wolfpack, 62-42.
BREY’S IRISH ONCE AGAIN AMONG THE BEST IN THE BIG EAST
- Notre Dame’s 12 BIG EAST victories are the third-most in program history. The Irish won 14 league 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.
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.
BIG EAST TRENDS
- Notre Dame is 30-9 (.769) over its last 39 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 23-6 (.793) mark in the last 29 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.
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. Notre Dame was averaging 68.9 ppg. and allowing its opponents 64.4 ppg. in those 19 contests. Over the course of the last 11 games, the Irish are averaging 63.8 ppg, but allowing their opponents just 56.5 points. In three of those contests, Notre Dame held its opponent to under 50 points.
- In the last 11 games, Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 39.4% (239-607) from the field, including 26.7% (43-161) from three-point range.
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.
- Notre Dame held those nine teams to a 37.6% (194-516) shooting clip from the field, including 25.9% (36-139) from three-point range.
- The Irish averaged 67.0 ppg. during the streak while allowing just 55.7 ppg.
- Notre Dame is 4-2 in its last six 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).
- Junior forward Jack Cooley has produced a double-double in five of the last seven games. He has a team-best 11 double-doubles this season (nine in BIG EAST play).
- Cooley is averaging 13.8 ppg. and 9.8 rpg. in BIG EAST play. Over the past seven games, he is averaging 16.6 ppg. and 10.6 rpg. That figure includes an uncharacteristic two-point, no-rebound effort on Monday at Georgetown.
BIG EAST BIG MAN
- Junior forward Jack Cooley is first among all BIG EAST players in shooting percentage for all games (.618) and is second in league games only (.615). He is 46-for-66 (.697) from the field in the last six games.
- Cooley’s .618 shooting percentage currently ranks sixth in program history for a single-season mark.
- In BIG EAST play, Cooley ranks second among all league players with a 9.8 rpg. average. He is averaging a league-best 4.4 offensive rebounds per game in BIG EAST play.
- He ranks fifth in the BIG EAST with an 8.9 rpg. average this season (all games). That includes 3.9 offensive boards per game, which ranks second in the league. He is averaging 1.5 blocked shots per game, which ranks sixth among all BIG EAST players.
- Cooley has been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll a team-best five times this season. He also was named the league’s player of the week on Feb. 13.
- 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.
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.
- 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 467-450 (-17) in the first half of play, but the Irish have a 586-505 (+81) scoring advantage in the second half.
GRANT HAS ALL-AROUND GAME
- Sophomore guard Jerian Grant, who is in his first season playing with the Irish after sitting out all of last season, has team-high totals in points (377), assists (147), steals (37) and minutes played (1,069). His 49 made three-pointers also are a team-high total.
- Grant has four 20-plus point efforts of this season (two in BIG EAST play).
- Grant ranks 10th nationally – and second in the BIG EAST – with a 2.83 assist-to-turnover ratio. His 5.3 assist-per-game average in BIG EAST play ranks seventh in the league.
- Grant is shooting a team-best 81.3% (104-128) from the free throw line this season. That mark ranks eighth among all BIG EAST players.
ATKINS ON THE ATTACK
- Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins ranks second among all Irish players with a 12.5 points-per-game average this season. He averaged 5.8 ppg. last season as a freshman.
- 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 36.9% (41-111) from three-point range this season.
PAT PERFORMING FROM THE PERIMETER
- Freshman guard/forward Pat Connaughton was 7-for-12 from three-point range in the win at Villanova on Feb. 18. 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).
- He matched a career-high total with a game-high 11 rebounds on Monday at Georgetown.
LOGGING MAJOR MINUTES
- Three Irish players – Eric Atkins (39.4), Jerian Grant (37.7) and Scott Martin (37.4) – are averaging over 37 minutes a game in BIG EAST play.
- Atkins has played 40-plus minutes 11 times this season, including eight times in league play. He ranks third in the BIG EAST in minutes played (league games only), while Grant is seventh and Martin is ninth.
- The Fighting Irish defense ranks third in the BIG EAST by surrendering just 58.6 points per game in league play.
- The Irish boast the top three-point defense (25.9%) 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 (Jan. 21). 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 on Jan. 25. 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 (Jan. 29) 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 (Feb. 4) 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 (Feb. 8) 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 (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 8-5 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 6.6 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.
- The Irish are 7-48 (.146) from three-point range in the last two games, losses at St. John’s and Georgetown.
CASHING IN FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
- Notre Dame ranks third in the BIG EAST with a .715 free throw percentage (all games).
PROTECTING THE ROCK
- Notre Dame ranks sixth nationally – and second among all BIG EAST teams – with a 1.46 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
- The Irish rank third nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – in fewest turnovers per game (10.0).
- Over the last five games, Notre Dame has only committed 43 turnovers (8.6 per game).
- Notre Dame ranks seventh in BIG EAST play with 14.0 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 four of the last five 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 and sophomore point guard Eric Atkins have both led the Irish in scoring a team-best nine times this season.
- Seven Notre Dame players – Tim Abromaitis, Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton, Jack Cooley, Alex Dragicevich, Jerian Grant and Scott Martin – have scored 20 or more points in a game 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.