Dec. 19, 2003
AMERICAN EAGLES (3-5) AT
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (3-3)
Date: Sunday, December 21, 2003
Place: Joyce Center (11,418)
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Radio: Notre Dame Sports Properties (Jack Lorri, Jack Nolan) originates the Notre Dame Radio Network (includes WNDV 92.9 FM and 1490 AM in South Bend, Ind./Michiana Region, Elkhart, Michigan City, Gary and Hammond), ESPN 1000 AM) in Chicagoland Area), ESPN 950 AM (Indianapolis), WGL 1250 in Fort Wayne), WEFM 95.9 in Michigan City and Gary and WLUV AM 1520 (Rockford, DeKalb, Beloit, Janesville). All radio broadcasts can also be heard through the World Wide Web at www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
- The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of basketball at Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame concludes the month of December with a three-game homestand as the Irish will play three contests in the next seven days. Following this afternoon’s matchup against American, Notre Dame plays host to Quinnipiac (December 23) and Morehead State (December 28).
- This is the first time that Notre Dame has been at the .500 mark through the first six games of the season under Mike Brey. In Brey’s first campaign (2000-01), the Irish were 4-2, followed by 6-0 in 2002-03 and 5-1 in 2003-04.
- Mike Brey coached in his 100th game on December 1 in Notre Dame’s loss at Marquette. He owns a 69-34 (.670) overall record as the Irish head coach. Brey coached in his 250th career game in eight-plus seasons against Mount St. Mary’s on November 29.
- Notre Dame has played 21 times on December 21 and owns a 13-8 record when playing on that day.
- Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 16-1 all-time during the month of November and owns a 16-7 mark in the month of December. The Irish finished with a perfect 6-0 mark in December during the 2002-03 season.
- With its win over DePaul one week ago, Notre Dame avoided its first four-game losing streak since the 1999-00 season when it dropped consecutive outings to Arizona, Maryland, Indiana and Vanderbilt. The Wildcats, Terrapins and Hoosiers were all ranked at the time of the contest.
- Notre Dame is 18-4 in its last 22 games at the Joyce Center. Before losses to Connecticut and Syracuse in the final two contests of the 2002-03 season, the Irish owned a 16-game homecourt win streak. Since that time, the Irish are 2-4 in their last six home games.
- Following this late December homestand, which ends on the December 28 against Morehead State, Notre Dame will be off until January 7 when the Irish open up BIG EAST play against West Virginia at the Joyce Center.
- Today’s contest will mark the third meeting ever between Notre Dame and American. The Irish have won both games played in the series. This will be the first matchup since January 22, 1986, a 67-56 victory at the Joyce Center.
- The Irish are coming off of an 82-69 victory at DePaul on December 14. The 82 points were the most scored by the Irish this season. Heading into the game, Notre Dame was averaging just 63.0 ppg. in consecutive losses to Marquette (58-71), Central Michigan (68-69) and Indiana (63-66).
- Notre Dame’s three losses have been by a total of 18 points. It’s win at DePaul had been the first in the month December and the first in 15 days. Prior to that, the Irish had not been victorious in more than two weeks with their last victory coming at home against Mount St. Mary’s 78-64 on November 30.
- Notre Dame opponents are averaging just 67.3 ppg. No opponent has scored more than 71 points against the Irish this season. Notre Dame held five of those six foes to under 70 points.
- American enters the game with a 3-5 mark. The Eagles dropped a 75-63 decision at St. Francis (Pa.) on Thursday night. The Eagles lost three straight to open the season – Maryland, Delaware and Fairleigh Dickinson – before picking up its first win of the year against Radford. American also earned victories over North Carolina-Greensboro and Howard. Their fourth loss of the season came against Elon.
- Heading into the DePaul, Notre Dame had struggled with its shooting from the field as the Irish were converting just 38.7 percent of their field goal attempts. Against the Blue Demons, the Irish shot 50.9 percent from the field, the second-highest percentage this season. Notre Dame also shot a season-best 45.8 percent from three-point range, converting a season-high 11 field goals on 24 attempts.
- Notre Dame also had more assists (18) than turnovers (10) in the DePaul game which marked just the second time this season that Irish had more assists than turnovers. In the season opener against Northern Illinois, Notre Dame dished off 14 assists and turned the ball over just eight times.
