Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins has led the Irish in scoring a team-best seven times this season.

Irish Play Host To #1 Syracuse On Saturday

Jan. 20, 2012

Complete Notes in PDF Packet Get Acrobat Reader

#1/1 Syracuse (20-0, 7-0) vs. Notre Dame (11-8, 3-3)
Jan. 21, 2012 – 6:00 p.m. (ET)
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
Notre Dame, Ind.

Dave Pasch (play-by-play)
Doris Burke (analyst)

Broadcast on
Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Sean Kearney (analyst)

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  • Notre Dame (11-8, 3-3) will play host to top-ranked and undefeated Syracuse (20-0, 7-0) on Saturday inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 p.m. (ET).
  • The BIG EAST showdown will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN3 with Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (analyst) calling the action.
  • The Fighting Irish Digital Media radio crew of Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Sean Kearney (analyst) will call the action on radio (affiliate listings on Pg. 5) and their broadcast can also be heard on
  • Saturday will be the 43rd meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Syracuse. The Orange hold a 24-18 advantage in the series, including a current three-game win streak against the Irish. The Orange captured a 70-58 home victory last season over the Irish (Jan. 1, 2011). Syracuse is 11-8 all-time at Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame’s last win over Syracuse was a 94-87 decision on Feb. 24, 2008 inside Purcell Pavilion.
  • The Irish are 8-19 against the Orange since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
  • Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is 5-12 all-time against Syracuse.
  • The Fighting Irish are 10-1 at home, 1-3 in true road games and 0-4 in neutral site games this season.


  • Notre Dame will be facing the number-one ranked team in the country for the 33rd time in program history. The Irish own nine victories over top-ranked teams based on the Associated Press, United Press International and ESPN/USA Today rankings. The NCAA, which solely uses the AP rankings to determine victories over number-one ranked teams, recognizes seven of those victories. Notre Dame’s seven victories ranks tied for seventh all-time in the NCAA record books. Notre Dame’s last win over a top-ranked team was on Feb. 1, 1987 when the Irish defeated North Carolina 60-58 at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. That was the last time a No. 1 team visited Notre Dame (full list of Notre Dame vs. #1 on page 3).
  • The Fighting Irish are 6-3 at home against top-ranked teams.


  • Notre Dame has had a penchant for ending impressive winning streaks in a number of different sports, contributing to the University’s storied 125-year athletics tradition. Syracuse will enter Saturday night’s game with a 20-game winning streak. Here is a rundown of the various notable “streak-busting” victories Notre Dame teams have posted through the years:
    • Nov. 16, 1957
      Football ends Oklahoma’s NCAA-record 47-game winning streak with a 7-0 victory at Owen Field in Norman, Okla.
    • Jan. 19, 1974
      Men’s basketball stops UCLA’s NCAA-record 88-game winning streak with a 71-70 win at the Joyce Center. Led by Digger Phelps, the Fighting Irish score the final 12 points of the game, capped by Dwight Clay’s jumper from the corner with 29 seconds to play.
    • Oct. 2, 1994
      Women’s soccer ends North Carolina’s NCAA-record 92-game winning streak. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw at the Americas Challenge Cup in St. Louis.
    • June 7, 2002
      Baseball snaps Florida State’s 25-game winning streak with a 10-4 victory in the first game of a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional in Tallahassee. The Fighting Irish would defeat FSU in the deciding third game two days later to secure their first College World Series berth in 45 years.
    • Jan. 30, 2005
      Women’s basketball ends Connecticut’s 112-game BIG EAST home winning streak/55-game Gampel Pavilion streak with a 65-59 triumph.
    • Feb. 8, 2005
      Men’s basketball halts Boston College’s 20-game winning streak. The Eagles entered Purcell Pavilion with a 20-0 record and the Irish handed them a 68-65 loss.
    • Jan. 7, 2011
      Women’s basketball ends Connecticut’s 57-game BIG EAST regular-season winning streak by capturing a 74-67 overtime win inside Purcell Pavilion.


  • Last Saturday’s 67-53 loss to Connecticut snapped Notre Dame’s 29-game home win streak. That had been the fourth-longest in the nation and the second-longest Irish win streak inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in program history. The Fighting Irish won 45 straight at the Joyce Center from March 4, 2006-Jan. 10, 2009. That streak came to an end in a 69-61 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 24, 2009.
  • Prior to Saturday, Notre Dame’s last home loss was a 69-68 setback to St. John’s on Feb. 14, 2010. The Irish had won 13 straight BIG EAST games inside Purcell Pavilion.
  • The Fighting Irish are 94-7 in their last 101 games played at home. That 93.1% home winning percentage over the course of the last six seasons ranks fifth nationally.


  • Notre Dame has gone 41-6 (.872) 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 is 21-7 (.750) over its last 28 BIG EAST regular-season contests. 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.
  • The Irish are 14-4 over their last 18 BIG EAST regular-season games.


