Feb. 16, 2004
Notre Dame junior guard Chris Thomas has been named the BIG EAST Conference men’s basketball player of the week, following one of the most productive scoring efforts of his career with the Irish.
Thomas averaged 28.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists while leading the Irish to home victories over No. 5 Connecticut (80-74) and BIG EAST upstart Seton Hall (71-68). The Indianapolis native currently ranks fifth in the BIG EAST with a 19.0 ppg scoring average.
For the week, Thomas shot 45-percent from the floor (18-for-40), including 8-of-16 from three-point range, while connecting on 86.7-percent of his free throws (13-of-15). He totaled a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio during the week (9/3) while playing all 40 minutes in both games.
Thomas poured in a season-high 31 points (one shy of matching his career-high) in the win over UConn and added 26 versus Seton Hall, yielding a 57-point total over the two games. His best scoring total in back-to-back games with the Irish remains a 58-point spurt during his freshman season, in late games at West Virginia (26) and Miami (32).
Thomas was a second-half force in last week’s action, totaling 41 second-half points vs. UConn (19) and SHU (22). In the second half of those games, he made 13-of-22 shots from the floor (.591) and drained 7-of-10 from 3-point range while totaling just one second-half turnover vs. the Huskies and Pirates.
Thomas preceded last week’s big output with a 23-point game versus Pittsburgh – sparking the highest three-game scoring total of his Notre Dame career (80 points). He has posted three straight games with 20-plus points twice previously in his career – as a sophomore vs. Bucknell, Furman and Creighton and repeated the feat later in that 2002-03 season vs. Virginia Tech, UConn and Rutgers. Thomas never has scored 20-plus in four consecutive games with the Irish.
With nine assists last week, Thomas pushed his career total to 594 and passed David Rivers (585; ’84-’88) as Notre Dame’s career assist leader. Thomas claimed the record in his 87th career game, 31 games fewer than Rivers’ career games played total (118).
The 31 points versus UConn marked the biggest point production from Thomas in the last 47 games, dating back to the Marquette game on Dec. 2, 2002 (32).