- Overall this season, Notre Dame owns a 1.06 assist-to-turnover ratio with 84 assists and 79 turnovers. The Irish are averaging 14.0 assists and 13.2 turnovers.
- The Irish have faced injury woes this season. Seniors Torrian Jones and TomTimmermans both did not dress for the Central Michigan game. Jones was bothered by a hip flexor and Timmermans has seen limited action (and missed four games – Mount St. Mary’s, Central Michigan, Indiana and DePaul) because of a back injury. Jordan Cornette’s play was been somewhat restricted in the first five contests due to a sore knee.
- Three Irish players are netting double figures with Chris Thomas leading the team with an 18.5 scoring average. Torin Francis is averaging a double double with averages of 15.8 points and 11.2 rebounds. Chris Quinn is the third Irish players in double figures with an 11.2 scoring average.
- Rick Cornett earned his first career start in the DePaul game and responded with 10 points (all in the first half), five rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes of action. Cornett has seen action in six contests and is averaging 9.5 minutes per game.
- Torrian Jones has started all five games he has played and is averaging 8.0 points.
- Jordan Cornette reached double figures for just the second time in his career coming off the bench against DePaul as he finished with 17 points. Cornette was awarded the Wendell Smith Award, as the game’s MVP. Cornett shot 6-10 from the field and was 5-7 from three-point range. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 34 minutes.
- Chris Thomas may have played one of his best games in an Irish uniform on Sunday against the Blue Demons, scoring 13 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing off five assists and making two steals in 39 minutes. In addition, he turned the ball over just once in the contest.
- Chris Thomas has scored in double figures in 26 consecutive games (dating back to last season) and has netted 20-plus points on 28 occasions during his career.
- Torin Francis has registered three double doubles this season – Nothern Illinois (24 pts., 19 rebs.), Central Michigan (10 pts., 12 rebs.) and Indiana (13 pts., 14 rebs.). He has 13 career double doubles and leads the team with 17 blocked shots.
- Colin Falls has earned two starts this season (Central Michigan and DePaul). He started the season 0-7 from three-point range, but since that time has shot 45.0 percent from beyond the arc. Falls has converted 9-24 from three-point range (35.7 percent accuracy).
- Notre Dame has eight more turnovers (71-79) than their opponents.
- Free throw shooting continues to be a strength with 25.8 percent of the Irish’s points coming from the charity stripe. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 109-55 from the line and attempted 60 (141-81) more free throws.
- Five Notre Dame players are averaging better than 30 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (36.0), Torin Francis (35.5), Chris Quinn (34.8), Torrian Jones (31.6) and Jordan Cornette (30.3).
IRISH PLAYER TIDBITS:
- Chris Thomas leads the team in scoring with a 18.5 scoring average. He has scored in double figures in all six contests and heads into the contest having netting 20-plus points in two of the last three games – 24 points versus Central Michigan and Indiana. Thomas has scored in double figures in 26 straight games dating back to last season and has reached double digits in 61 of 73 career contests. The last time Thomas failed to score in double figures was against Pittsburgh on the road (January 6, 2003) when he netted just five points. He dished off seven assists against Northern Illinois which marked the 39th time in his career that he has dished out seven or more assists in a game. Thomas is one of just five players in Notre Dame history who has dished off 500-plus assists. He owns a career assist total of 517.
- Chris Quinn started the first five games of the season and came off the banch against DePaul. He is averaging career bests of 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in addition to 3.0 assists. In addition, he has played the third-most minutes of any Irish player (34.8 per game). In just his fourth collegiate start, he played all 40 minutes in Notre Dame’s loss to Central Michigan. He is averaging 11.2 points and 3.0 assists per game. Quinn has scored in double figures in four of six contests this season and in six career games overall.
- Torin Francis has posted a double double in three games, and in two of Notre Dame’s last three games, has reached double figures in both scoring and rebounds. In 40 career games (all starts), he has has 13 career double doubles. Francis is Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer (15.8 ppg.) and leading rebounder (11.2). In addition, he leads the team with 2.8 blocked shots per game. He has scored 20-plus points in two contests, netting 24 in the season opener against Northern Illinois and 23 in the December 1 loss at Marquette. In the season opener versus Northern Illinois, he scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Dating back to last season, he has had six doubles doubles in the last 12 games. Francis also has scored 20-plus points on six occasions in 40 career outings (all of them starts) and has registered 10 or more rebounds 15 times. He has scored in double figures on 25 occasions.
