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Notre Dame Basketball: St. Francis Brooklyn Game Preview

The Fighting Irish look to bounce back after their first loss of the season

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered their first loss of the season in a tough game against the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans on Thursday. The Irish were simply outmatched by the more physical Spartans, getting out-rebounded 42-21 while shooting 44 percent from the field. There’s a lot to be learned from playing in a game like this, and fortunately the Irish get a chance to bounce back quickly. On Sunday, they will return home for the first time in 16 days to face the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers of the North Eastern Conference.

Quick Facts:

  • #BreysChase: Mike Brey is still six wins away from becoming Notre Dame’s all-time coaching wins leader.
  • Founded in 1896, St. Francis is the oldest collegiate program in New York City.
  • The Terriers are one of only four original Division I schools to never play in the NCAA Tournament since it began in 1948.
  • This will be the third meeting between the Irish and the Terriers, with Notre Dame leading the all-time series 2-0.
  • Notre Dame will be road tested by the time they get to ACC play, with seven of their first 13 games being played away from home.
  • Bonzie Colson is filling the stat sheet, ranking in the top five in scoring, rebounds, steals, and blocked shots among ACC players, the only player in the conference to do so.

Where: Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, IN

When: Sunday, Dec. 3, 2:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ACC Network Extra, available anywhere the WatchESPN app is accessible, with Nik Valdiserri and Luke Zeller.

Notre Dame Basketball Radio network with Jack Nolan and LaPhonso Ellis. Available locally at WSBT-AM 960/FM 96.1, via network affiliates.

St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (2-5)

Historically a competitive team in the NEC, St. Francis Brooklyn is trying to recover from its worst season in recent memory. The 2016-17 Terriers finished dead last in the conference with a record of 2-16, and 4-27 overall. They ended the season on a 16-game losing streak despite having three of the top 25 scorers in the conference.

But the Terriers have several reasons to believe this season will be much better. After only one senior departed, they are returning eight players including both leading scorers Rasheem Dunn and Glenn Sanabria. The guard tandem combined for 26 points and seven rebounds per game last year while tallying 123 assists and 80 steals between them. Through the first seven games, Dunn (14.2 ppg) and Sanabria (9.3 ppg) are first and third on the team in scoring, respectively.

The team’s second leading scorer is breakout freshman guard Jalen Jordan, who was named NEC freshman of the week back on Nov. 20. Jordan is averaging 12.7 points per game and leads the team in three-point shooting at 43.9 percent. Senior forward Jagos Lasic from Serbia and junior forward Josh Nurse round out the starting five. Nurse is the tallest Terrier at 6-foot-10 but has struggled to stay out of foul trouble.

St. Francis head coach Glenn Braica has shown that he will use every player on his team in some capacity, with 12 of them averaging double-digit minutes per game. The team is filled with New-Yorkers, and Braica’s program has become known for its aggressive man-to-man defense. They have held opponents to 30 percent shooting from behind the arc with a turnover margin of +2.3 and an average of 7.7 steals per game.

Terrier to Watch:

Rasheem Dunn, G, Sophomore

After winning a state championship at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, Dunn came off the bench for most of his freshman year at St. Francis. He worked his way into the rotation, earning 11 starts late in the season, and wound up leading the team in scoring. Now the 6-foot-2 combo guard is the Terriers’ primary scoring weapon. Dunn is an aggressive guard who gets to the rim and rebounds well for his position. He is shooting poorly from three-point range but makes the most of his opportunities at the free-throw line.

Irish X-Factor:

Matt Farrell, G, Senior

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

On thing that was very clear in Notre Dame’s loss to Michigan State: Farrell can’t afford to be cold. He did not score in the first half and the Irish shot just 38 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep. That is well below the standard they have been playing at in 2017. Though it’s great to have a clutch second-half player like Farrell who thrives late in games, he needs to work on making shots sooner. This team is really, really good when he plays like he did against Chaminade. I think Farrell should come out ready to attack against St. Francis and set the tone.

Prediction:

Notre Dame 87 - St. Francis Brooklyn 60

This game should not be close for any significant amount of time. I look forward to seeing how Brey gets his guys to respond after their first loss. A dominant win is exactly what they need to get back in the groove.