Feb. 8, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Torin Francis scored 21 points and Notre Dame shot a season-high 59 percent from the floor Wednesday to beat undermanned Rutgers 90-63, matching its biggest Big East victory ever and ending a five-game losing streak.
The Irish (11-10, 2-8 Big East), who had lost the five games by a combined 11 points, made sure the Scarlet Knights (13-10, 3-7) didn’t have a chance to break their hearts.
The Irish ended the first half on a 12-2 run to open a 38-26 lead, then opened the second half on a 30-15 spurt to go ahead 68-41 lead. The Irish eventually extended the lead to 79-50 on a 3-pointer by Russell Carter. Rutgers never got closer than 22 points.
The 27-point win matched Notre Dame’s previous biggest Big East victory, an 89-62 win over St. John’s in the regular-season finale in 2004.
Already down two regulars because of injuries to Adrian Hill (arthroscopic surgery on left knee on Feb. 2) and starter JR Inman (fractured right leg on Sunday), Rutgers also was without starting point guard Anthony Farmer after he injured his right shoulder in practice Tuesday.
Then starting center Byron Joynes aggravated a toe injury in the first half and did not return, finishing with no points in 8 minutes of play.
That left Quincy Douby, the Big East’s leading scorer at 25.4 points a game, to shoulder even more of the load than usual. He finished with 27 points. Marquis Webb added 14 points.
Carter had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Irish, Chris Quinn added 16 points and eight assists and Rick Cornett had 14 points and seven rebounds. The Irish outscored Rutgers 40-24 inside and the 59 percent shooting beat the 57 percent they shot against Providence on Jan. 14 – their last victory.
The five-game losing streak was Notre Dame’s longest since the 1993-94 season, when the Irish lost six straight. Rutgers has lost six of its last seven games.