- Torrian Jones has started all five games he has played. He missed the Central Michigan game with a hip flexor and did not dress. He is averaging 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. Jones has scored in double figures in two of the five games he played – 14 points versus Marquette and 12 against Mount St. Mary’s – and seven times during his career. His double-digit scoring efforts in both of those games marked the first time in his career that he has scored in double figures in consecutive outings. In addition to his 12 points against the Mountaineers, he had seven rebounds and career-high six assists.
- Jordan Cornette started the first five games of the season was in the starting lineup for Notre Dame’s first five games of the season. Cornette’s 17-point outing against DePaul marked the second time in his career that he has scored in double figures. He has 106 career blocks in an Irish uniform. His season-high 10 rebounds against Marquette marked the fifth time in his career with 10 or more rebounds. Cornette scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds against Indiana.
- Tom Timmermans has seen limited playing time (two games) this season due to a sore back. He missed the Mount St. Mary’s game after playing 12 minutes in the season opener against Northern Illinois. He played just three minutes against Marquette and did not dress for both the Central Michigan and Indiana contests.
- Rick Cornett has averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in the first six games in 9.5 minutes per game. In his first career start in last Sunday’s win at DePaul, he played a career-high 16 mintues and finished with 10 points (on 4-6 shooting from the field) and grabbed five rebounds.
- Colin Falls is averaging 21.3 minutes per game while netting 6.0 points and grabbing 1.8 rebounds. He earned his first career start against Central Michigan and played 33 minutes. Falls made his second start of the season in the DePaul game and finished with 12 points, the second time in his career that he has scored in double figures. Falls has averaged 10.3 points (31 points) in Notre Dame’s last three outings. He had 11 and nine points against Central Michigan and Indiana, respectively. Falls scored a combined five points in Notre Dame’s first three games.
- Russell Carter saw action for the first time in his career coming off the bench against Mount St. Mary’s and recorded the first collegiate points of his career when he hit a three-pointer at the buzzer right before the end of the first half. He has seen action in four games this season.
SERIES RECORD VS. AMERICAN:
This afternoon’s game will be the third meeting between the two schools. Notre Dame has won both of the previous matchups. The Eagles will be making their second visit ever to the Joyce Center.
NOTRE DAME VS. PATRIOT LEAGUE:
Notre Dame has played teams from the Patriot League on 41 occasions and is 37-4 all-time against those schools. The last time an Irish team faced a Patriot League team was on November 22, 2002 when Notre Dame defeated Bucknell 73-42.
For the first time in the 99-year history of the Notre Dame men’s basketball program, four players will be serving as team captains. Seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans and juniors Jordan Cornette and Chris Thomas will serve as the Irish captains for the upcoming 2003-04 campaign.
Notre Dame played host to 10 sellouts at the Joyce Center during the 2002-03 season – the most since the 1985-86 campaign when 14 of the team’s 17 games drew a record capacity crowd. Three games last season – Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Syracuse – produced the largest crowds to ever witness a Notre Dame basketball game – 11,480. Already this season, seven games are already sold out – Indiana, Kentucky, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Georgetown. Student tickets (2,800 to students, 400 to band and Notre Dame student-athletes) were sold out in 5-1/2 hours. Last season, student ticket packages were sold out in 36 hours.
IRISH IN NOVEMBER UNDER BREY:
Notre Dame played just two games in the month of November. Each of the past two campaigns, the Irish have played six games during the first month of the season. Notre Dame owns a 16-1 record during the month of November under head coach Mike Brey. In 2001-02, the Irish completed November with a perfect 6-0 slate. It marked the most wins ever by a Notre Dame team in the month of November. The only loss suffered by the Irish during the month of November under Brey was an 80-75 setback in the championship game of the Guardians Classic in Kansas City, Mo., last season.
HOME SWEET HOME:
Since the inaugural season (1968-69) at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 422-126 record all-time for a .770 winning percentage. The Irish are 37-12 (.755) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 87-31 mark for a .737 winning percentage. Notre Dame was 14-2 at home in 2002-03, winning 10-plus games for the sixth time in seven years. The Irish have won 18 of their last 22 games at home, but have dropped four of the last six on their homecourt dating back to last season.
THE IRISH ALL-TIME:
The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of men’s basketball at Notre Dame. Irish teams have posted a 1531-841 record for a .645 winning percentage.
