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Fighting Irish Host Pirates Saturday

Feb. 13, 2004

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SETON HALL Pirates (16-5, 6-3) at
NOTRE DAME Fighting Irish (11-9, 5-5)

Date: Saturday, February 14, 2004
Place: Joyce Center (11,418)
Time: 12:00 p.m. (EST)
Television: ESPN – Dave Pasch (play-by-play analyst) and Doris Burke (color analyst)
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
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (

Irish Items:

  • The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of basketball at Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame completes a three-game homestand this afternoon against Seton Hall before heading on the road for back-to-back road contests at Syracuse (February 16) and Connecticut (February 21).
  • The Irish snapped their three-game losing streak on Monday night in an 80-74 victory over No. 5 Connecticut. It was the first win by Notre Dame over a ranked opponent this season. The Irish are 1-5 versus too-25 foes this season.
  • Ironically, Notre Dame’s win over Connecticut came exactly one year to the day (February 9, 2003) of its last win over a top-five team when the 2002-03 Irish squad defeated No, 4 Pittsburgh 66-64 at the Joyce Center on Torin Francis’ basket with sixth-tenths of a second remaining in the contest.
  • Prior to its matchups with No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Connecticut this past week, Notre Dame had not played top-five teams in back-to-back outings since the 1990-91 campaign when the Irish dropped decisions to No.3 Arizona (91-61) and No. 6 Duke (85-77) in the semifinal and consolation games of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 21 and 23, respectively.
  • Today’s game will mark the only meeting between the Irish and the Pirates during the regular season.
  • Notre Dame owns an overall record of 8-5 at home this season and is 3-2 versus BIG EAST teams. The two league losses have come against Syracuse (81-70) and Pittsburgh (66-58).
  • Point guard Chris Thomas became Notre Dame’s career assist leader in Monday night’s game, eclipsing the former mark of 586 set by David Rivers (1984-88). Thomas now has 590 assists for a career assist average of 6.8, which also ranks first all-time.
  • Notre Dame is yielding 69.3 points per game and has held 11 of its opponents to under 70 points this season.
  • Prior to the Pittsburgh loss on January 12, the Irish’s six-game winning streak was the longest for the Irish since they won eight straight contests during the 2002-03 campaign – from Nov. 30, 2002-Jan. 4, 2003 (Albany, Marquette, Maryland, Texas, DePaul, Canisius, Vanderbilt and Valparaiso).
  • Notre Dame’s nine losses this season have been by a total of 77 points (a margin of 8.6 points per game). The Irish dropped consecutive games to Marquette (71-58), Central Michigan (69-68), and Indiana (66-63) in the first 10 days of December. Since winning six straight, Notre Dame is 2-6 in its last eight contests.
  • Chris Thomas has started every game of his Irish career (87 contests) and is second all-time in consecutive games started. Next up on the record list for Thomas will be Pat Garrity’s (1994-98) mark of 111 consecutive starts.
  • Notre Dame turned the ball over a season-low four times against Connecticut, including no turnovers in the second half.
  • Notre Dame has had more assists than turnovers in 12 games this season, and in one stretch, had more assists than turnovers in eight straight contests. Overall this season, Notre Dame owns a 1.24 assist-to-turnover ratio with 284 assists and 229 turnovers. The Irish are averaging 14.2 assists and 11.5 turnovers. The Irish had a season-best 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio against Connecticut. Another season-best performance came against Morehead State as Notre Dame registered a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, dishing off 20 assists and committing only eight turnovers. The Irish have turned the ball over 10 or fewer times on nine occasions this season. In the last 14 games, Notre Dame has committed a total of 146 turnovers (10.4 per game).
