Notre Dame-St. Joseph's Preview

NOTRE DAME VS. ST. JOSEPH’S
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Records & Rankings: No. 20 Notre Dame (2-0); St. Joseph’s (1-0).
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m. EST on TruTV.
Last Meeting: This is the second meeting between the two schools. The Fighting Irish beat the Hawks 68-65 on Dec. 29, 1992, as part of the Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans.

The Irish look to improve to 3-0 tonight against St. Joseph's in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Notre Dame Notes
The trip to Brooklyn is part of the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic. Notre Dame will either play Florida State or BYU Saturday in either the title or third-place game.

The No. 20 Fighting Irish are off to a 2-0 start after beating Evansville and Monmouth in home games — which served as CVC preliminary rounds — by a combined 36 points. Senior forward Jack Cooley poured in a game-high 19 points in the opener, and senior center Garrick Sherman scored a career-best 22 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds. Freshman forward Cam Biedscheid had 16 combined points through the first two contests, and classmate Zach Auguste got his first run with the Irish against Monmouth after an early-season ankle injury, scoring four points and securing three boards.

Notre Dame is shooting 48 percent from the field, 26 percent from 3-point range and 60 percent from the foul line.

Probable starters:

Jack Cooley — The forward is averaging 17.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Eric Atkins — Off to a slow start, the junior point guard has scored just six points per game and dished out a total of nine assists.

Jerian Grant — Like Atkins, the junior guard is trying to find his rhythm early in the year, averaging eight points, 2.5 assists and two rebounds per contest so far.

Pat Connaughton — The sophomore had connected on 4 of 14 3-point attempts and is third on the team with nine points per game.

Scott Martin — The sixth-year senior leads the team with 25 rebounds (22 defensive) and is scoring seven points per outing.

Sixth Man

Garrick Sherman — The senior’s 12.5 points off the bench is second only to Cooley. He made 8 of 10 shots against Monmouth and leads the team with 82-percent shooting from the charity stripe (9-for-11).

St. Joseph’s Overview

The Hawks finished with a 20-14 record in 2011-12, losing to St. Bonaventure in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament and dropping a 67-65 decision to Northern Iowa in the National Invitational Tournament. Saint Joseph's, which returns all five starters from last season, was chosen as the preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10, earning 11 first-place votes from the conference's head coaches and media.

Junior guard and team captain Langston Galloway paced the team in its 61-35 season-opening victory against Yale with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Junior forward Ronald Roberts and classmate Halil Kanacevic (forward) each notched double-doubles against Yale, with Kanacevic registering 11 points and 11 rebounds and Roberts finishing with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Hawks' defense limited Yale to just 25-percent shooting, and the 35 points allowed was the lowest by St. Joseph’s since the shot clock was instituted in 1985.

Outlook

Notre Dame has yet to fire on all cylinders, with Atkins and Grant struggling offensively. Once the Fighting Irish get the junior guard duo back on track, they could become a high-scoring outfit. Freshman Biedscheid has shown early on that he can not only contribute off the bench, but create open looks for his teammates and even carry the team in scoring while he spells starters. Sherman and Cooley form the kind of frontcourt tag-team that hasn’t been seen in South Bend for a long time. The two will get minutes on the floor together, but Sherman has mostly seen the floor when Cooley was either in foul trouble or needed a breather. Either way, Notre Dame is in good hands down low.

Morgan’s prediction: Notre Dame 74, St. Joseph’s 59.

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