Game Preview: Liberty

Notre Dame's basketball team takes the court for the second time in 42 hours for today's matchup vs. Big South opponent Liberty.

Game Preview: Notre Dame vs. Liberty

Team Records: Notre Dame (1-0; 23-12 in 2009-10). Liberty (1-0; 15-16 in 2009-10)

Tip-off: 2:00 PM EST

Last Meeting: Notre Dame used a 10-0 run to down the Flames, 91-72 last November. The Flames trailed by just eight points at intermission in a game played in South Bend but as part of the Thanksgiving week Chicago Invitational. Luke Harangody led all scorers with 32 points while returning forwards Tyrone Nash and Tim Abromaitis scored 12 apiece for the Irish as did current Flames guard Evan Gordon.

Stat to Note: Each of the 11 scholarship Irish that appeared in the team's season-opening win over Georgia Southern scored. Notre Dame buried the Eagles, 98-61 after racing to a 37-5 and 58-14 advantage in the first 17 minutes.

Early Season Quote to Note: "They have five assistant coaches on the floor; (Ben) Hansbrough's…not fair." – GA Southern coach Charlton Young after his youth-filled Eagles were overwhelmed by Mike Brey's Irish in the teams' season opener Friday night.

Point Spread: Not yet available

Notre Dame Starters and Key Contributors

The Irish placed just three players in double figures in Friday's season-opening win over Georgia Southern but enjoyed between 5 and 9 points from the remaining eight contributors.

  • Forward: 6'8" 218-pound senior Carleton Scott – Attempted just three shots in the opener but led the Irish with 7 rebounds (6 defensive)…Scored 6 points, dished out 4 assists and recorded a steal though was relegated to the bench on occasion with four fouls in 22 minutes of action.
  • Forward: 6'8" 235-pound senior Tim Abromaitis – Struggled to find the range Friday night, hitting just 2 of 13 shots including a 1 for 7 effort from beyond the arc…Connected on 5 of 6 free throws to finish with 11 points as well as 5 rebounds and a career-best 3 assists in 22 minutes.
  • Forward/Center: 6'8" 232-pound senior Tyrone Nash – Hit 2 of 3 shots and 3 of 4 free throws for 7 points in 22 minutes…Contributed 2 rebounds, an assist and a steal while often working as the team's second ball-handler vs. the Georgia Southern full-court press.
  • Guard/Forward: 6'8" 219-pound senior Scott Martin – Missed five of seven shot attempts including each of his three 3-point offerings in his Irish regular season debut…Finished with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers in 22 minutes.
  • Guard: 6'3" 203-pound senior Ben Hansbrough – Led the Irish with 20 points on an efficient 7-10 shooting performance including a 4-7 mark from long range…Grabbed 3 board, dished out a game-high 4 assists and totaled 2 steals in a team-high 24 minutes.

Key Reserves:

  • Guard: 6'2" 173-pound freshman Eric Atkins – Finished with 9 points on 4-4 shooting in his first regular season game…Played 22 minutes off the bench and added 3 assists (vs. 2 turnovers) to go with 3 boards in his debut.
  • Forward: 6'6" 215-pound sophomore Joey Brooks – Hit 3 of 7 shots in 19 minutes to finish with 7 points and 3 boards…Added a game and career-high 3 steals along with 2 assists and just 1 turnover.
  • Center/Forward: 6'9" 244-pound sophomore Jack Cooley – Posted career-bests of 16 minutes, 11 points and 6 rebounds in Friday's opening win…Connected on 4 of 5 field goal attempts and each of his 3 free throws…Recorded a steal, block and assist as well to rank as the only Irish player notching a stat in each of the five major categories.
  • Forward: 6'9" 248-pound sophomore Mike Broghammer – Scored 5 points in 11 minutes on 2 of 6 shooting from the field…Added a blocked shot, 2 boards and 4 fouls as well as yet another physical presence for the massive Irish lineup.
  • Swingman: 6'8" 215-pound freshman Alex Dragicevich – Netted 9 points in 10 minutes during his first collegiate appearance…Air-balled his first three-point offering but connected on his next while adding a 4-4 effort from the charity stripe…Grabbed 3 boards including one offensive in his first game off the bench.
  • Center: 6'10" 253-pound sophomore Tom Knight – Hit each of his three field goal attempts and his only free throw en route to 7 points and 3 rebounds in his first collegiate appearance (Knight was withheld from action as a true freshman last season)…Also recorded his first assist in 9 minutes of action.

Meet the Flames

Liberty opened its season with an 82 to 65 win over Virginia Intermont Friday Night.

After a poor regular season start in 2009-10, the Flames carved out a 10-8 mark in Big South Conference play and return four starters this winter, plus six of the team's top eight scorers from last season's unit. Head coach Dale Layer's first season at the helm featured a group that never lost back-to-back games over its final 25 contests

Point guard Jesse Sanders was the only Big South player to lead his team in both rebounding (6.7 per game) and assists (4.9) while adding 8.1 points per contest. The 6'3" junior features an aggressive style reminiscent of his counterpart in today's contest, Irish senior Ben Hansbrough, as both players drive to the hole with authority, hit the defensive boards and challenge their opponent for 40 minutes each night.

Liberty's top offensive threat is off-guard Evan Gordon, whose brother Eric plays for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. Gordon netted 12 points per game last season, hitting exactly his average in last November's loss to the Irish. 6'4" forward Jeremy Anderson is recovering from his fifth surgery in four seasons (knee and ankle this past off-season) after averaging 6.1 points last winter while connecting on 34.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Gordon scored 23 points in the season-opening win Friday while sophomore transfer John Brown – who sat out last season after matriculating from CIT – netted 18 points with 17 boards vs. Virginia Intermont, an NAIA opponent (for those in the South Bend area, Bethel College is traditionally a top NAIA program). Liberty shot just 37 percent in the contest including a 6-27 errant effort from beyond the arc.

Prediction: Notre Dame 90 Liberty 71 Top Stories