  • Notre Dame has seen its free-throw percentage drop to 72.6 percent and out of the top-25 nationally in that category. At the start of BIG EAST Conference play, the Irish stood second nationally with a 78.7 average. Since BIG EAST play started, Notre Dame has connected on just 134-201 from the charity stripe (66.7%) in league play. The Irish converted just 3-8 from the line (both season lows) against Pittsburgh in the first meeting between the two teams. On the season, Notre Dame is getting 21.2 percent of its scoring from the charity stripe. The Irish are outscoring opponents 305-218 from the line and have attempted 104 (420-316) more free throws, due largely to ranking sixth in the nation in fewest fouls per game (14.3).
  • Chris Thomas has averaged 27.0 points in the last two games – 23 points in the loss to Pittsburgh and a season-high 31 points against Connecticut. He has scored 20-plus points in 10 games this season and 35 times during his career. Thomas has topped the 30-point mark on four occasions in 87 career outings.
  • Chris Quinn, who was held without a field goal and scored just three points against the Pittsburgh, got back on track with a 17-point effort versus the Huskies. Quinn was 0-8 from the field and 0-3 from three-point range in the loss to the Panthers, but rebounded from his one-game shooting slump to finish 5-11 from the field and 2-5 from three-point range.
  • Torrian Jones posted his third double double of the season in the win over Connecticut as he scored 14 points and grabbed 12 reboudns. After not having a double-double in his first 100 career games, Torrian Jones registered back-to-back double-doubles against West Virginia (January 7) and Villanova (January 10). He had 17 points and 14 rebounds against the Mountaineers and followed that up with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Wildcats. Jones has scored in double figures in nine games this season and four of the last six contests.
  • Torin Francis owned the longest consecutive double-figure scoring streak on the team (15 games) before netting just eight points against Kentucky on January 25. That streak included the first 14 games of the 2003-04 campaign and the final contest of the 2002-03 campaign (NCAA tournament versus Arizona).
  • Chris Quinn had his nine-game double-figures scoring streak snapped (the longest of his career) against Kentucky when he netted nine points in the game, but came back against Miami to score 15 points. He is averaging 15.3 points per game in the last 15 contests (230). He is shooting 46.3% (76-164) from the field and 43.9% (43-98) from three-point range over that span. Quinn has started 14 games overall and been in the starting lineup in each of the last nine contests.
  • Chris Quinn has turned the ball over just 21 times in 706 minutes this season, an average of 33.6 minutes between turnovers. He had a stretch of 159:00 on the floor without a turnover from the first half vs. DePaul (12/14) until the first half against Villanova. He has been without a turnover in seven games this season, spanning 240 minutes.
  • Heading into the season, Jordan Cornette had played in 65 career games and scored in double figures in just one contest. In two of the last five games, he has netted double figures, including an 11-point effort against Boston College . Overall this season, Cornette has been in double figures in three games.
  • Three Irish players are netting double figures with Chris Thomas leading the team with a 18.6 scoring average. Chris Quinn is averaging 14.3, while Torin Francis is averaging 14.2 points and 8.8 reboundsTorrian Jones has contributed 9.2 points per contest.
  • Four Notre Dame players are averaging better than 30 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (37.9), Chris Quinn (35.3), Torrian Jones (32.7) and Torin Francis (31.6).
  • Prior to the start of the 2003-04 campaign, Torrian Jones averaged 14.2 minutes of playing time in his first three seasons. This season, he has played 30-plus minutes in 14 contests. In the loss at Rutgers, he played all 40 minutes.
  • Mike Brey earned his 70th win along the Irish sidelines against American on December 21. He owns a 77-40 (.658) overall record as the Irish head coach in three-plus seasons. Brey coached in his 100th game on Dec. 1 and in his 250th career game against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 29. He earned his 175th career win the win over Miami on January 28.
  • Notre Dame has a 25-10 (.714) record when playing on Valentine’s Day.
  • Notre Dame is 24-7 in its last 31 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 7-7 in their last 14 home games. The Irish are 8-5 at home this season – the most losses since the 1998-99 campaign when that Notre Dame suffered five losses at the Joyce Center.

