BYU (2-1) vs. (20) Notre Dame (2-1)
Saturday, November 17, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (17,734) -- Brooklyn, New York.
Television: TruTV. Home Record: BYU 2-0, ND 2-0. Away Record: BYU 0-0, ND 0-0.
Neutral Record: BYU 0-1, ND 0-1. Conference Record: BYU 0-0, ND 0-0. Series
Record: Notre Dame leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars and the 20th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will
meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn tonight with third place in the
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on the line.
BYU's season started out about as well as it could have hoped for, with home
wins against Tennessee State (81-66) and Georgia State (80-62). Those
victories earned the Cougars a trip east for the semifinals of this event, but
they ran into a hot-shooting Florida State team and were relegated to this
matchup following an 88-70 loss.
Notre Dame has had nearly an identical start to the season, with a pair of
wins at home over Evansville (58-49) and Monmouth (84-57) before falling in
a semifinal matchup to Saint Joseph's. The Irish were actually in position to
win on Friday night, but they surrendered the final eight points of regulation
to force overtime, and they ultimately fell, 79-70.
The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series with BYU, 4-3. The teams have
split a pair of games played on a neutral court.
After putting up back-to-back 80-point performances to start the season, BYU
struggled from the field against Florida State by draining just 33.3 percent
of its field goal attempts, including only 6-of-25 from beyond the arc. The
effort at the defensive end wasn't up to snuff either, as FSU drained 29-of-50
shots from the floor (.580). Despite the loss, the Cougars still had a few
bright spots, highlighted by another outstanding performance from Tyler Haws.
The sophomore guard tallied 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field
while also adding nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Haws' start to
the season has been spectacular, as he's averaging 22.3 ppg on better than 53
percent field goal shooting. Right on Haws' heels for the scoring lead is
Brandon Davies (21.0 ppg), and he put together another impressive effort
against FSU with 19 points, five boards and two blocks. Brock Zylstra and
Craig Cusick each chipped in 10 points in the recent setback.
For the second time in three games this season, Notre Dame put forth a rather
lackluster effort at the offensive end of the floor. By making fewer than 40
percent of its total shots against Saint Joseph's, Notre Dame is sitting with
a field goal percentage of .387 on the season. The good news for the Irish is
that their three-point efficiency increased on Friday night, as they drained
10-of-28 from beyond the arc. Continuing his fast start was forward Jack
Cooley, who tallied a true double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Cooley has clearly become the focal point of this Irish team in the early
going, as he leads them in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (11.3 rpg)
while also swatting away a team-best eight shots. Eric Atkins also recorded a
double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Scott Martin (13 points), Pat
Connaughton (11 points) and Jerian Grant (10 points) rounded out a starting
five that all scored in double figures.
Surely, both these team's spirits are deflated after each missed out on the
championship game, but it's never too early to start thinking about quality
wins for an NCAA Tournament resume'. BYU has an impressive inside-outside duo
in Haws and Davies, but it cannot compete with the depth that Notre Dame
brings to the table, giving the Irish the slight advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 77, BYU 74
11/17 10:35:01 ET
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