South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - The red-hot Notre Dame Fighting Irish will
try to keep their momentum going as they host the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons
for a non-conference bout at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
IPFW will be looking to do the opposite as its 74-64 loss to Drake last time
out on Dec. 8 was its second setback in a row. Tony Jasick's squad is now 5-6
overall with a 1-5 mark in road games. Only two of the Mastodons' four
victories have come over Division I foes. Not including its wins over NAIA
programs Rochester (73-56) and Judson (92-22), IPFW is being outscored by 4.8
The Fighting Irish will be putting their seven-game winning streak on the line
in this one. Notre Dame took down Purdue (81-68) on Saturday in Indianapolis
to improve to 9-1 on the season. Mike Brey's team has picked up decisions over
BYU (78-68) and Kentucky (64-50) since suffering its only setback in an
overtime thriller versus Saint Joseph's. The Fighting Irish are 42-1 in their
last 43 games at home and have a current 13-game home winning streak. Notre
Dame is a tough team to deal with on both ends of the floor as it is averaging
74.5 ppg and only giving up 59.3 ppg.
Notre Dame has defeated IPFW in all three previous encounters between the
schools, the last of which took place in the 2006-07 season.
The Mastodons were held under 40 percent shooting from the floor for the third
time in four outings by Drake. They are 4-1 this season when eclipsing that
mark. IPFW also hurt itself by going 17-of-30 at the charity stripe in the
contest. The unit came up short despite a game-high 27-point performance by
senior guard Frank Gaines and a season-high 10-point outing b Michael
Kibiloski. Gaines began the season with a 28.7 ppg average through three games
but was held under 20 points in six consecutive contests before finding his
stroke against the Bulldogs. Senior forward Mario Hines (9.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is
the second most productive player for the Mastodons.
The Fighting Irish opened up the second half of their bout with Purdue on an
18-4 run to take full control of the contest. Brey's team was aggressive as
after attempting six foul shots in the opening 20 minutes, it converted 20-
of-27 at the charity stripe in the second half. Jack Cooley finished with 18
points and nine rebounds. The senior forward enters Monday with team-high
averages of 14.6 points and 11.1 boards per game and is tied for second in the
nation with seven double-doubles. Eric Atkins continued his stellar point
guard play versus Purdue with 17 points, seven assists, and three steals. The
junior is tied for ninth in Division I in assists per game (7.0) after dishing
out 40 helpers with only three turnovers in his last five outings. Notre Dame
also has a few more capable scoring options in Jerian Grant (12.5), Garrick
Sherman (10.2), and Scott Martin (8.4) along with a lock down defender in Pat
Connaughton (30.7 mpg).
The Sports Network