Today’s Game:

  • Today’s game will be the only regular-season meeting between the Irish and the Pirates.
  • This afternoon’s contest marks the third straight home game for Notre Dame.
  • Following the Seton Hall contest, four of Notre Dame’s six remaining regular-season games will be on the road. One of those games is a non-conference matchup against UCLA on February 28. The only two remaining home games are against Providence (February 24) and Georgetown (March 4).
  • Seton Hall has won five of its last six games, including Monday night’s 68-67 overtime victory over Pittsb urgh.
  • Notre Dame holds a 9-7 edge in its series with Seton Hall and has won four of the last seven meetings. During each of the last three seasons, the two teams faced each other twice during the season when both were situated in the BIG EAST’s West Division. This year’s one-division format has the two schools meeting just once during the regular season.
  • Notre Dame is 6-1 against the Pirates at the Joyce Center. The last victory for a Pirate team at Notre Dame was on February 18, 2001.

Irish Player Tidbits:

  • Chris Thomas leads the Irish in scoring (18.6 and assists 5.1). He has registered 20 or more points in nine of the last 17 games, including a season-high 31 points in the win over Connecticut. In the win over the Huskies, he became Notre Dame’s career assist leader and has 590 to his credit in three-plus seasons spanning 87 games. The 31-points effort marked the second time in as many games that Thomas has scored 20-plus points. He had 23 points in Notre Dame’s previous outing against Pittsburgh. He has registered back-to-back 20-point performance three times this season. Against Central Michigan and Indiana, he scored 24 points in both of those contests. He also scored 20-plus points in consecutive outings against Villanova (26 points) and Pittsburgh (29 points). Against Villanova, 21 of his 26 points came in the second half. Thomas enjoyed a similar outing in the win at Virginia Tech with 19 of his 23 ponts coming in the final 20-minute stanza. He was held to a season-low seven points against Quinnipiac which snapped his streak of 27 consecutive games in double figures. Thomas has reached double digits in 73 of 87 career contests. Prior to the game against the Bobcats, the last time Thomas failed to score 10 points was at Pittsburgh (Jan. 6, 2003) when he netted just five points. He had a season-high 11 assists against Quinnipiac, marking the first time in 2003-04 (and 15th time in his career) with 10 or more assists in a game. Thomas ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in six categories: free throw percentage (6th, 85.2%), assists (5th, 5.10), scoring (6th, 17.9), assist-to-turnover ratio (12th, 1.82), three-point field goal percentage (12th, 31.9%) and three-point field goals made (tied for 6th, 2.55).
  • Chris Quinn has been in starting lineup on 14 occasions this season and has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 15 games. He earned starts in the first five contests and came off the bench during Notre Dame’s six-game win streak. Quinn has been in the starting lineup for each of the last nine contests. He scored 25 points in Notre Dame’s lost at Boston College, which equalled his career-best which he set earlier this season against Quinnipiac. In the last 15 games, he has averaged 15.3 points (230 points) and is shooting 46.3% (76-164) from the field and 43.9% (43-98) from three-point range. He has registered double figures in 16 of 20 contests, and prior to the Kentucky game, had netted double figures in nine straight contests (against the Wildcats he was held to nine points). Quinn posted back-to-back career outings against American and Quinnipiac, scoring 19 and 25 points, respectively. In addition, he netted 17 points versus Morehead State. He is averaging career bests of 14.3 points (second leading scorer) and 2.7 rebounds, in addition to 3.4 assists. He has played 40 minuts in three games – Central Michigan, Syracuse and Kentucky. He has turned the ball over just 21 times this season in 706 minutes, averaging 33.6 minutes between giveaways. He had a streak of 159:00 minutes on the floor without a turnover snapped in the first half against Villanova. The stretch extended back to the Dec. 14 contest with DePaul. Quinn is among the top five in the BIG EAST leaders in four categories. He leads the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.24), is third in three-point field goal percentage (40.8%) , tied for sixth fourth in three-point field goals (2.55 per game) and is 18th in scoring (14.2).
