Dec. 27, 2016
WHO: No. 24/24 Notre Dame vs. Saint Peter’s
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, 7:00 p.m. ET
WHERE: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center
WHERE TO WATCH: ACC Network Extra (available via the WatchESPN app) with Mike Monaco (play-by-play) and Nik Valdiserri (anaylst).
WHERE TO LISTEN: Notre Dame Basketball Network with Jack Nolan (play-by-play). Affiliate list available in the game notes.
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team (10-2) will face Saint Peter’s (5-6) in the final non-conference matchup of the season on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 7:00 p.m. ET in Purcell Pavilion.
Here are five things to know about the Fighting Irish – Peacocks matchup:
NOTRE DAME vs. SAINT PETER’S SERIES HISTORY:
Saint Peter’s is located in Jersey City, New Jersey and is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Peacocks are 5-6 in 2016-17, with victories over Lipscomb, Fairleigh Dickinson, Boston University, Manhattan and at St. Francis Brooklyn on Dec. 23.
The Irish are 4-0 all-time against Saint Peter’s, with the initial meeting coming in the 1968 National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 23 (a 81-78 Notre Dame victory). The Peacocks have made three trips to Purcell Pavilion, the most recent in 1999, an 85-67 Notre Dame victory.
BREY IRISH TEAMS 15-1 RETURNING FROM CHRISTMAS:
Notre Dame is 15-1 under Mike Brey in games immediately following the Christmas break (this year the Irish were released to return home on Dec. 20, then returned to campus for a 7 p.m. practice on Christmas Day). The lone setback was a 79-76 loss to No. 23/21 Alabama on Dec. 27, 2001.
PFLUEGER ALLERGIC TO TURNOVERS:
Rex Pflueger enters the game with Saint Peter’s having not turned the ball over once for the Irish this season. In 210 minutes of action, which includes aggressive drives to the basket and stints at running the point for the team, Pflueger has yet to give the ball away to the other team.
In that same time frame, he has 20 assists, 10 steals, seven blocks and has already connected on more three-point field goals (nine) than his entire freshman season (eight) in 2015-16 at a much higher percentage rate (.320 last season, .488 in 2016-17).
Dating back to last season, Pflueger’s last turnover came in the second half against Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA Championship second-round victory (which he sealed with a last-second tip-in). He played another 12 minutes last season without a turnover, pushing his total amount of minutes played, without committing a turnover, over the past two seasons to 222.
THE ULTIMATE WEAPON – GETTING TO THE FREE THROW LINE:
Notre Dame is first in the country (as of Dec. 26) in free throw percentage, shooting 85.6 percent (179-209) from the charity stripe this season. Here are some of the superlatives for the team from its free throw shooting –
- Junior Matt Farell was tied with two other players in the country with a perfect 1.000 shooting percentage from the free throw line as of Dec. 10. Farrell is currently just behind the average attempt per game needed to qualify as the national leader (2.5) but remains perfect from the line this season (27-27).
- Dating back to the 2015-16 season, Farrell has connected on 31 consecutive free throws.
- Farrell is the first Notre Dame player in the Brey era to begin the season connecting on his first 27 free throw attempts.
- Steve Vasturia is currently seventh in the nation for free throw shooting percentage at .943 (33-35).
- Vasturia combines with Bonzie Colson (25th, 49-54, .907) to give Notre Dame the only team in the country with two players in the top 25 for free throw shooting.
- Colson’s 12-for-12 effort at the free throw line against Iowa tied four other ND players with the fourth-best in school history.
- Notre Dame has missed three or less free throws in 11 of 12 games this season and connected on all 14 attempts in the victory over North Carolina A&T and all six attempts against Villanova.
- Over the course of the three games with Iowa, North Carolina A&T and Fort Wayne, Notre Dame combined to hit 31 consecutive free throws as a team.
BREY APPROACHING 700 GAMES:
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has logged 696 career Divison I games coached and is closing in on the 700-game milestone. Brey will become the 35th active Division I coach to reach the 700-win milestone against Clemson on Jan. 7.