Notre Dame begins the 2003-04 campaign by playing eight of its first 10 games at home. That’s an advantage the Irish did not enjoy two years ago (2001-02) when they were on the road for eight of their first 11 contests.
Over the course of the last three-plus seasons, Notre Dame teams have played well in its non-conference tuneups before the start of the BIG EAST regular season during the months of November and December. Irish teams own an impressive 31-8 (.795) combined record. Six of the 38 games have been against ranked opponents and have included wins against Cincinnati (2000), Marquette (2002), Maryland (2002) and Texas (2002).
NEW BIG EAST LOOK:
The BIG EAST Conference will play under a new league format in which every team will play each other at least once and three other schools twice during the regular season. Notre Dame is slated to play Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Syracuse twice as part of its 16-game conference slate.
The past three seasons have seen the 14-team league play under a two seven-team divisional format. Under the former system, the teams were broken down into the East and West divisions. Each school played 12 divisional contests on a home-and-home basis and crossover opponents against teams from the other divsion (two at home and two on the road), but did not face three schools from the opposite division.
In addition to its home-and-home series with the Huskies, Panthers and Orangemen, Notre Dame’s conference home slate this season also includes matchups against Georgetown, Miami, Providence, Seton Hall and West Virginia. The Irish are scheduled for road games at Boston College, Rutgers, St. John’s, Villanova and Virginia Tech.
Twelve teams will once again advance to the ’04 BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden, March 10-13, with the top four finishers during the regular season receiving a first-round bye.
FRANCIS, THOMAS ON WOODEN WATCH LIST; THOMAS LISTED AMONG NAISMITH CANDIDATES:
Chris Thomas and Torin Francis are one of 50 candidates named to the 2003-04 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team. The 50 candidates were announced in early August and selected by the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Committee.
The Irish tandem is among 11 BIG EAST players named to the team, the most of any conference. Only three other teams – Connecticut (Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor) and Syracuse (Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick) -also placed two players on the list.
Thomas, an honorable mention Associated Press All-America selection, and second-team all-BIG EAST honoree as a sophomore, was among the top-30 candidates last year for the Wooden Award and also was a finalist for the Naismith and USBWA/Oscar Robertson player-of-the-year awards. Francis was a member of the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
The other BIG EAST players selected as candidates were: Andre Barrett (Seton Hall), Ryan Gomes (Providence), Julius Page (Pittsburgh), Darius Rice (Miami) and Craig Smith (Boston College).
The 10-player Wooden Award All-America Team will be announced on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 and one member from that squad will be awarded the Wooden Award Trophy, symbolic of the nation’s “Most Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of Year.” That announcement will be made on Saturday, April 10 and CBS Sports will televise the event live from The Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Thomas also is listed among the top 30 candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year honor.
HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR CORNETT AND FALLS AGAINST BLUE DEMONS:
The December 14th win against DePaul at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., snapped Notre Dame’s three-game losing streak, provide a happy occasion for two Chicagoland natives – sophomore Rick Cornett and freshman Colin Falls. Both started the contest and were instrumental in the victory. Cornett, making his first career start, scored a personal best 10 points (all in the first half) as he converted on 4-6 field goals from the field. In playing a career-high 15 minutes, he also grabbed a career-high five rebounds and finished with two steals. Falls, earning his second start of the season (and second in the last three games), also notched a career best in scoring 12 points. All four of his field goals and all eight of his attempts came from beyond the three-point arc.
CORNETTE EARNS WENDELL SMITH AWARD:
Jordan Cornette was named the recipient of the Wendell Smith Award, which is presented annually to the most valuable player of the Notre Dame-DePaul game. Cornette’s selection marks the third straight year an Irish player has claimed the honor. After starting the first five games of the season, he came off the bench to net a career-best 17 points in 34 minutes. It marked only the second time his career in 71 career games played that he had scored in double figures. The last time he scored in double figures was against Georgetown (January 21, 2002) when he notched 11 points in 31 minutes of action (spanning 56 games). Against the Blue Demons, he connected on 6-10 shots from the field and converted on 5-7 from three-point range. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots.
