Irish set sights on Red Storm in Big East battle

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The No. 20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to bounce back in the Big Apple as they take on the St. John's Red Storm in a Big East Conference tilt at Madison Square Garden.

The Fighting Irish had their 12-game winning streak snapped on Saturday with a 65-58 loss to Connecticut. The loss also ended the team's 17-game home winning streak. Mike Brey's squad won its first two Big East contests over Seton Hall (93-74) and Cincinnati (66-60) before falling to the Huskies, and its only other blemish on the resume is an overtime loss to Saint Joseph's at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Steve Lavin's Red Storm is in a slump with only one win in the last five appearances. St. John's lost its second straight on Saturday when it dropped a 67-51 decision to Georgetown at home, where it is now 7-3.

This will be the 39th meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Notre Dame enters with a narrow 20-18 all-time series lead.

Notre Dame has been finding success this season due to its efficiency on both ends of the floor. The team revolves around senior forward Jack Cooley, who averages a double-double with 15.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Offensively, Cooley paces a group of seven that average 7.9 points or more per game. Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins are both scoring in double figures with 12.6 and 11.6 points per game, respectively. The junior guards are making a substantial contribution with their passing ability. Atkins is second in the conference in assists per game (7.1), while Grant ranks sixth (5.2) to help Notre Dame dish out 19.1 helpers per outing, which ranks second nationally.

The Red Storm are near the basement in the Big East in scoring with only 67.9 points per game after they were held below the 60-point mark over the last three outings. Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison is second in the league in scoring at 20.6 ppg, but he was held to just seven by Georgetown and has gone 8-of-27 from the field over his last two outings. The Hoyas held SJU to 35.6 percent shooting from the floor and the Red Storm did not help themselves by going 6-of-16 at the free throw line. Freshman forward Jakarr Sampson has been excellent lately, with 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per tilt over his last three.