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North Carolina A&T Preview - Five Things To Know

Dec. 2, 2016

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WHO: Notre Dame vs. North Carolina A&T

Sunday, December 4, 2016 | 5:00 p.m. ET

WHERE: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center

TICKETS: BROADCAST INFORMATION: ACC Network Extra with Tony Simeone (play-by-play) and A.J. Burgett (analyst).

AUDIO BROADCAST INFORMATION: Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network, with Jack Nolan (play-by-play) and Zach Hillesland (analyst).

How To Listen/Watch The IrishHere are the Five Things To Know about the Notre Dame – North Carolina A&T matchup on Sunday:


North Carolina A&T is located in Greensboro, North Carolina and is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Aggies have made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and earned the program’s first NCAA victory in 2013, defeating Liberty 73-72 in a First Four game before falling to number-one seeded Louisville.

North Carolina A&T finished the 2015-16 season with a 10-21 record and 7-9 in the MEAC. In 2016-17, the Aggies are 1-5, defeating Greensboro College in their home opener and will face North Dakota State on Friday, Dec. 2.

Sunday will mark the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and North Carolina A&T in men’s basketball.


Ray ‘Dice’ Martin returns to Notre Dame this weekend as an assistant coach with North Carolina A&T. Martin, whose coaching career has ranged over five decades after earning his degree from Notre Dame in 1977, played four years under Digger Phelps, was a team captain and a member of the team that ended UCLA’s 88-game win streak on Jan. 19, 1974.

In that legendary contest Martin, then a freshman, was inserted into the lineup late in the game as the Irish made a stunning comeback over the Bruins. Martin took a charge from Keith Wilkes in the game’s final minute to set up the final game-winning field goal from Dwight Clay.

Martin’s coaching career has seen him criss-cross the country. Early in his career he was a member of Jim Valvano’s 1983 NC State coaching staff that shocked Houston in the NCAA Championship game. Martin was the head coach at Long Island, while also making coaching stops at SMU, Tennessee, Shaw, Florida Atlantic, Miami (Ohio), South Carolina State, UMBC, North Carolina Central and Grambling.

“I would really call him an educator,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey says of Martin. “There’s a lot of young people in the college game, through his different coaching stops, who have benefited from his relationship. He’s one of the good guys in the business. He’s a class act. I think every young person who comes in touch with him feels good about himself.

“Ray Martin was a heck of a basketball player for us and a great guard coming out of New York City. I was younger, but I knew the name Dice Martin, growing up in D.C.”


Junior Bonzie Colson has made the most of a significant increase in playing time this season as Notre Dame’s top option in the post to compile a great start to his third season in an Irish uniform.

In the Legends Classic semifinal victory over Colorado, Colson led the Irish with 22 points and 12 rebounds – while also shooting 9-of-9 at the free throw line and collecting two steals.

He followed up with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game victory over Northwestern while playing a team-high 38 minutes.

The double-double streak continued against Chicago State, as Colson logged 10 points and 11 rebounds.

In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup against Iowa, Colson played perhaps his finest game yet this season, scoring 24 points with a career-high 17 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season and eighth of

his career.


Notre Dame is second in the country (as of Dec. 2) in free throw percentage, shooting 84.5 percent (125-148) from the charity stripe this season.

Here are some of the superlatives for the team from its free throw shooting –

  • Junior Matt Farell is tied with five other players in the country with a perfect 1.000 shooting percentage from the free throw line (19-19).
  • Dating back to the 2015-16 season, Farrell has connected on 23 consecutive free throws.
  • Farrell is the first Notre Dame player in the Brey era to begin the season connecting on their first 19 free throw attempts.
  • Farrell combines with Steve Vasturia (ninth, 20-21, .952) to give Notre Dame the only team in the country with two players in the national top 10 for free throw shooting.
  • Farrell and Vasturia combine with Bonzie Colson (39th, 40-44, .909) to give Notre Dame the only team in the country with three players in the top 40 for free throw shooting.
  • Colson’s 12-for-12 effort at the free throw line against Iowa tied four other ND players for fourth-best in school history.


Notre Dame enters the game against North Carolina A&T with a 7-0 record, the third time in the Mike Brey era (since 2000-01) the Irish have started the year with seven consecutive wins.

The 2010-11 team won its first eight games (also the most recent season the Irish won an in-season tournament – the 2010 Old Spice Classic), while the 2001-02 team won its first seven games.