  • Torin Francis has posted double-doubles in seven games this season. In 54 career outings (all starts), Francis has 17 double doubles. He has scored in double figures in 16 of 20 contests and in 17 of his last 21 games dating back to last season. Francis is Notre Dame’s third-leading scorer (14.2 ppg.) and leading rebounder (8.8). In addition, he is second on the team with 35 blocked shots. He has scored 20-plus points in five contests. Francis netted 24 in the season opener against Northern Illinois, 23 in the Dec. 1 loss at Marquette, 21 against Morehead State , 22 against Virginia Tech and most recently 23 in the loss at Rutgers. He also had 19 rebounds in the season opener, a total that still stands as the top performance by a BIG EAST player this season. Dating back to 2002-03, he has had 10 doubles doubles in the last 26 games. Francis also has scored 20 or more points on nine occasions and has registered 10 or more rebounds 20 times. He has scored in double figures in 35 instances, including every game but three (Kentucky, Boston College and Pittsburgh) in 2003-04. He is shooting 56.2 percent from the field (77-137) in the last 14 games. Francis is among the BIG EAST leaders in five categories: rebounding (5th, 8.8), defensive rebounds (4th, 5.70), offensive rebounds (7th, 3.05), blocked shots (9th, 1.75) and scoring (19th, 14.2).
  • Torrian Jones has started all 19 games he has played and is enjoying his best year. He missed the Central Michigan affair with a hip flexor and did not dress. Jones is averaging career bests of 9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 32.7 minutes per game. Jones has scored in double figures in nine games overall this season and in four of the last seven games. Jones played all 40 minutes in Notre Dame’s recent outing at Rutgers. After not having a double-double in his first 100 career games, he has recorded three double doubles this season. He had 17 points (tying a career high) and a career-best 14 rebounds vs. West Virginia and followed that up with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Villanova. In Notre Dame’s win over Connecticut, he scored 14 points and grabbed 12 boards. Jones played 38 minutes in the WVU game, hitting seven of his eight shots. His double-digit scoring efforts in both the Mount St. Mary’s and Marquette games marked the first time in his career that scored 10 or more in consecutive outings. In addition to his 12 points against Mount St. Mary’s, he had seven rebounds and a career-high six assists.
  • Jordan Cornette has started 15 of 20 games this season and has been in the starting lineup in each of the last five contests. He started the first five games before coming off the bench in the sixth game of the season against DePaul. That outing proved to be his best in an Irish uniform as Cornette finished with 17 points against the Blue Demons, marking the second time in his career that he has reached double figures. He was awarded the Wendell Smith Award as the game’s MVP. Cornette shot 6 of 10 from the field and was 5 for 7 from three-point range. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 34 minutes. Cornette registered his second career double-double in the win over Miami three days ago as he finished with 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots. He also did not turn the ball over in 33 minutes of action. Cornette also has 128 career blocks in an Irish uniform and ranks 7th in the BIG EAST Conference with 1.75 blocks per game.
  • Tom Timmermans has earned starts in four games this season. He had his best performance in an Irish uniform against Syracuse as he registered career bests in points (16), field goals (7), field goals attempted (10), rebounds (8), assists (4) and minutes played (32). After missing the Central Michigan, Indiana, DePaul and American contests, Timmermans has played in each of the last 13 games. In his four starts, he averaged 26.0 minutes per game, 7.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. He has played in 15 games overall, averaging 18.3 minutes, 4.9 points and 3.4 rebounds.
  • Rick Cornett has played in 14 games and is coming off one of his best performances of the season in Notre Dame’s win over Connecticut as he scored six points and grabbing a career-high seven rebounds. He returned to action vs. West Virginia after missing three games (American, Quinnipiac and Morehead State) after suffering a sprained foot in practice on December 18. In his first career start, he played a career-high 16 minutes against DePaul, finishing with 10 points (on 4-of-6 shooting from the field) and five rebounds. He had two points and a rebound in three minutes vs. WVU in his first game back. Cornett has played in 14 contests and is averaging 2.3 points and 2.4 rebounds.
  • Colin Falls has made six starts and is the only Irish rookie who has seen action in all 20 games. He is averaging 16.9 minutes per game, while netting 4.8 points and 1.4 rebounds. Of his 30 field goals this season, 24 have been from beyond the three-point arc. He earned his first career start against Central Michigan and played 33 minutes while netting 11 points. He made his second start of the season against the Blue Demons and finished with a season-high 12 points. Falls, has scored in double figures in three games overall this season. He also scored 12 points (all in the first half in Notre Dame’s win over Villanova).
  • Russell Carter saw action for the first time 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 at the end of the first half. He has seen action in seven games this season and played in just one BIG EAST game (Rutgers).

