Feb. 26, 2004
NOTRE DAME Fighting Irish (13-11, 7-7) at
UCLA Bruins (11-13, 7-9)
Date: Saturday, February 28, 2004
Place: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
Time: 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Television: CBS Sports – Dick Enberg (play-by-play analyst) and Matt Guokas (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 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 and UCLA renewing their storied rivalry for first time since 1995. The last meeting between the two schools was held on December 20, 1995 at the Joyce Center for with the Bruins earning an 83-58 victory.
- This is Notre Dame’s first visit to Pauley Pavilion since February 5, 1995 when that Irish team dropped a 92-55 decision.
- Notre Dame owns a 6-15 all-time mark at Pauley Pavilion. Its last victory over the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion was on January 14, 1989 (82-79).
- Notre Dame is looking to end a two-game losing streak. The Irish are coming off of a 73-59 loss at home to Providence. It was the sixth time this season that Notre Dame lost at home – the most losses at home since the 1998-99 campaign when that Irish squad finished with a 10-6 record at the Joyce Center.
- The Irish have played ranked opponents on nine occasions this season and own a 2-7 record versus those teams in 2003-04. Notre Dame’s two wins came against No. 5 Connecticut (80-74) and No. 24 Syracuse (84-72).
- Notre Dame’s three-game conference win streak prior to its loss (61-50) to Connecticut on February 21 was its longest of the season and longest since its four-game win streak last season against Providence (71-65), Boston College (101-96), West Virginia (88-69) and Georgetown (93-92).
- The 50 points were the fewest scored by an Irish team in head coach Mike Brey’s three-plus seasons and second fewest ever by a Notre Dame team in BIG EAST play. The last time an Irish squad tallied 50 points or less in a game was on January 25, 2000 in dropping a 63-49 decision to Miami at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame’s 29.7 percent shooting performance in the game was the lowest (and second lowest during Brey’s tenure) since the Irish shot just 29.0 percent (18-62) against Mississippi in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame has struggled shooting the ball from the field in the last two games as the Irish are just a combined 36-118 (30.5 percent) from the field. After shooting 29.7 percent against the Huskies, Notre Dame connected on just 31.5 percent (17-54) versus Providence. It marks the worst back-to-back shooting performance by an Irish team during Mike Brey’s three-plus seasons.
- Following today’s contest, Notre Dame has two remaining regular-season games as it concludes the regular season at home against Georgetown (March 4) and with a road game versus St. John’s (March 6).
- Point guard Chris Thomas became Notre Dame’s career assist leader in the Irish win over over Connecticut on Febuary 9. Thomas, who has 606 career assists, eclipsed the former mark of 586 set by David Rivers (1984-88). Thomas’ career-assist average of 6.7 ranks first all-time. He is the only Irish basketball player to score more than 1,600 points and dish off 600 assists.
- Chris Thomas achieved a first in his career in Notre Dame’s win at Syracuse when he registered 25 points, which marked his fourth consecutive outing with 20 or more points. Thomas scored 23 points in a loss to Pittsburgh and then followed that with a 31-point outing against Connecticut and a 26-point output in the win over Seton Hall. The 105 points he registered over those games (26.3 ppg.) were the most in four straight games for Thomas during his career. Thomas has topped the 20-point mark in five of the last six games.
- The backcourt of Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn produced its highest combined scoring output of the season as the Irish duo combined for 47 of the team’s 84 points in the win at Syracuse. Thomas scored 25 points and Quinn added 22.
- Torrian Jones had his four-game double-figure scoring streak snapped at Connecticut as he netted just six points. He also had six points in Tuesday night’s loss to Providence. In the four previous outings prior to the UConn game, Jones netted double figures ( a first for him in his career) – Pittsburgh (12), Connecticut (14), Seton Hall (13) and Syracuse (12). Heading into this season, Jones had reached double figures in five of 92 career contests. This season, he has scored 10 or more points in 11 of the 23 games he has played. Jones has reached double figures in six of the last 10 contests.
- Forward Torin Francis is out indefinitely with a back injury (disc). He started both the Pittsburgh and Connecticut contests, but has not played in the last four contests (Seton Hall, Syracuse and Connecticut – both games). Before missing the Connecticut game on February 9, he had played and started all 54 games of his career.