  • A win on Saturday would tie Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey with former Villanova head coach Rollie Massimino for fifth all-time in BIG EAST victories (both BIG EAST regular season and tournament). Brey is 122-86 (.587) in league regular-season and tournament play during his 12 seasons with the Irish.
  • Brey also is one win away from reaching 250 victories during his Notre Dame tenure. He carries a 249-128 (.660) overall mark with the Irish.


  • Scott Martin has scored in double-figures in each of the last four games. That is a season-best streak for the senior. He is averaging 12.3 ppg. and 10.0 rpg. in the last four games.
  • Martin posted double-doubles in back-to-back games against Louisville (Jan. 7) and USF (Jan. 10). Martin tallied 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in the win over USF. His previous rebound high was 12, which occurred the previous game versus Louisville. He also netted 11 points against the Cardinals.


  • Notre Dame ranks second among all BIG EAST teams with a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. The Irish rank eighth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • The Fighting Irish rank third nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – in fewest turnovers per game (9.9).
  • The Irish have had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game eight times this season. Notre Dame had a season-low four turnovers in the victory over Sacred Heart (Dec. 19). The Irish also had a season-high 25 assists (on 35 made baskets) versus the Pioneers.


    • Seven different Notre Dame players have posted a team-high point total in a game this season.
    • Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-best seven times this season, while fellow sophomore guard Jerian Grant and junior forward Jack Cooley both have led the Irish in points four times.



  • Notre Dame has used eight different starting lineups this season (out of 19 games played). No Notre Dame player has started every game this season (game-by-game starting lineups listed on page 7). Jerian Grant and Scott Martin both have a team-high 18 starts this season.
  • Six different Irish players – Joey Brooks (Jr./G), Jack Cooley (Jr./F), Tom Knight (Jr./F), Jerian Grant (So./G), Alex Dragicevich (So./G) and Pat Connaughton (Fr./G-F) – have made their first career start this season.


  • Since missing the Maryland game on Dec. 4 due to illness, junior forward Jack Cooley has averaged 14.8 ppg., 9.3 rpg. and 1.9 bpg. in the past 10 contests. He is shooting 63.6% (56-88) from the field and 75.0% (36-48) from the free throw line during that stretch.
  • Cooley has a team-best four double-doubles this season. He also has a team-high six double-digit rebounding games this season.
  • Against Delaware State (Nov. 18), Cooley hauled down a career-high 17 rebounds, which included 10 offensive boards. He became the first Irish player to register that many rebounds in a game since Luke Harangody had 17 against Louisville on Feb. 12, 2009.
  • Cooley leads the Irish with an 8.3 rpg. average this season, which includes 3.7 offensive boards per game. He also has a team-high 25 blocked shots, which is a career-high total for the junior.


  • Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins leads the Irish with a 13.3 ppg. average this season. He averaged 5.8 ppg. last season as a freshman.
  • He has scored 20 or more points in a game a team-best three times this season.
  • Atkins has played 40-plus minutes eight times this season. He has played 40 or more minutes in five of six BIG EAST games this season.
  • Atkins has scored in double-figures in 12 of the 17 games he has played in this season. He missed two contests (Sam Houston State & Delaware State) due to illness. He has led Notre Dame in scoring a team-high seven times this season.
  • Atkins is shooting 44.3% (27-61) from three-point range this season.
  • Atkins dished out a career-high nine assists twice this season (Sacred Heart, Dec. 19 & Bryant, Nov. 27).
  • Atkins deposited a career-high 27 points versus Mississippi Valley State in the season opener.


  • 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 (243), assists (89), steals (26) and minutes played (653). His 31 made three-pointers also are a team-high total. Grant is shooting a team-best 76.5% (62-81) from the free throw line this season.
  • Entering this week, Grant ranked sixth nationally – and first in the BIG EAST – with a 3.28 assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Grant has scored in double-figures a team-best 14 times this season. Grant is averaging a team-best 13.0 ppg. in BIG EAST play.
  • He scored a career-high 20 points against both Georgia (Nov. 22) and Maryland (Dec. 4).
  • Grant dished out a career-high nine assists versus Pittsburgh (Dec. 27).
  • Grant posted his first career double-double by notching 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Bryant (Nov. 27).


  • Notre Dame is 10-1 this season when scoring 60 or more points, while the Irish are 1-7 when scoring less than 60 points. The Fighting Irish are averaging 77.0 ppg. in their 11 wins, while they are averaging 57.9 ppg. in the eight losses.
  • Notre Dame is allowing 59.3 ppg. in its wins and 71.4 ppg. in its setbacks.


  • The Fighting Irish have a +4.2 rebound margin in their 11 wins, while they have been out-rebounded by an 8.7 margin in their eight setbacks.
  • Notre Dame is 6-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.


  • Notre Dame has made at least one three-pointer in 427 straight contests dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Fighting Irish have made at least one three pointer during every game of the Mike Brey era. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer in a game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999. Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in that contest. In 2008-09, the Irish set a single-season three-point record with 319.


  • 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.