Series Record Vs. Seton Hall:
Today’s game will mark the 17th meeting between the two schools with Notre Dame holding a 9-7 advantage in the series. The Irish have won four of the last seven meetings. This afternoon’s contest will be the only regular-season meeting between the two schools. Notre Dame and Seton Hall split their two regular-season matchups last season. Since the Irish became a member of the BIG EAST Conference, there have been 14 meetings with Notre Dame winning eight of those contests. Seton Hall is 1-6 in seven appearances at the Joyce Center with their last win coming on February 18, 2001 (74-64).

Streak Busters:
Notre Dame has stopped a couple of notable streaks this season. In the BIG EAST opener against West Virginia on January 7, West Virginia’s Drew Schifino managed just nine points vs. the Irish, snapping his school-record string of 48 consecutive contests with 10 or more points. It was the longest active streak of that nature in NCAA Division I at the time. One week ago at Villanova, Notre Dame posted an 82-78 victory over Villanova, registering a win against the Wildcats for the first time since 1984. Villanova had previously beaten the Irish eight consecutive times since Notre Dame became a BIG EAST member in 1995-96. The teams did not play between 1984 and ’96.

Fast BIG EAST Start:
Notre Dame’s victories over West Virginia and Villanova marked just the second time the Irish have opened with a pair of wins in league play since joining the conference in 1995-96. In 1999-2000, Notre Dame beat #2 Connecticut and Boston College to start conference action.

In Good Hands:
Chris Quinn owns an impressive 3.24 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has played 706 minutes, dished off 68 assists and turned the ball over just 21 times, which translates into one turnover every 33.6 minutes. He had a string of 159:00 minutes on the floor without a turnover snapped in the first half vs. Villanova. His previous turnover came in the first half of the DePaul game on Dec. 14. Quinn dished off a career-high eight assists against Miami in 37 minutes and turned the ball over just one time.

Taking Care Of The Basketball:
A key to Notre Dame’s success this season has been not excessively turning the ball over. The Irish have committed 10 turnovers or fewer on nine occasions this season. Notre Dame had a season-low four turnovers on Monday night against Connecticut in its victory as the Irish did not commit a turnover in the second half. In the season opener against Northern Illinois, the Irish had just eight turnovers and had a season-low seven turnovers in the win over American. Notre Dame has had more assists than turnovers in nine of the last 13 games and are averaging 11.5 turnovers and 14.2 assists per game this season.

Irish Assist Leader:
Chris Thomas became Notre Dame’s career assist leader on Monday night against Connecticut as he passed David Rivers’ (1984-88) mark of 586. Thomas, who has 590 assists to his credit, achieved the record in the 87th game of his career, compared to Rivers achieving his total in 118 career outings. Thomas owns a 6.8 career assist average, while Rivers averaged a 4.97 assist average.

Threes Finally Falling For Falls:
Freshman Colin Falls seems to have found his three-point range. After missing his first seven three-point attempts, he has come back to make 24 of his last 59 attempts (40. 7 percent). Twenty-four of the 30 field goals he has made have come from three-point range. Falls is shooting 37.5 percent overall from the field and 36.9 percent from three-point range. Falls hit his first career three-pointer in his first career start in the loss to the Chippewas after missing his first six attempts of the season. He missed his first three-point attempt against Central Michigan, but nailed his first career three-pointer on his second try.

Hot Shots:
Sophomores Torin Francis and Chris Quinn have enjoyed strong shooting performances during Notre Dame’s last 15 games. Francis is shooting 56.6 percent, converting 77-136 from the field. Quinn has been equally impressive from the floor, hitting 46.3 percent of his shots from the field (76-136) and 43.9 percent (43-98) of his three-point attempts. Overall, Francis is shooting 54.1 percent from the field (98-181), while Quinn has nailed 44.3 percent of his shots (93-210). He and Chris Thomas lead Notre Dame with 51 three-point field goals. His 40.8 shooting percentage from beyond the arc also leads the team.

