NOTRE DAME VS. MONMOUTH
Where: Purcell Pavillion (9,149), at Notre Dame
Records & Rankings: 1-0 and No. 20 Notre Dame; 1-0 Monmouth.
Time/TV: 7 p.m. EST on ESPN3.
Last Meeting: This is the fifth meeting between the two programs, with Notre Dame coming into the contest 4-0 against the Hawks. The Irish beat Monmouth 76-33 in the 2007 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Notre Dame Notes
The Irish opened their 13th season under head coach Mike Brey with a 58-49 home victory over Evansville Saturday. Like that contest, tonight’s is part of the preliminary rounds of the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic.
Notre Dame has won 19 consecutive games at home against non-conference opponents. As a team vs. Evansville, the Irish were 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) from 3-point range and committed 13 turnovers. The Irish held the Purple Aces to 31.1-percent shooting, 23.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line and blocked nine shots.
Jack Cooley — The senior forward paced Notre Dame in the opener with 19 points and added 11 rebounds. The 6-9 player averaged 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds last season en route to Big East Conference Most Improved Player honors.
Eric Atkins — The junior point guard was 2-for-6 from the field against Evansville for seven points, four assists and four rebounds.
Jerian Grant — The junior guard shot 50 percent from the field for 11 points Saturday vs. Evansville.
Pat Connaughton — The sophomore guard made just 1 of 6 3-point attempts for five points, adding five boards (four defensive) and three assists.
Scott Martin — The sixth-year senior guard grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds (15 defensive) in the opener, but couldn’t get much going offensively. He finished with just six points on 1-for-6 shooting.
Monmouth cruised to a season-opening 91-62 victory over Hofstra on Friday. The Hawks shot 50 percent for the game and put up 50 points in the opening half for the first time since 2009.
Sophomore guard Andrew Nicholas poured in 28 points (20.8 more than his season average last year), and knocked down 4 of 8 attempts from 3-point land. He’ll need a similar effort against the Irish, which have won the last four matchups with the Hawks by an average of 33.3 points.
Monmouth tied for fifth place in the Northeastern Conference in 2011-12 and claimed the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament. The Hawks won nine of their last 12 games last season to finish 12-20 overall and 10-8 in the NEC. Monmouth posted its first NEC regular season winning record since its championship season in 2005-06.
Monmouth faced three nationally ranked opponents last year, including No. 25 Harvard at home. The Hawks also traveled to No. 22 Vanderbilt in November and No. 6 North Carolina on New Year's Day. The Hawks lost those three contests by an average of 22.7 points. Since 1999, the Hawks are 0-10 against ranked teams with an average margin of defeat of 27.9 points.
Morgan’s prediction: Notre Dame 77, Monmouth 63