GAME NOTES: The Delaware Blue Hens are set to take part in the Gotham Classic at Purcell Pavilion, where they'll take on the host Notre Dame Fighting Irish in regional-round action.
Delaware enters the contest seeking a fourth straight win. The Blue Hens notched an 85-80 win at Charleston Southern on Tuesday night. They are in the midst of a stretch that features 10-of-11 games on the road.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame is looking to rebound from Tuesday's 98-93 setback at No. 23 Iowa in ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which snapped a three-game winning streak. The Fighting Irish will host three games in a five-day span as part of the annual tournament that is now in its second year. Six of the team's first seven games have been played at Purcell Pavilion, and they have gone 5-1 in those games.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.
UD has scored 80 points or more in every game since a season-opening two-point loss at Richmond. The team's other loss also came on the road against 14th- ranked Villanova by a four-point margin on Nov. 22. Against Charleston Southern on Tuesday night, the Blue Hens shot 11-of-22 from beyond the arc (.500) and made 20-of-26 free throws (.769). Kyle Anderson led all scorers with 29 points, as he connected on 8-of-10 3-pointers. Jarvis Threatt was next in line with 18 points, although he was also responsible for seven of Delaware's 15 turnovers. Carl Baptiste recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Davon Usher (19.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg) also scored 17 and pulled down seven boards. Blue Hens' leading scorer Devon Saddler (23.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has played in only two games as he remains suspended indefinitely.
Like their counterpart, the Fighting Irish also like to push the tempo as they enter the tilt averaging a healthy 85.0 ppg and own a +15.3 scoring margin. Jerian Grant leads the way with 18.6 points and 6.1 assists per contest, while backcourt mate Eric Atkins is averaging 15.3 ppg and 4.9 apg. The duo has combined to shoot 44 percent from the perimeter (29-of-66). Down low, Garrick Sherman (14.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Pat Connaughton (11.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) handle much of the grunt work. The Irish shot 51.5 percent from the floor and 8-of-17 from beyond the arc against nationally-ranked Iowa, but the Hawkeyes shot an even better 56.9 percent from the floor, 53.8 percent from 3-point range (7- of-13), and 86.2 percent from the foul line (25-of-29). Sherman led the way with 29 points and nine boards, while Atkins scored 23 in a losing effort.
On paper, this figures to be a high-scoring affair between two teams that both like to get up and down the floor. The Blue Hens are road-tested, but they'll face one of their toughest tests yet on the young season.
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