Double The Pleasure:
Torin Francis’ 22 points and 16 rebounds against Virginia Tech marked the 17th double-double of his career and his seventh of the season. He also had double-doubles against Northern Illinois (24 points, 19 rebounds), Central Michigan (10 points, 12 rebounds), Indiana (13 points, 13 rebounds) , Quinnipiac (19 points, 11 rebounds), Morehead State (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Syracuse (17 points, 10 rebounds). Francis’ scoring (24 points) and rebounding (19 rebounds) totals in the Northern Illinois game were the second-highest of his career. Francis has scored in double figures 35 times during his career and grabbed 10 or more rebounds on 20 occasions.

Irish Defense Shuts Down Mountaineers:
Notre Dame held West Virginia to a season-low 52 points in its 11-point victory in its BIG EAST opener. The 52 points matched the second-fewest ever allowed by the Irish in a BIG EAST game. Notre Dame also gave up 52 points in a 69-52 win over Syracuse at the Joyce Center on January 2, 1997. The fewest points surrendered by the Irish in a league game was 51 in a 60-51 victory over Seton Hall in the Joyce Center on January 26, 2002.

Cornette’s Century Mark:
Jordan Cornette blocked his 100th career shot against Marquette and has 128 to his credit for a 1.5 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. Cornette is third all-time, followed by Troy Murphy (1998-01) who blocked 126 shots in three seasons.

Mr. Jones:
Torrian Jones registered his third double double of the season in the win over Connecticut as he scored 14 points and hauled in 12 rebounds. He also equalled a career-best with four steals. Jones registered his first career double in Notre Dame’s first BIG EAST game of the season against West Virginia has he netted 17 points and grabbed 14 boards. The 17 points equalled his career best, while the 14 boards established a new personal best. He followed up that performance with another double double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds vs. Villanova. Jones heads into the Seton Hall game having scored in double figures in four of the last six contests. He has reached double figures in nine contests in 2003-04 and 13 times during his career. Jones has played in more games (111) than any other player on the roster.

Jones Factor This Season:
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. In 19 games in 2003-04, he is averaging career bests of 9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 32.7 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 accomplished that feat. Jones then recorded his first two career double-doubles in consecutive games vs. West Virginia (17 points, 14 rebounds) and Villanova (10 points, 11 rebounds). Prior to the start of the season, he had scored in double figures on just five occasions. Jones played all 40 minutes for the first time in his career against Rutgers.

Dutch Treat:
Tom Timmermans’ performance against Syracuse on January 17 marked his best effort in 73 games in an Irish uniform. He registered double figures for the first time in his career with his 16-point effort. Timmermans hit on 7-10 shots from the field, both career highs. In addition to playing a personal best 32 minutes, he matched his career best with eight boards and dished off a personal high four assists. Timmermans finished with 10 points against Kentucky, marking the second double-figures scoring effort of his career.

Irish Trying To Get In The Scoring Groove:
Notre Dame has scored 74 points or more nine times in 20 games this season, scoring the 80 or more points on four occasions. The Irish are averaging 71.8 points per contest. Notre Dame’s 84 points vs. Morehead State on Dec. 28 have been the most in a game this season, though the Irish put up 82 against both DePaul (82-69, Dec. 14) and Villanova (82-78, Jan. 10). In its three losses, Notre Dame managed just 63.0 points per game. In Mike Brey’s first three seasons, Notre Dame averaged 78.1 ppg. (2000-01), 78.8 ppg (2001-02) and 79.2 ppg. (2002-03).

Team Defense:
Notre Dame is yielding 69.3 points per game and has held 10 of its 19 opponents to fewer than 70 points. Marquette, American, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Kentucky have been the only teams to hit the 70-point plateau against the Irish this season. In Mike Brey’s first three seasons, Notre Dame allowed 69.5 ppg. in 2000-01, 68.3 ppg. in 2001-02 and 71.3 ppg. in 2002-03.

