IPFW vs Notre Dame

Time: 07:00 P.M. EST
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Notre Dame appears to be hitting its stride just before conference play.

Already playing stellar defense, the Fighting Irish's offense seems to be catching up.

No. 22 Notre Dame will try for its 26th consecutive non-conference home victory Monday night when it hosts IPFW, the first of three straight favorable matchups in South Bend leading up to the start of Big East play.

The Irish (9-1) have played solid defense all season, particularly when they held then-No. 8 Kentucky to 50 points and 40.4 percent shooting. The team's seven straight wins have all come by double-digit margins as the offense is starting to catch fire, too.

Notre Dame surpassed 80 points for the third time in four games in an 81-68 win against Purdue on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Leading scorer Jack Cooley (14.6 points per game) scored a team-high 18, but he received plenty of help. Three other players - Eric Atkins, Pat Connaughton and Garrick Sherman - each scored 11 or more while Jerian Grant added nine along with eight assists and seven rebounds.

Notre Dame has been efficient with the basketball, recording a 1.72 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks second in the nation. The Irish average just 10.9 turnovers a game.

"We are playing very well, especially on the offensive end," said Cooley, one of the nation's leading rebounders at 11.1 per game.

"Our defense was good at the beginning of the year, and now our offense is catching up to where our defense was. We are flowing very well, and we're just playing really well on offense. No one is being selfish, and that is great to see."

The Irish don't force a lot of turnovers - just 11.3 per game - but still manage to stifle their opponents. They're holding foes to 59.3 points per game on 37.9 percent shooting, also yielding just 5.2 made 3-pointers per contest.

"We have a great frame of mind," coach Mike Brey said. "These guys love playing together, and they do play beautifully together. How they move the ball, cut and share it. I love that we have had a defensive identity from the beginning of the season.

"Our offensive identity has just kicked in. We can still get better."

IPFW (5-6) hasn't played since Dec. 8, when it took its second straight defeat with a 74-64 loss at Drake despite leading scorer Frank Gaines (20.0 ppg) tallying a game-high 27 points. The Mastodons committed a season-high 21 turnovers, shot 35.6 percent from the floor and never led against the Bulldogs.

Notre Dame holds a 3-0 edge in the series, including a 92-49 victory in the most recent meeting in 2006. IPFW is 0-37 all-time against major-conference teams and 0-8 against ranked squads.

The Irish, who have won 42 of their last 43 at home, will play two other favorable home games - against Kennesaw State and Niagara - before hosting Seton Hall on Jan. 5 to open conference play.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Summit League
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
No. Dak. St.6-114-682
Denver4-312-8196
South Dakota4-313-9151
Neb.-Omaha4-411-10126
IPFW3-414-7129
IUPUI3-49-12211
Oral Roberts3-47-14230
Western Ill.3-46-12317
S. Dak. St.2-59-13269
ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Florida St.6-118-29
N. Carolina6-118-311
Notre Dame6-117-320
Virginia5-215-317
Louisville4-316-48
Duke3-315-416
Va. Tech3-314-456
Wake Forest3-412-727
Georgia Tech3-411-896
Syracuse3-411-9134
Miami (Fla.)2-412-675
NC State2-513-755
Boston College2-59-11181
Pittsburgh1-512-736
Clemson1-511-739

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