GAME NOTES: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to rebound from a loss in the team's last outing and climb back into the Atlantic Coast Conference race as they travel to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in ACC action at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
Notre Dame has lost four of its last five contests - all in ACC play - including the most recent defeat at the hands of Florida State, 76-74. The Irish are currently 2-4 in the conference, three and a half games behind Syracuse for the conference lead.
Wake Forest's success isn't measurably better than Notre Dame's this season, but the Deacons are 3-3 in ACC play - a game ahead of the Irish - and have won two of their last three games. Wake Forest is coming off an 83-77 victory over Virginia Tech.
Wake Forest won the only game between these two programs. This is the first and only time they will meet this regular season.
The Irish and Seminoles were neck-and-neck heading down the wire in their bout on Tuesday. Then Ian Miller hit a runner with four seconds remaining in the contest to give Florida State the 76-74 win over the Irish. Eric Atkins paced the Irish with 24 points, and Garrick Sherman netted 21 points with 10 rebounds for the double-double. Pat Connaughton nearly had a double-double for Notre Dame, netting nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The Irish shot 47.5 percent from the floor.
Sherman, Atkins and Connaughton have come together to provide the driving force for Notre Dame in the absence of Jerian Grant. Sherman leads the (active) team members in scoring with 14.9 ppg on 52.3 percent shooting from the floor. Atkins is close behind at 14.3 ppg, and Connaughton checks in at 13.8 ppg. Sherman leads the team with an 8.4 rpg average, while Connaughton is second at 7.4 rpg. Notre Dame nets an average of 77.3 ppg this season.
Wake Forest's defense was at work early in the contest against Virginia Tech, holding the Hokies without a field goal in the game's first four minutes en route to a 21-point first-half lead. Travis McKie led the Deacons with 24 points in the game on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 20 points and dished out a team-best 10 assists for the double-double. Wake Forest shot an impressive 53.6 percent from the field in the game.
Miller-McIntyre paces the Demon Deacons this season with 15.5 ppg on 45.3 percent shooting. His 78 assists is also tops on the team. Devin Thomas is next in team scoring at 11 ppg, while McKie sits at third with 10 ppg for the Deacons. Thomas paces the team with an 8.6 rpg average. Wake Forest averages 72.5 ppg through the 19 games the team has played.
Playing at home, where Wake Forest hasn't lost yet this season, the Demon Deacons should have the advantage. It doesn't help Notre Dame's cause that the Irish haven't secured a road victory yet, either.
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