Notre Dame looks to bounce back vs. St. Francis (N.Y.)
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — No. 5 Notre Dame will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it hosts St. Francis (N.Y.) on Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
The Fighting Irish (6-1) will play on their home court for the first time in 16 days as they try to improve to 3-0 in South Bend. Notre Dame is eager for a good performance to help it erase the memory of an ugly 81-63 loss at No. 3 Michigan State on Thursday night.
In the defeat, Notre Dame was outrebounded 42-21 and allowed the Spartans to shoot 51.7 percent from the field.
“It was a great reality check for us,” Fighting Irish forward Bonzie Colson said to the South Bend Tribune. “It’s great for us to get those reality checks out early. We’ve got a lot of growth to do. … We’re not a finished product.”
The next task for Notre Dame will come against St. Francis (2-5), a Brooklyn-based squad that has lost back-to-back games against Manhattan and Duquesne. The Terriers’ two wins have been over the College of New Rochelle and Brown.
Terriers coach Glenn Braica said his team could benefit in the long term by playing a highly ranked team in a hostile environment.
“We’re again looking at another tough nonconference schedule this year,” Braica said on the team’s official website. “There are some tough road games in there, especially our trip out to Notre Dame. Hopefully, with so many new faces, we’ll have learned our lessons early in the season and be better prepared for our Northeast Conference games.”
Notre Dame is led by Colson, who is averaging just shy of a double-double with 19.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Guards Matt Farrell (16.4 points, 4.7 assists) and T.J. Gibbs (14.9 points, 3.1 assists) also have been important contributors.
Gibbs already has three 20-point performances this year and scored a career-high 26 points in a win over LSU. Farrell has made a 3-pointer in 31 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
On the season, the Fighting Irish are shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.
St. Francis features several talented young players, including guard Jalen Jordan, who was named the NEC rookie of the week two weeks ago. He scored 22 points and made 6 of 11 3-point attempts in his team’s home-opening win over Brown. Jordan is averaging 12.7 points per game, which is second on the team behind sophomore guard Rasheem Dunn (14.2 points).
The Terriers are shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 29.0 percent from 3-point range this season.
This is the third all-time meeting between the programs and the first since Mike Brey took over as coach of Notre Dame heading into the 2000-01 season. Notre Dame has won both previous matchups, including a 71-49 victory on Dec. 5, 1983, and a 99-88 victory on Dec. 27, 1998. Both games took place at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish are 27-0 in program history against schools from the NEC.