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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 9, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Purcell Pavilion (9,149) -- Notre Dame, Indiana. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Bryant 3-1, Notre Dame 6-1. Away Record: Bryant 3-2, Notre Dame 0-1. Neutral Record: Bryant 0-0, Notre Dame 0-0. Conference Record: Bryant 0-0, Notre Dame 0-0. Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Bryant Bulldogs will meet in the Gotham Classic, as the two teams square off at Purcell Pavilion on Monday evening.
Mike Brey's Irish will play three games in a five-day span when they finish regional action of this event with Wednesday's showdown with North Dakota State. Notre Dame moved to 6-2 on the season with Saturday's 80-75 win over Delaware. The Irish will close out the Gotham Classic on Dec. 21 at Madison Square Garden against Ohio State.
The Bulldogs opened up play in this event with a tough 66-62 loss to North Dakota State. The setback was the first at home for Bryant this season. It ended a four-game win streak and dropped the team to 6-3 on the year.
This is just the second all-time meeting between these two teams. The Irish won the only other matchup, an 84-59 victory in 2011.
Dyami Starks erupted for 26 points, but it wasn't enough, as the Bulldogs dropped a four-point decision to NDSU. Bryant shot just .411 from the floor, including a meager .261 from behind the arc. While Starks was certainly responsible for a large portion of Bryant's scoring output, he was also complicit in the team's poor shooting, going 4-of-14 from 3-point range. Alex Francis and Corey Maynard added 15 and 13 points, respectively, in the loss.
The Bulldogs have been much more efficient on the year, shooting .485 overall, leading to 73.6 ppg. Starks is shooting a modest .430 this season, but is averaging a hefty 23.4 ppg. Francis has been extremely efficient, hitting on just over 60 percent of his shots thus far and averaging 16.2 ppg. There isn't much in terms of scoring depth behind Starks and Francis, with Maynard ranked third on the team at just 9.4 ppg.
The Irish have had no problems with scoring depth this season. Notre Dame is shooting an impressive .502 from the field, including .430 from behind the arc, leading to 84.4 ppg. Four of the team's five starters are averaging double figures. Jerian Grant is the driving force for the Irish, averaging team-highs of 19.4 points and 5.9 assists per game. Grant is shooting the lights out, converting 56.7 percent overall, 44.1 percent from behind the arc and 88.2 percent from the free-throw line. Garrick Sherman (14.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg) gives the team balance up front. Eric Atkins (13.6 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Pat Connaughton (12.6 ppg) provide plenty of support.
Grant once again helped deliver Notre Dame a win this past weekend, as he netted 25 points, including a pair of crucial jumps shots down the stretch that led to victory over Delaware. Connaughton recorded a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Sherman finished with 19 points and six boards.
Starks will get his points in this game, but the Bulldogs' lack of scoring options is problematic against a team as balanced as Notre Dame.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 80, Bryant 61
12/09 10:32:11 ET
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