No. 9 Notre Dame looks to stay ideal at home

Henrietta Strickland
December 7, 2017

No. 18 West Virginia 68, No. 15 Virginia 61 • Jevon Carter had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Lamont West scored 22 points and West Virginia beat Virginia Tuesday night, sending the visiting Cavaliers to their first loss. The Cardinals improved to 5-4 and dropped the Irish to 7-2. Furthermore, the Irish kept the Michigan State's starters at bay, allowing just two points to the starting five in the first half and ultimately a total of 12 in the game. "It says we have a chance to be a good team, which I think is how we felt", Whitford said. I'm extremely grateful, but it's not about my own performance.

The Cardinals started the season 1-4, with close losses at Dayton and Bucknell before climbing back to.500 with three straight wins ahead of Tuesday's visit to South Bend, Ind., which is 145 miles away from Ball State's campus in Muncie.

The Cardinals were 17.5 point underdogs to the Irish, which makes sense; Ball State was 4-4 entering the contest, with blowout losses at Oklahoma and OR, while Notre Dame had put together an impressive early season run that included a Maui Invitational title over Wichita State.

Riding a three-game winning streak, Ball State has excelled shooting the ball from the field, behind the 3-point line and from the free-throw line.

Junior guard Tayler Persons (15.3 points per game), sophomore forward Kyle Mallers (12.0) and sophomore forward Tahjai Teague (10.9) are the Cardinals' top scorers. "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.

A win against the Irish erases those bad vibes on contact.

Notre Dame opened the game with an 11-0 run which extended into a 19-4 advantage midway through the first. Still, fatigue hasn't been an issue for the Fighting Irish, who have outscored opponents 346-248 in the second half this season. It will be the Cardinals' first matchup against a top-25 team since a December 20,2014 contest at No. 17 San Diego State.

Turnovers are a focus on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball. Notre Dame was outrebounded 40-26. The sophomore guard has committed just seven turnovers all season. The Spartans entered the game shooting 43.5 percent while holding their opposition to 39.2. However, the Cardinals turned the ball over 49 times in that same stretch, so limiting turnovers will be a key against a Fighting Irish team that forces nine turnovers per game.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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