Thomas Reaches Assist Milestone:
Chris Thomas surpassed 500 career assists on Dec. 1 against Marquette. In 87 career contests, he has 590 for a 6.8 career average. He 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 1,525 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, 586 assists) and Elmer Bennett (1988-92 – 1,488 points, 516 assists).

Chris Thomas has started all 87 games of his Irish career and is second all-time in consecutive games started. Pat Garrity (1994-98) started all 111 games of his Notre Dame career, while John Paxson (1979-83) made 85 consecutive starts (86 total during his career) and stands third on that list. Paxson started every game in his final three seasons.

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 87games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 57-30 record for a .655 winning percentage As a freshman, he averaged 7.64 assists to rank fifth nationally. Thomas then dished off 6.9 assists (eighth in the nation) as a sophomore. He is the only player in Notre Dame history to record 200-plus assists in consecutive seasons. He has distributed 10-plus assists in 15 games during his career.

Block Party:
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 has 97 blocks in 2003-04 for an average of 4.85 per game.

Where Charity Begins:
The Irish used free-throw shooting as a weapon last season, averaging 17 free throws made per game. Notre Dame outscored its 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 15.3 made free throws per game this season and have attempted an average of 21.0 per game. Irish opponents are averaging 10.9 made free throws per game and 15.8 attempts

Lineup Shakeup:
Irish had coach Mike Brey has juggled his starting lineup this season and has had a different starting five on five occasions. Below is a look at each starting lineup’s record.

  • Jordan Cornette, Torin Francis, Chris Thomas, Colin Falls and Torrian Jones – 5-0
  • Jordan Cornette, Torin Francis, Chris Thomas, Chris Quinn and Torrian Jones – 4 -5
  • Rick Cornett, Torin Francis, Chris Thomas, Colin Falls and Torrian Jones – 1-0
  • Torin Francis, Tom Timmermans, Torrian Jones, Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn – 1-3
  • Jordan Cornette, Torin Francis, Chris Thomas, Chris Quinn and Colin Falls – 0-1

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. At home this season, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 211-110 from the line and has attempted 121 more free throws (282-161). Overall, the Irish have converted on 74.8 percent of their attempts at home. In its two best performances of the season, Notre Dame was 19-20 (.950) from the line against Mount St. Mary’s and 18-20 (.900) vs. American.

The Irish All-Time:
The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of varsity men’s basketball at Notre Dame. Irish teams have posted a 1540-846 record for a .645 winning percentage.

New BIG EAST Look:
The BIG EAST Conference is playing under a new league format in which every team faces 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 format featuring two seven-team divisions. Under the former system, the teams were broken down into East and West divisions. Each school played 12 divisional contests on a home-and-home basis and crossover games 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 home conference 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 BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden, March 10-13, with the top four finishers during the regular season receiving first-round byes.

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.

Elite Company:
Notre Dame is one of just nine schools – also Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland Misouri and Stanford – that has advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the last three years.

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 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 have made the NCAA tournament in 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 36-22 (.621) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and 1-3 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 37-25 (.597) against league foes. In Brey’s first season, the Irish posted their first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the BIG EAST West Division with an 11-5 mark. Under Brey, Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST school to win 10-plus league games in each of the last three seasons. Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record in BIG EAST games since joining the league in 1995-96.

Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season (1968-69) at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 428-129 record all-time for a .768 winning percentage. The Irish are 43-14 (.754) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons-plus, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 93-32 mark for a .744 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 24 of their last 31 games at home, but have dropped seven of the last 15 on their homecourt dating back to last season.

Jump Start:
Over the course of the last three-plus seasons, Notre Dame teams have played well in their non-conference tuneups during the months of November and December. Irish teams own an impressive 34-8 (.810) combined record. Six of the 42 games have been against ranked opponents and have included wins against Cincinnati (2000), Marquette (2002), Maryland (2002) and Texas (2002).

Brey Versus Ranked Opponents:
As a head coach at both Notre Dame and Delaware, Mike Brey has coached in 39 games against ranked opponents and owns a 13-26 record in those matchups. In three-plus seasons at Notre Dame, he has faced ranked opponents on 33 occasions and his teams are 13-20 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 in an overtime affair 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).

