Hartford seeks upset of No. 14 Notre Dame

Dec 30, 2014 - 3:34 PM South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The 14th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will close out non-conference play and try to extend an eight-game win streak at the same time as they play host to the Hartford Hawks Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.

Hartford brings a 7-5 overall record into the contest against the Irish, which includes a 3-2 mark on the road this season. The Hawks have won two of their last three games, with a loss to Rider (63-61) sandwiched between wins over Holy Cross (79-61) and FIU (82-69).

Notre Dame continues to build on a strong start to the new season, and eight consecutive wins to reach a 12-1 record is a great way to do it. The Fighting Irish easily took down their last two opponents, outscoring Purdue (94-63) and Northern Illinois (91-66) by at least 25 points in each outing.

This contest between the Hawks and Fighting Irish will mark the first-ever time the sides will meet on the basketball court in history.

By the time the first half ended against FIU, Hartford owned a 42-31 lead over the Panthers, which the home squad would only build on in the second frame. Hartford connected on 45.8 percent of its shots from the floor, and got a double-digit scoring effort from five players in the lopsided win. Yolonzo Moore II led the way with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Taylor Dyson (16 points), Mark Nwakamma (15), Corban Wroe (12) and Wes Cole (11) all contributed heavily to the Hawks' win.

Oddly enough, Hartford enters this game against Notre Dame with just two players averaging scoring figures in the double digits. Nwakamma leads the team with 12.9 ppg, and Moore adds in 11.3 ppg while Dyson (9.7 ppg) is just on the outside looking in. The Hawks as a unit are scoring only 62.8 ppg, which means the 82-point outburst against FIU was an outlier. Nwakamma owns a 5.1 rpg mark to best the team, and Moore's 38 assists on the season are the most for the Hawks.

It seemed Notre Dame could do no wrong in the win over Northern Illinois last Monday. The home squad netted 58.9 percent of its shot attempts from the floor, and connected on 12-of-28 from 3-point range in the win. Five players netted a double-digit point total, led by Pat Connaughton's double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Zach Auguste and Demetrius Jackson each chipped in with 16 points, while Jerian Grant added 11 points and six assists. Steve Vasturia contributed 10 points with six boards in 29 minutes of action to help the Irish score a second consecutive 90-point effort.

It doesn't matter which side of the floor the ball is on for Notre Dame, because the Irish have been absolutely dominant at both ends. Notre Dame is netting an impressive 86.1 ppg this season on 55.6 percent shooting from the floor, and is holding opponents to just 60.9 ppg. Grant tops the team with 17.6 ppg and 6.2 apg, and is tailed in the scoring department by Auguste (14.8 ppg), Jackson (14.2 ppg) and Connaughton (13.8 ppg), who also owns a team-best 8.3 rpg mark.

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