- Colin Falls netted double figures for the fourth time this season in the loss at Connecticut when he scored 10 points. It was his first double-figure scoring effort since a 12-point performance on the road against Villanova on January 12.
- 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 11 losses this season have been by a total of 102 points (a margin of 9.3 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.
- Chris Thomas has started every game of his Irish career (91 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 committed 12 turnovers against Providence, which snapped a four-game streak in which the Irish had turned the ball over less than 10 times. It marked the first time that a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey had committed less than 10 turnovers in four straight contests. Notre Dame has averaged just 8.4 turnovers in its last seven games. The Irish turned the ball over a season-low four times in their win over Connecticut on February 9, which included no turnovers in the second half. In the second meeting versus the Huskies, Notre Dame has just five turnovers. Against Seton Hall and Syracuse, Notre Dame turned the ball over nine times in both of those contests. The Irish have 10 or fewer turnovers on 12 occasions this season.
- Notre Dame has had more assists than turnovers in 16 games this season, and in one stretch, had more assists than turnovers in eight straight contests. Overall this season, Notre Dame owns a 1.27 assist-to-turnover ratio with 334 assists and 264 turnovers. The Irish are averaging 13.9 assists and 11.0 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. In the last 18 games, Notre Dame has committed a total of 181 turnovers (10.1 per game).
- Notre Dame has seen its free-throw percentage drop to 72.1 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 198-293 from the charity stripe (67.6%) 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 21.7 percent of its scoring from the charity stripe. The Irish are outscoring opponents 369-274 from the line and have attempted 123 (512-389) more free throws.
- Chris Thomas has scored 20-plus points in 13 games this season and 38 times during his career. He has topped the 30-point mark on four occasions in 91 career outings.
- Torrian Jones has registered a double-double in two of the last five games and in four contests overall. He had 12 points and 12 rebounds against Syracuse on Feb. 16. After not having a double-double in his first 100 career games, Torrian Jones registered back-to-back double-doubles against West Virginia (Jan. 7) and Villanova (Jan. 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.
- 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 14.9 points per game in the last 19 contests (284). He is shooting 46.2% (90-195) from the field and 42.1% (48-114) from three-point range over that span. Quinn has started 17 games overall and been in the starting lineup in each of the last 12 contests.
- Chris Quinn has turned the ball over just 29 times in 815 minutes this season, an average of 29.3 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 eight games this season, spanning 277 minutes.
- Heading into the season, Jordan Cornette had played in 65 career games and scored in double figures in just one contest. He has netted double figures in three games this season – DePaul (17), Miami (12) and Boston College (11).
- Three Irish players are netting double figures with Chris Thomas leading the team with a 19.1 scoring average. Chris Quinn is averaging 14.1, while Torin Francis was averaging 14.2 points and 8.8 rebounds before his injury. Torrian Jones has contributed 9.4 points per contest.
- Four Notre Dame players are averaging better than 30 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (38.0), Chris Quinn (35.4), Torrian Jones (32.9) and Torin Francis (31.6). Chris Thomas has played 40 minutes in four of the last five games.
- 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 17 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 79-42 (.653) 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 versus Miami on January 28.
- Notre Dame is 10-14 (.417) record when playing on February 28 .
- Notre Dame is 25-8 in its last 33 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 8-8 in their last 16 home games. The Irish are 9-6 at home this season – the most losses since the 1998-99 campaign when that Notre Dame team suffered five losses at the Joyce Center.
- Today’s game is the final non-conference regular-season matchup for the Irish this season. Notre Dame owns a 6-4 mark in 2003-04 versus non-conference foes.
- Notre Dame travels to the state of California for the first time since the 1994-95 season when the Irish lost to UCLA 92-55 at Pauley Pavilion – the last meeting between the two schools on the West coast.
- Notre Dame will be looking to avoid its third three-game losing streak of the season.
- UCLA has lost nine of its last 11 games. The Bruins are 5-4 at Pauley Pavilion this season. UCLA’s two wins over the course of the last 11 contests have come at home against Washington (80-75) and Stanford (73-60). Prior to its win Washington on February 7, the Bruins had lost six straight.