A BIG DAY FROM BEYOND THE ARC:
A common offensive weapon for Notre Dame during Mike Brey’s first three seasons has been the three-point shot. The Irish have struggled from beyond the arc this season, hitting just 32.9 percent from three-point range in six contests. Against DePaul last Sunday, Notre Dame converted a season-best 45.8 percent of its attempts (11-24). That come off of an 8-19 shooting performance against Indiana (42.1 percent). Prior to the last two games, the Irish had not been over 40 percent in any one game. In back-to-back losses to Marquette and Central Michigan, Notre Dame was a combined 11-51 (21.6 percent) from three-point range.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL:
In two of its three victories, Notre Dame has been most successful when the Irish have taken care of the basketball. In the season opener against Northern Illinois the Irish committed just eight turnovers, and in the win over DePaul, turned the ball over just 10 times. Notre Dame has had more turnovers than assists in four games this season. The Irish are averaging 13.2 turnovers per game this season.
IRISH IN THE SCORING GROOVE:
Notre Dame went over the 80-point mark for the first time this season against DePaul in its 82-69 victory seven days ago. Prior to the contest, Notre Dame’s season-high was 78 points in the second game of the season versus Mount St. Mary’s. In its three losses prior to DePaul, the Irish were held to just 63.0 points. Currently, Notre Dame is averaging 70. 5 points per game. In Mike Brey’s first three seasons, Notre Dame has averaged 78.1 ppg. (2000-01), 78.8 ppg (2001-02) and 79.2 ppg. (2002-03).
Notre Dame is yielding just 67.3 points per game and has held five of its six opponents to under 70 points. Marquette has been the only team to score more than 70 points (the Eagles scored 71 in their 13-point victory on December 1). The Irish allowed 69.5 ppg. in 2000-01, 68.3 ppg. in 2001-02 and 71.3 ppg. in 2002-03).
Looking To Make It Four-In-A-Row: The Irish will be bidding for their fourth straight NCAA tournament bid in 2004. That would be a first since Notre Dame made six consecutive appearances from 1985-90. The most consecutive NCAA tournament appearances made by Notre Dame teams was eight – from 1975-81.
THE 20-WIN MARK:
Notre Dame’s 24 wins a year ago marked the 30th time in the program’s 98-year history that an Irish team reached the 20-win mark. It marked the fourth consecutive 20-win campaign and first time since 1985-89 that Irish teams posted four consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins.
NOTRE DAME ALL-TIME IN THE BIG EAST:
In eight seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame owns a 66-70 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .485 winning percentage. In their first five years, Irish teams were 35-53 (.398), but since Mike Brey took over the program, Notre Dame has compiled a 31-17 (.646) mark in regular-season play.
BIG EAST 10:
Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team to win 10-plus conference games during each of the last three regular-season campaigns. The Irish finished 11-5 in 2000-01 and produced 10-6 marks in both 2001-02 and 2002-03. Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST team to make the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons.
BREY HAS THE FORMULA FOR BIG EAST SUCCESS AT NOTRE DAME:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 31-17 record in BIG EAST regular-season games for a 64.6 winning percentage and 1-3 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 32-20 (.615) against league foes. The Irish won the BIG EAST West Division title by fashioning an 11-5 record (the most conference wins in its six previous seasons in the league). Under Brey, Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST school to win 10-plus league games each of the last three seasons. Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (39.8 percent) regular-season record in its conference games since 1995-96.
BREY VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS:
As a head coach at both Notre Dame and Delaware, Mike Brey has coached in 34 games against ranked opponents and owns a 12-22 record in those matchups. In three-plus seasons at Notre Dame, he has faced ranked opponents on 28 occasions and his teams are 12-16 in those contests. Last season, his team was 5-6 versus ranked teams. The Irish were 3-6 and 4-3 during the 2001-02 and 2000-01 campaigns, respectively.
BREY AND THE IRISH IN OVERTIME GAMES:
Notre Dame is 3-0 in overtime games (two on the road and one at home) under head coach Mike Brey. The Irish did not play an overtime game in Brey’s first season. The first overtime game played by Notre Dame under Brey (during the 2001-02 campaign) was the epic four-overtime classic in 2002 against Georgetown at the MCI Center in which the Irish defeated the Hoyas 116-111. The Irish played two overtime contests in ’02-’03 – at Boston College (101-96) and at home against Georgetown (93-92 in double overtime).