Tough Ticket:
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 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. This season, four games have already been sell outs – Indiana, Syracuse, Kentucky and Pittsburgh, with three more – Connecticut, Seton Hall and Georgetown – already sold out. This year, 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.

Home Cookin’:
Notre Dame began 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.

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 and provided 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. 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, 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.

Another Happy Homecoming:
Notre Dame’s win on the road at Villanova not only was the first for an Irish team over the Wildcats in nine meetings, but it also marked the homecoming for two Irish players and a member of the coaching staff. Torrian Jones, a native of Morrisville, Pa., registered his second consecutive double double as he finished with 10 points and 11 boards. Russell Carter, from nearby Paulsboro, N.J. did not get in the game. The contest also marked the return of former Irish point guard Martin Ingelsby to the Philadelphia, Pa., area. Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pa., starred for Notre Dame from 1997-01. He currently serves as the program’s coordinator of basketball operations.

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 in 71 career games played at the time that he had scored in double figures. The last time he scored in double figures was against Georgetown (Jan. 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.

Notre Dame All-Time In The BIG EAST:
In eight-plus seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame owns a 71-75 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .483 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 36-22 (.621) mark in regular-season play.

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).

Sensational Six:
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, while Rick Cornett chipped in 10. It marked the first time since Jan. 27, 1990, in a 107-60 win at the Joyce Center that six Irish players had 10 or more points. 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 with 10 points.

Facing The Defending National Champions:
Notre Dame will meet defending national champion Syracuse one more time during 2003-04 season. The January 17 matchup against the Orangemen marked the second straight year the Irish faced the defending NCAA champion. 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 Irish team had played a team that had won the NCAA crown the previous year. Notre Dame owns an 8-24 mark versus teams which have won the NCAA crown in the previous season. Heading into the matchup against Syracuse, Irish teams had been victorious in three of the last four times it had gone up against the defending NCAA champion. The 1999-2000 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 40 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s three seasons, only 10 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 293 points for an average of 7.33 points. Notre Dame’s 17-point losses at Pittsburgh and against Arizona in the NCAA Sweet 16 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 (vs. Georgetown 83-73) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five points or less.

167 And Counting:
Heading into today’s game against Seton Hall, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 166 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut in the Hartford Civic Center (Jan. 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. During his final prep season, he captained 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. Bosl has seen action in three games this season: vs. Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, and Morehead State.

Irish Add Carlson To Roster:
Notre Dame has added another walk-on to its roster as freshman John Carlson joined the Irish squad on Jan. 8 for the first time in practice. Carlson, a 6-6, 230-pound forward, is a scholarship member of the Notre Dame football team as a tight end. He did not see action in any games this season for the Irish. A native of Litchfield, Minn., Carlson was a four-year starter at Litchfield High School where he was a three-time all-conference selection and two-time all-state honoree. He was the starting center on his prep basketball team and led his squad to a 114-8 record during his career in winning the Minnesota Class 2A state title three times. A first-team all-state selection as a senior and four-time all-conference choice, he finished his career with 1,676 career points, 974 rebounds and 412 assists. He also played tennis at Litchfield posted a 106-22 mark at #1 doubles as a three-time all-conference honoree.

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.

Mike Brey Radio Show:
For the second consecutive year, Mike Brey will host a 30-minute radio show live on Tuesday evenings from 7:30-8:00 p.m. at Logan’s Roadhouse on Main Street in Mishawaka. The show airs from Dec. 9, 2003-March 2, 2004 (no show on Feb. 24) and is broadcast live on 92.9-FM (U93 in South Bend).

Web Site (
Notre Dame’s official athletic department web site can be found at, with the extensive offerings including live audio for all Irish men’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.

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 Sept. 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.

Notre Dame 12th in Directors’ Cup
Notre Dame stands 12th in the final set of fall sports standings in the 2003-04 Division United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup all-sports competition. Irish teams have earned a combined 199 points. Michigan currently leads the standings with 482 points. Notre Dame has reached its highest finish – 11th- on three occasions (1993-94, 1995-96 and 2000-01).