Irish Player Tidbits:
- Chris Thomas leads the Irish in scoring (19.1) and assists (4.9). He has registered 20 or more points in 12 of the last 21 games, including a season-high 31 points in the win over Connecticut on February 9. Thomas netted a career-best four straight games with 20-plus points (versus Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Syracuse) and averaged 26.3 points in those contests. In the win over the Connecticut, he became Notre Dame’s career assist leader and has 606 to his credit in three-plus seasons spanning 91 games. In addition to his scoring 20-plus points in four straight games, Thomas has registered back-to-back 20-point performances on two occasions 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 points 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 76 of 90 career contests. 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 registered his first double-double of the season on Tuesday night against Providence as he scored 23 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds.
- Chris Quinn has been in starting lineup on 18 occasions this season and has scored in double figures in 16 of the last 19 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 13 contests. He scored 25 points in Notre Dame’s loss at Boston College, which equalled his career-best that he set earlier this season against Quinnipiac. Quinn registered his third 20-point outing of the season in Notre Dame’s win at Syracuse as he scored 22 points. He has registered double figures in 19 of 24 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. He is averaging career bests of 14.1 points (third-leading scorer) and 2.9 rebounds, in addition to 3.5 assists. He has played 40 minutes in three games – Central Michigan, Syracuse and Kentucky. He has turned the ball over just 29 times this season in 850 minutes, averaging 30.2 minutes between giveaways.
- Torin Francis is out indefinitely due to a disc problem in his lower back. He 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 the 20 contests, and in 17 of his last 21 games dating back to last season. Francis was averaging 14.2 points prior to his injury and was the team’s leading rebounder (8.8). In addition, his 35 blocked shots is second most on the team. He has scored 20-plus points in five contests this season. 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. Dating back to 2002-03, he has had 10 doubles-doubles in his last 26 games. In 54 career games, Francis 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 four (Kentucky, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Connecticut) in 2003-04. He was shooting 56.2 percent from the field (77-137) in his last 14 games.
- Torrian Jones has started all 23 games he has played and is enjoying his best year. He missed the Central Michigan game with a hip flexor and did not dress. Jones is averaging career bests of 9.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 32.8 minutes per game. Jones has scored in double figures in 11 games overall this season and in six of the last 10 contests. His streak of four straight games in double figures heading into the Connecticut game last Saturday was a personal best. 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 four 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 and then added 12 points and 12 boards in the Irish victory at Syracuse.
- Jordan Cornette has started 19 of 24 games this season and has been in the starting lineup in each of the last nine 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, he finished with 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots. He did not turn the ball over in 33 minutes of action. Cornette has scored in double figures in four games this season. He has 137 career blocks in an Irish uniform.
- Tom Timmermans has earned starts in eight games this season. He had his two best performances in an Irish uniform against Syracuse. In the first meeting at the Joyce Center, he registered career bests in points (16), field goals (7), field goals attempted (10), rebounds (8), assists (4) and minutes played (32). In the win at the Carrier Dome, he played 36 minutes (a new career-high) and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. After missing the Central Michigan, Indiana, DePaul and American contests, Timmermans has played in each of the last 17 games. In his four previous starts (Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Kentucky) prior to his recent ones against Seton Hall and Syracuse, Timmermans averaged 26.0 minutes per game, 7.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. He has played in 18 games overall, averaging 20.6 minutes, 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.
- Rick Cornett has played in 18 games and had one of his best performances of the season in Notre Dame’s win over Connecticut as he scored six points and grabbed a career-high seven rebounds. He also was impressive in the victory at Syracuse as he shot 4-5 from the field in scoring eight points. He also had six points and three rebounds against Seton Hall. Cornett returned to action vs. West Virginia after missing three games (American, Quinnipiac and Morehead State) because of a sprained foot – an injury he sustained 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 is averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.
- Colin Falls has made six starts and is the only Irish rookie who has seen action in all 24 games. He is averaging 15.9 minutes per game, while netting 4.6 points and 1.5 rebounds. Of his 34 field goals this season, 27 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 four games overall this season. He also scored 12 points (all in the first half in Notre Dame’s win over Villanova) and last Saturday’s loss (10 points) at Connecticut.