OVER THE CENTURY MARK:
Notre Dame has scored 100-plus points five times during the Mike Brey era. The Irish went over the century mark twice last season – a 102-71 victory over DePaul (December 14, 2002) and 101-96 overtime decision against Boston College (January 25, 2003). Home Stripe Advantage:
Notre Dame was particularly successful from the free-throw line in home games last season as the Irish were 286-373 (.767) compared to 177-257 (.689) for their opponents. In the last 11 home games of ’02-’03, Notre Dame finished 224-279 (.803) from the line as the Irish made an average of 20.4 free throws on 25.4 attempts and averaged just 5.0 misses per game. Notre Dame shot a season-best 95.7 percent from the line against Rutgers (Jan. 14, 2003) as the Irish converted 22 of their 23 attempts. This season overall, Notre Dame has outscored their opponents 94-50 from the line and attempted 50 more free throws. As a team, the Irish have converted on 77.3 percent of their attempts. In its two best performances of the season, Notre Dame was 19-20 from the line against Mount St. Mary’s and 24-31 versus Central Michigan. In home games this season, the Irish have converted on 79-99 (.797), while opponents are 37-49 (.755).
WHERE CHARITY BEGINS:
The Irish used free throw shooting as a weapon last season averaging nearly 17 free throws made per game. Notre Dame outscored their opponents 575-389 and attempted 190 more free throws (756-566). The Irish converted 76.1 percent of those attempts, while their opponents hit on 68.7 percent. Notre Dame is averaging 18.2 made free throws per game this season and have attempted an average of 23.5 per game. Irish opponents are averaging just 9.2 made three throws per game and 13.5 attempted.
Notre Dame is one of just nine schools – Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland Misouri and Stanford – that has advanced past the first round each of the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years.
Jordan Cornette led six Irish players in double figures in the victory over DePaul. He tallied a team-high 17 points, while Chris Thomas netted 13 points. Torin Francis, Colin Falls and Chris Quinn each finished with 12 points each, while Rick Cornett chipped in 10. It marked the first time since January 27, 1990 in a 107-60 win at the Joyce Center that six Irish players were in double figures. In that game, Kevin Ellery tossed in 17 points to lead the Irish, while Joe Frederick added 14 points and Keith Robinson netted 12 points. In addition, Elmer Bennett and Daimon Sweet each finished with 11 points, while LaPhonso Ellis round out the double-figure scorers withy 10 points.
THOMAS REACHES ASSIST MILESTONE:
Chris Thomas surpassed 500 career assists on December 1 against Marquette. In 73 career contests, he has 517 for a 7.1 career average. He is one of only five Irish players who have reached that mark and is one of just three players who has scored more than 1,000 points and dished off more than 500 assists in their career. Thomas has 1,264 career points. The other two players who have scored 1,000 career points and dished off 500 assists are David Rivers (1984-88 – 2,058 points and 586 assists) and Elmer Bennett (1988-92 – 1,488 points, 516 assists). Thomas stands fifth all-time in career assists and needs just 75 to break Rivers’ career assist mark.
Notre Dame’s 189 blocked shots in 2002-03 set a new single-season team record with a per game average of 5.59. The former mark of 178 was set during the 2000-01 season in which Notre Dame averaged 5.93 blocks. The Irish finished the 2001-02 campaign with 163 blocks for an average of 4.94 per game. Notre Dame’s block totals each of the last three seasons rank as the top three all-time. Notre Dame already has 39 blocks in 2003-04 for an average of 6.5 per game.
ROLE REVERSAL FOR QUINN:
Sophomore guard Chris Quinn started the first five games season and made the most of his starting opportunity as he averaged 11.0 points and was shooting 37.0 percent from the field (17-46). In addition, he averaged 36.2 minutes per game. In Sunday’s win at DePaul, Quinn played 29 minutes coming off the bench and finished with 12 points as he converted 5-8 shots from the field. Through the first six games of the season, he standing third in the scoring column at 11.2 points per game while shooting 40.7 percent from the field. He also is averaging 3.3 rebounds 3.0 assists. In addition, he leads the team with 1.8 steals per game. Quinn also is averaging 34.8 minutes per game amd has been in double figures in four of six contests. In his first career start in the season opener against Northern Illinois, he scored a career-high 18 points and had a personal best six steals. Quinn, who averaged 15.3 minutes off the bench as a rookie last season, hit 7-10 from the field and was 3-5 from three-point range in the contest.
