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Hoyas and Irish tangle in Big East brawl

11:55 AM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish entertain the Georgetown Hoyas in a pivotal Big East Conference clash on Monday night.

This bout marks the 29th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the Hoyas leading the series, 15-13. They won the most recent encounter, 59-41, at home, snapping a three-game losing streak to UND in the process.

The Hoyas had a modest two-game win streak come to an end on Saturday when they allowed South Florida to rally in the second half and capture a 61-58 decision. Georgetown, which has spent time in the national rankings this season, is currently 12-4 overall and with the setback to the Bulls, an even 1-2 in true road tests. The Hoyas will take on No. 1 Louisville in the nation's capital this Saturday.

Georgetown is not a pretty team to watch. In fact, it is one of the weakest offensive teams in the Big East, ranking next-to-last in scoring defense with just 64.1 ppg. However, the Hoyas are one of the top teams in the country at the defensive end (56.3 ppg). They played well defensively their last time out and limited USF to 39.2 percent shooting from the floor, but the Bulls turned 15 turnovers into 20 points to overcome their poor shooting. Otto Porter scored 21 points for Georgetown, but lost control of the ball in the final seconds while the team was working for a game-winning shot. D'Vauntes Smith- Rivera came off the bench to tally 16 points for the Hoyas, who shot 48.9 percent (22-of-45) for the game. Porter paces the squad with 14.3 points and 7.3 boards per game, and Markel Starks adds 11.4 ppg. The team's second- leading scorer, Greg Whittington, is out indefinitely due to academics.

The Fighting Irish snapped a two-game slide on Saturday by fending off the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to pick up 69-66 win. Mike Brey's squad won its first two Big East contests over Seton Hall and Cincinnati before falling to Connecticut and St. John's. The only other blemish on UND's resume' is an overtime loss to Saint Joseph's at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 16.

Notre Dame has found much more success at the offensive end than has its counterpart tonight, as it is scoring 74.6 ppg behind a Big East-leading 50.5 percent shooting effort. The team revolves around senior forward Jack Cooley, who averages a double-double with 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game Cooley paces a group of seven that average 7.3 points or more per tilt. Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins are both scoring in double figures with 12.4 and 12.3 ppg, respectively. The junior guards are making a substantial contribution with their passing ability, with Atkins ranking third in the conference in assists per game (6.7), while Grant checks in sixth (5.4) to help Notre Dame dish out 19.1 helpers per outing, which ranks second nationally.

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