- 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. UCLA:
Notre Dame and UCLA renew one of the nation’s most storied non-conference rivalries. This will be the first meeting between the two schools in nearly nine years. The Bruins lead the series 26-18 and have won each of the last two meetings. The last game played in the series was on December 20, 1995 at the Joyce Center as UCLA earned an 83-58 decision. Notre Dame lost a 92-55 decision to UCLA the last time an Irish team played at Pauley Pavilion on February 5, 1995.
Irish Vs. Pac-10:
Notre Dame is 31-38 all-time versus Pac-10 opponents. Of those 69 total contests played against Pac-10 foes, 44 of them have been against UCLA. The last Pac-10 foe an Irish team faced was Arizona in the 2003 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey and UCLA head coach Ben Howland certainly have a familiarity with the their coaching styles and philosophies. Brey and Howland coached against each other in the BIG EAST Conference when Howland served as head coach of the Panthers. In the seven occasions that Notre Dame and Pittsburgh faced each other, Brey’s teams won five of those battles.
Cousy Award Finalist:
Chris Thomas is among 15 finalists for the inaugural Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, sponsored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The award recognizes the best true point guard in all three NCAA Divisions. In addition to Thomas, the finalists include: Timmy Bowers (Mississippi State), Tony Borghese (Otterbein), Antonio Burkes (Memphis), Michael Crotty (Williams), Travis Diener (Marquette), Eric Faber (Rollins), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Marques Green (St. Bonaventure), Devin Harris (Wisconsin), Chris Hernandez (Stanford), Josh Mueller (South Dakota), Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s), Kelvin Parker (Northwest Missouri State), Chris Paul (Wake Forest) and Gabe Perez (Rochester).
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. On January 10, 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.
Notre Dame’s win over over Connecticut on February 9 came exactly one year ago to the day of its last win over a top-five team. The 2002-03 Irish squad defeated No. 4 Pittsburgh 66-64 on Torin Francis’ basket with sixth-tenths of a second remaining in the contest.
Chris Thomas’ string of four straight games in double figures marked a first for the Irish point guard in his career. Over the course of those four contests (Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Syracuse), Thomas averaged 26.3 points in scoring 105 points. It represented the largest four-game consecutive scoring output of his career. The last Irish player to net 20-plus points in five consecutive games was Troy Murphy – he scored 20-plus points in the first six games of the 1999-2000 campaign.
In Good Hands:
Chris Quinn owns an impressive 2.86 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has played 850 minutes, dished off 83 assists and turned the ball over just 29 times, which translates into one turnover every 29.3 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:
When the Irish have been successful, the key to their success has been limiting the turnovers. The Irish have committed 10 turnovers or fewer on 12 occasions this season. Notre Dame had a season-low four turnovers against Connecticut on February 9 in its victory as the Irish did not commit a turnover in the second half. In Saturday’s loss to the Huskies, they turned the ball over just five times. The Irish committed only nine turnovers in wins over Seton Hall and Syracuse. 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 13 of the last 17 games and is averaging 11.0 turnovers and 13.9 assists per game this season.
Irish Assist Leader:
Chris Thomas became Notre Dame’s career-assist leader against Connecticut as he passed David Rivers’ (1984-88) mark of 586. Thomas, who has 606 assists to his credit, achieving the record in the 87th game of his career, compared to Rivers achieving his total in 118 career outings. Thomas owns a 6.7 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 following a slow start. After missing his first seven three-point attempts, he has come back to make 28 of his last 69 attempts (40.6 percent). Twenty-seven of the 34 field goals he has made have come from three-point range. Falls is shooting 37.4 percent overall from the field and 36.5 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.
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.
A Quick 48-Hour Turnaround:
Notre Dame has been challenged this season by playing two games in the span of 48 hours. The Irish will face this scheduling six times during the 2003-04 campaign.
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 137 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.
Torrian Jones registered his fourth double-double with his most recent coming in the win at Syracuse as he scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. He had 14 points and 12 rebounds and also equalled a career-best with four steals in the victory over Connecticut at the Joyce Center. Jones had a four-game double-figures scoring streak snapped against the Huskies last Saturday. It had marked the first time in his career that he had posted double digits in four straight games. Jones scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and matched a career-high with six assists in the win over Seton Hall. He registered his first career double in Notre Dame’s first BIG EAST game of the season against West Virginia as he netted 17 points and grabbed 14 boards. The 17 points equalled his career best, while the 14 boards established a new personal best. Jones followed up that performance with another double-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds vs. Villanova. Jones heads into the UCLA game having scored in double figures in six of the last 10 contests. He has reached double figures in 11 contests in 2003-04 and 15 times during his career. Jones has played in more games (115) than any other player on the roster.