DOUBLE DOSE OF “CHRIS” GIVE IRISH “1”-“2” PUNCH:
Notre Dame’s backcourt tandem of junior Chris Thomas and sophomore Chris Quinn has certainly provide Irish opponents with some headaches this season. The two have combined for 178 of the team’s 423 points (42.1 percent) and taken 146 of the team’s 329 total shots (44.4 percent) in the first six games.
IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING:
Chris Thomas’ unselfish play is one of the reasons why the Irish have been successful while he has been in the Notre Dame backcourt. In the 73 games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 49-24 record for a .671 winning percentage As a freshman, he averaged 7.64 assists to rank fifth nationally in that category, and dished off 6.9 assists (eighth in the nation), as a sophomore. Thomas is the only player in Notre Dame history to dish off 200-plus assists in consecutive seasons. He has dished off 10-plus assists in 15 games during his career.
THREES FINALLY FALLING FOR FALLS:
Freshman Colin Falls seems to have found his three-point range. After mising his first seven three-point attempts, he has come back to nine of his last 20 attempts (45.0 percent). Nine of the 16 field goals he has made have been from three-point range. Falls is shooting 35.3 percent overall from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range. He has been in the starting lineup in two games – Central Michigan and DePaul – and is averaging 21.3 minutes per game. Falls hit his first career three-pointer in his first career start in the loss to the Chippewas. Heading into the contest, he was 0-6 from beyond the arc. Falls missed his first three-point attempt against Central Michigan, but nailed his first career three-pointer on his second attempt at the 14:02 mark of the contest.
DOUBLE THE PLEASURE:
Torin Francis recorded the 13th double double of his career against Indiana with his 13 points and 14 rebounds. It marked his second straight outing with a double double after scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against Central Michigan. Overall this season, he has registered three double doubles. Francis registered his first double double of the season in the season opener versus Northern Illinois. His scoring (24 points) and rebounding (19 rebounds) totals in that game were the second-highest of his career. Dating back to the Syracuse game (March 4, 2003), Francis has registered six double doubles in the last 12 games and in five of the Irish’s last nine outings. He has scored in double figures 25 times during his career and grabbed 10 or more rebounds on 15 occasions.
CENTURY MARK II:
Jordan Cornette blocked his 100th career shot against Marquette and has 103 to his credit for a 1.47 career average in that category. He is one of just four players in Notre Dame history who has blocked 100 or more shots during his career. LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92) holds the school mark with 200, followed by Ryan Humphrey’s (2000-02) 166 and Troy Murphy’s (1998-01) 126.
JONES REACHES DOUBLE DIGITS IN BACK-TO-BACK SCORING EFFORTS:
At the start of this season, senior Torrian Jones had averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per game in his first three seasons. He has played in five games in 2003-04 and is averaging 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, while averaging 31.6 minutes per game. His back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts against Mount St. Mary’s (12 points) and Marquette (14 points), marked the first time in his career that he was in double figures in consecutive outings. Prior to the start of the season, he had scored in double figures on just five occasions.
FACING THE DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS:
Notre Dame will meet defending national champion Syracuse twice during the 2003-04 season. It will mark the second straight year the Irish will play the NCAA champion from the previous season. Notre Dame’s matchup last season with Maryland on December 7, 2002 in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center marked the 31st time and Irish team had played a team that had won the NCAA crown the previous year. With the victory, Notre Dame owns an 8-23 mark versus those teams, but has been victorious three of the last four times it has gone up against a team which had won the national championship the previous season. The 1999-00 Irish squad beat Connecticut twice – 75-70 at the Hartford Civic Center and 68-66 at the Joyce Center – the season after the Huskies claimed the ’99 NCAA title.
KEEPING IT CLOSE:
In the 34 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s three seasons, only nine have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 245 points for an average of 7.21 points. Notre Dame’s two 17-point losses (at Pittsburgh and against Arizona in the semifinals of the West Regional last season) were the two worst by an Irish team under Brey. Prior to those two setbacks, the worst defeat was a 16-point decision at Connecticut during Brey’s first season. Notre Dame’s 11 losses during the 2001-02 season were by a combined 49 points for an average margin of defeat of 4.45 points. Only one loss (versus Georgetown 83-73) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five points or less.
153 AND COUNTING:
Heading into today’s game against American, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 153 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time and Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut in the Hartford Civic Center (January 12, 1999) as Notre Dame finished 0-7 in the contest.
