Monmouth Hawks vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Tip-off: Monday, November 12, 2012 – 7:00 PM ET
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, South Bend, IN
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish managed to come out victorious in their opener mainly due to a solid performance by their star and some strong defense.
YouWager experts consider that even when coach Mike Brey was happy with the defense, he would like to see the rest of the basketball team pick it up on offense tonight when the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish host the Monmouth Hawks in another preliminary round game in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Coach Brey would like for Jack Cooley to lead the team, and the preseason All-Big East selection immediately put Notre Dame on his back in Saturday’s opener against the Evansville Purple Aces.
Cooley scored the game’s first nine points and finished with 19 in a 58-49 win. The 6-foot-9 senior, who averaged 12.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in the previous college season, also had 11 boards and blocked a career-best six shots.
Cooley made 5 of his 7 shots, however the rest of the team shot 34.2 percent (13 of 38).
Senior Scott Martin grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds but was 1 of 6 from the floor, while Pat Connaughton missed 6 of 8 shots. As a team, Notre Dame was 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) from 3-point range and also turned the ball over 13 times.
Oddsmakers consider the Fighting Irish could improve on offense, however Brey credited the entire team’s defense with the win. Notre Dame held Evansville to 31.1 percent shooting — 23.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc — and blocked nine shots.
The Irish, which have won 19 consecutive home games over non-conference opponents, will try for a similar defensive effort against the Hawks who have thus far faced little resistance in a season-opening 91-62 win over the Hofstra Pride on Friday.
Monmouth scored 50 points in the first half for the first time since 2009 and shot 50.0 percent for the game. Guard Andrew Nicholas, who averaged 8.8 points as a freshman last season, made it with a career-high 28 points and was 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
If things turn out the same tonight bettors would be impressed given Monmouth’s history against the Irish and against ranked foes.
Notre Dame hasn’t faced the Hawks since a 76-33 win in the 2007 Paradise Jam, and have won the first four basketball games by an average of 33.3 points.
The Hawks have done pretty much the same versus ranked teams since 1999, losing all 10 of its games by an average of 27.9 points