The 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 23 games in 2003-04, he is averaging career bests of 9.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 32.8 minutes per game. 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.
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 then personal-best 32 minutes, he matched his career best with eight boards and dished off a personal high four assists. In Notre Dame’s second meeting with the Orangemen, Timmermans proved to be just as dangerous as he connected on 4-9 shots from the field in scoring 12 points, in addition to grabbing eight boards while playing a career-best 36 minutes. Timmermans finished with 10 points against Kentucky, marking the second double-figures scoring effort of his career. He earned his fifth start of the campaign and 16th of his career in the win over Seton Hall on February 14. Timmermans netted double figures for the third time this season as he finished with 10 points and tied for game-high rebounding honors with eight. Prior to this season, he had never scored in double figures.
Irish Looking For The Scoring Groove:
Notre Dame has scored 74 points or more just 10 times in 24 games this season and has topped the 80-point mark on four occasions. The Irish are averaging 70.8 points per contest, the fewest ever by an Irish team under Mike Brey. Notre Dame’s 84 points against Syracuse matched its highest scoring output of the season (the Irish also scored 84 points in a win over Morehead State on Dec. 28). 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).
Notre Dame is yielding 69.2 points per game and has held 12 of its 24 opponents to fewer than 70 points. Marquette, American, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Syracuse (twice) 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 91 career contests, he has 606 for a 6.7 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 and the only player with more than 600 assists and 1,600 points. Thomas has 1,612 career points for a career scoring average of 17.7. 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 91 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.
Making The Most Of His Starts:
In the eight games that Tom Timmermans has started this season, he has averaged 8.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 26.4 minutes. His four double-figure scoring efforts have all come when he has been in the starting lineup. Overall this season, Timmermans is averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds and 20.6 minutes per game.
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 91 games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 59-32 record for a .648 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.
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 110 blocks in 2003-04 for an average of 4.58 per game.
Irish head coach Mike Brey has juggled his starting lineup this season because of injuries and has had a different starting five on six 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
- Jordan Cornette, Tom Timmermans, Chris Thomas, Chris Quinn and Torrian Jones – 2-2
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 1542-848 record for a .645 winning percentage.
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.
Notre Dame is one of just nine schools – also Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland Missouri 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.
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 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 38-24 (.613) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and 1-3 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 39-27 (.591) 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 429-130 record all-time for a .767 winning percentage. The Irish are 44-15 (.755) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons-plus, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 94-32 mark for a .746 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 25 of their last 33 games at home, but have dropped eight of the last 17 on their homecourt dating back to last season.
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 42 games against ranked opponents and owns a 14-28 record in those matchups. In three-plus seasons at Notre Dame, he has faced ranked opponents on 35 occasions and his teams are 14-21 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).
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, sseven games have already been sell outs – Indiana, Syracuse, Kentucky and Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Providence- with the lone remaning home game – 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.
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 73-77 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .487 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 38-24 (.613) 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).
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’s win over Syracuse on February 16 marked the second straight year that Notre Dame has knocked off a team that the previous season had won the NCAA crown. 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 9-24 mark versus teams which have won the NCAA crown in the previous season. 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.
Irish Men and Women Join Elite Group:
With its win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, Notre Dame became just the fourth school since the inception of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament in 1982 to have both its men’s and women’s basketball teams defeat the defending national champions in the same season. On January 13, the Irish women’s team defeated Connecticut 66-51 at the Joyce Center. The three other schools to have accomplished this have been Duke (1998-99), Tennessee (1999-2000) and Michigan State (1999-2000).
Keeping It Close:
In the 42 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s three seasons, only 12 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 318 points for an average of 7.57 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.
171 And Counting:
Heading into today’s game against UCLA, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 171 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.
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 men’s basketball games (home and away), as well as real-time statistics for all Notre Dame home games.
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).