Eighth-ranked Notre Dame rebounded from its first loss to notch a solid victory and looks to record another win when it hosts Ball State on Tuesday. The Fighting Irish were handed an 18-point loss by Michigan State on Thursday and then won by a similar margin Sunday when it registered a 71-53 win over St. Francis (N.Y.).
Notre Dame is 9-0 all-time against Ball State but this is the first time the schools have met since Jan. 14, 1976 despite being located less than 150 miles apart. Senior All-America forward Bonzie Colson has fueled the Irish’s strong starts with averages of 18.8 points and 9.8 rebounds and already has four double-doubles. The 53 points allowed against St. Francis matched a season low and marked the fourth time Notre Dame has allowed fewer than 60 points this season. Ball State has won three consecutive games by an average of 17 points, including an 83-64 win over IUPUI on Saturday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT BALL STATE (4-4): Junior guard Tayler Persons leads the Cardinals with averages of 15.3 points and 4.5 assists while sophomore forwards Kyle Mallers (averages of 12 points and 4.9 rebounds) and Tahjai Teague (10.9 points, team-best 7.6 rebounds) also average in double digits. Junior center Trey Moses is rounding into shape from a hamstring injury and had 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the victory over IUPUI. “It was tough coming back at first, because I expected to come back and be my old self,” Moses, who averaged 9.2 points and 8.3 rebounds, told reporters. “... Then I come back and I‘m not really doing anything. It hurt my confidence a little bit at first.”
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (7-1): Senior center Martinas Geben was superb in the victory against St. Francis by scoring a career-best 14 points, matching his career high of 10 rebounds and posting his first double-double. “All the hard work, all the prayers, everything’s paying off,” Geben said in the postgame press conference after raising his season averages to 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. “My teammates and my coaches are trusting me. If I can play well and the team wins, that’s going to make me happy. It’s going to make everybody happy.” Senior guard Matt Farrell (15.9 average) and sophomore guard TJ Gibbs (14.3) join Colson as players scoring in double digits.
1. Notre Dame’s nine previous victories over Ball State are by an average of 28.8 points.
2. Mallers posted his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds in the win over IUPUI.
3. Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey (389 wins) is five away from surpassing the school record held by Digger Phelps (1971-91).
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 85, Ball State 66