BOSL JOINS IRISH ROSTER:
Junior Greg Bosl, a 6-3, 191-pound guard out of Syosset, N.Y., has joined the Irish team as a walk-on. He played prep basketball at St. Dominic High School and averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds as a senior. He captained St. Dominic’s during his final prep season and helped his team to a No. 3 ranking in the New York metro area. Bosl’s brother Mike played basketball for one year (1998-99) at Villanova and his sister Christine is a 1999 Notre Dame graduate. He is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and is majoring in finance.
NOTRE DAME WINS USA TODAY/NCAA ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN 2003:
Notre Dame compiled the nation’s highest overall graduation rate for Division I-A student-athletes to take top honors in the 2003 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Awards.
Ninety-two percent of the Fighting Irish student-athletes who enrolled in 1996 earned a degree from the University. The award included a $20,000 prize and was based on federally compiled figures submitted by the NCAA member institutions.
The NCAA bases graduation rates on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non-graduates. Notre Dame’s graduation rate for student-athletes who complete all fours of athletic eligibility is 99 percent.
NOTRE DAME PARTNERS WITH COLLEGE SPORTS TELEVISION:
College Sports Television (CSTV) and Notre Dame are in a multi-year, multi-sport agreement by which CSTV is the year-round home of Fighting Irish athletics. CSTV airs a Notre Dame programming block every Sunday night called “Notre Dame Primetime,” featuring live and classic Fighting Irish events as wll as programming. In addition, CSTV has the rights to televise several Irish Olympic sporting events throughout the year.
Mike Brey RADIO SHOW:
For the second consecutive year, Mike Brey will host a 30-minute radio show live on Tuesday evenings (beginning on December 9) from 7:30-8:00 p.m. at Logan’s Roadhouse on Main Street in Mishawaka. The show will air from December 9, 2003-March 2, 2004 (no shows on December 23, January 20 and February 24) and will broadcast live on 92.9-FM (U93 in South Bend).
WEB SITE (WWW.UND.COM):
Notre Dame’s official athletic department web site can be found at www.und.com. with the extensive offerings including live audio for all Irish women’s basketball games (home and away), as well as real-time statistics for all Notre Dame home games.
ESPN 1000 TO CARRY MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME BROADCASTS:
ESPN Radio 1000 (WMVP-AM) in Chicago will carry 17 regular-season Notre Dame men’s basketball games live in 2003-04 and another seven on delayed basis, as part of a multi-year agreement that will make ESPN 1000 the home for Irish men’s basketball in that market.
IRISH INK ROB KURZ IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD:
Rob Kurz, a 6-8, 225-pound forward from Gwynedd, Pa., has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2004.
Kurz has starred the last two years for William Penn Charter High School in Philadelphia, Pa. As a junior in 2002-03, he averaged 18.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in leading his prep team to a 26-4 record overall and garnering first-team all-league honors. He earned first-team all-city honors after helping William Penn Charter capture the Philadelphia Inter-Academic League crown with a perfect 10-0 league mark that also included two victories in the postseason.
As a sophomore, he netted 19.0 points per game and guided his team to a 16-9 overall record. However, he was unable to compete in league play that season after transferring to William Penn Charter at the beginning of the 2001-02 school year.
Kurz attended the Nike All-America camp each of the past two summers (’02 and ’03) and will serve as one of the team’s co-captains during the 2003-04 campaign.
Kurz’ sister, Laura, also a high school senior, will attend Duke University and play basketball for the Blue Devils.
NOTRE DAME ALL OVER THE BIG SCREEN IN ’03-’04:
Notre Dame will make more national television appearances -13 – than any other BIG EAST team this season. The Irish will be appear on CBS four times, ESPN five times and ESPN2 on four occasions. It will mark the most single-season national television appearances ever by a Notre Dame basketball team. Connecticut will appear on 11 national broadcasts (excluding the Preseason NIT) during the regular season.
IRISH IN BARBADOS:
Notre Dame spent its fall break (Oct. 18-25) in Barbados and played three games. The Irish finished with a 2-1 record on its foreign tour. Notre Dame became the first-ever college team to play a game in Barbados. Coach Mike Brey and his team got a head start on the season with the first of its 10 practices (allowed by the NCAA before a tour) on September 4. ESPN Magazine followed the Irish on their seven-day trip and it was featured in the magzine’s college basketball preview issue. Notre Dame played the Milton Keynes Lions, a member of the British Basketball League, twice, and face off against the Barbados National Team in its other contest.