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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allstate Arena (17,500) -- Rosemont, Illinois. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: ND 13-2, DePaul 6-5. Away Record: ND 2-1, DePaul 4-3. Neutral Record: ND 2-1, DePaul 0-2. Conference Record: ND 5-3, DePaul 1-6. Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 58-44.
GAME NOTES: Seeking their first victory in nearly a month, the DePaul Blue Demons turn their attention to the visiting Notre Dame Fighting Irish for a Big East Conference matchup at Allstate Arena.
DePaul is in the midst of a season-long, five-game skid. The Blue Demons rallied from a nine-point deficit to force overtime at St. John's on Wednesday, only to fall in a 79-74 final. Today's contest begins a brief, two- game homestand for the Blue Demons, who will host Villanova on Tuesday.
Notre Dame owns a 17-4 overall mark on the season, although three of those losses have occurred within the last three weeks. However, the Fighting Irish have righted the ship with wins in three of their last four contests. The latest of those victories came this past Wednesday against a surging Villanova squad, 65-60.
UND leads the head-to-head series, 58-44, and these teams will square off again next Wednesday in South Bend, Indiana.
Irish freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid scored 15 of his season-high 18 points in the second half of Wednesday's game to help lift his team to the victory over Villanova. Jack Cooley chipped in with 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Jerian Grant finished with 12 points and 10 assists. It marked the fifth time this season that UND had two players record double-doubles in the same game. The Irish also had 20 assists on 24 field goals and committed only six turnovers. It was the seventh time this season they committed fewer than 10 turnovers in a game. On the season, Cooley is averaging 14.5 points and 11.0 rebounds, the latter of which ranks among the national leaders. Grant (12.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Eric Atkins (11.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) round out Notre Dame's double-digit scorers.
Leading the way for DePaul are juniors Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young. Both players have been in the starting lineup for all 20 games so far this season, and both share team-high scoring honors with 16.7 ppg apiece. Melvin is also pulling down a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game, while Young has a penchant for drawing contact and getting to the charity stripe (team-high 4.5 free throws made per game). Against St. John's earlier this week, Young led all scorers with 21 points, while Melvin tallied 10 points and 13 rebounds. The Blue Demons made 18-of-20 free throws as a team and also held a 52-39 rebounding advantage. However, in a game that featured 11 ties and nine lead changes, the Red Storm scored six straight points over the final two minutes of overtime to seal the outcome.
The Blue Demons boast a solid tandem in Melvin and Young, but from a matchup standpoint, they'll have their hands full with Cooley and company in the paint.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 75, DePaul 65
02/02 10:40:33 ET
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