No. 18 Notre Dame looks to gain a little confidence back with two games remaining before ACC play begins, starting with a visit from Dartmouth on Tuesday night. The Fighting Irish opened the season with six consecutive victories but have dropped three of the last five games after Saturday’s 80-77 overtime setback against Indiana at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
Senior forward Bonzie Colson scored a season-high 29 points in the latest loss, but Notre Dame was outrebounded 41-32 and has given up at least 80 points in each of its three losses after Indiana shot 49.1 percent from the field. “You know we were holding them off for most of the game,” Irish coach Mike Brey told reporters. “But, God, you’ve got to get a couple more defensive rebounds and good block outs to get out of there (with a win).” Colson has averaged 24.7 points over the last three games and recorded double-doubles in each of the past two contests to give him six on the season while senior guard Matt Farrell and sophomore backcourt mate T.J. Gibbs give Notre Dame three strong offensive options. Dartmouth has dropped three of its last four games, including a 76-60 setback against Illinois-Chicago on Friday when the Big Green shot 37.5 percent from the field.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT DARTMOUTH (3-5): The Big Green boasts five players averaging in double figures scoring and four of them will be available against the Irish, led by sophomore guard Brendan Barry (12.4, 21-of-44 from 3-point range). Miles Wright (12.3) and fellow senior guard Taylor Johnson (12.0 points, team-high 3.4 assists) have also contributed on offense while freshman forward Chris Knight (11.4, 57.8 percent shooting) is also a threat. Junior guard Guilien Smith, who is likely out until January with a broken finger, has also chipped in with 10.3 points per contest.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (8-3): Colson is averaging 20.4 points and 9.7 rebounds overall while shooting 52.5 percent from the field and Farrell dishes out a team-high 5.5 assists to go along with 16.4 points per game. Gibbs is scoring 14.5 points per game, including 38 total in his last two outings, and is draining 53.8 percent from 3-point range after making just 17-of-53 during his freshman. The Irish need more from the depth players if they are to achieve their goals and senior forward Martinas Geben has shown flashes, averaging 8.4 points on 71.4 percent shooting.
1. Colson, who boasts 29 double-doubles, needs five rebounds to become the 14th Notre Dame player to reach 800 in his career.
2. The Irish have won all five previous meetings with Dartmouth, including the last matchup 65-47 in 2011.
3. Notre Dame started the week ranked 17th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6) and the Big Green is 172nd (35.3).
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 76, Dartmouth 58