Restart

Grant and the Irish struggled at MSG last year

Notre Dame looks to bounce back from its upset loss to Connecticut Saturday in South Bend with tonight's tussle against St. John's in Madison Square Garden -- a regular season house of horrors for Mike Brey's Irish in recent years.

The World's Most Famous Arena has not been kind to Notre Dame, at least not in the winter months.

Over the last three basketball seasons, Mike Brey's Irish have dropped two to the Red Storm in their home away from home, both games were ugly losses including a 61-58 defeat last February that snapped Notre Dame's program record nine-game conference winning streak.

The Irish are 5-7 all-time vs. the Red Storm at MSG, a mark that includes losses in four straight. Brey is 7-7 vs. St. John's in his 13 seasons at the helm.

"The reasons we haven't played well there is that they've pressured us, we've turned the ball over," said Brey. "They're going to play that zone, but they (also) have that shot-blocker back there. We're going to have to make some shots...Then we're going to have to guard some guards that can go (quick feet)."

The shot-blocker Brey referenced is true freshman Chris Obekpa, who leads the nation with 5.1 blocks per contest.

St. John's (9-7, 1-3) has looked intermittently solid, as it did in a January 3 upset at then-No. 14 Cincinnati, 53-52 -- and terrible -- most recently in Saturday's blowout home loss to No. 19 Georgetown (67-51).

A win tonight would match the best 17-game start of the Brey era when his 2006-07 Irish likewise began 15-2 en route to a

"This league is all about how you can bounce back. And we're going to be in (that situation) a lot," said Brey. "You're back to reality and you're scratching and clawing on the road. I like that fact that we have two at home after (this).

"Can we bounce back up there against a team that's cornered?"

Of Note

Notre Dame is hitting at a 50.8 percent clip from the floor through 16 games, ranking first in the Big East and fifth nationally…

-- The Irish also rank first in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (41.8) and ninth nationally…

- 6th-year senior Scott Martin has hit 10 of his last 15 three-point offerings and 31 of 62 from long range this season. Martin shot just 26 percent from beyond the arc last year…

- Freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid has hit on seven straight three-point field goal attempts including a 1-1 effort in Saturday's loss to Connecticut…

- Senior Jack Cooley ranks fourth in the Big East in field goal percentage (61.1), first in rebounds (11.1), first in offensive rebounds per game (4.8), and seventh in blocked shots (1.4 per game). Backup center Garrick Sherman is just ahead of Cooley on the field goal percentage chart at 61.9 percent…

- Martin and Cooley both scored 18 points in last year's loss to the Red Storm; a 4 for 31 team shooting effort from beyond the arc proved too much to overcome…

- Junior point guard Eric Atkins has a 3.65 assist-to-turnover ratio this season, markedly better than his 1.83 ratio last winter…

- Junior combo guard Jerian Grant is a combined 9 for 35 in the team's two defeats this season. Grant his jut 5 of 18 shots Saturday vs. Connecticut and was 4 for 17 in a mid-November loss to St. Joseph's in Brooklyn. A 45 percent shooter this season, Grant was just 5 of 29 from the field in Notre Dame's three late-season losses to St. John's, Georgetown, and Louisville last season…

- Sophomore swingman Pat Connaughton hit for just seven points on 3 of 12 shooting in last February's loss to the Johnnies. Notre Dame is 5-0 in Big East play when Connaughton hits for double figures…

- According to renown basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy, 6'9" St. John's freshman Chris Obekpa leads the nation in block percentage, nullifying 18.5 percent of foes' attempts. He likewise leads the nation at 5.1 blocks per game…

- Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison leads the Red Storm in scoring, 20.6 per game, including a 36-point outburst in an overtime loss to Villanova earlier this month…

- The Irish have been installed as 5.5-point favorites for tonight's contest. Notre Dame was a 6-point favorite in last year's upset loss to the Red Storm, a 3-point favorite in its January 2011 defeat, and an 8.5-point favorite when it fell at Madison Square Garden vs. St. John's in 2009.

ScoutMarylandPreps.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Forums


1 Fans online
    Join The Conversation

    Tweets