March 1, 2007
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(22/17) Notre Dame (22-6, 10-5 BIG EAST)
Rutgers (10-18, 3-12 BIG EAST)
Saturday, March 3, 2007 * 4:00 p.m. (EST)
Louis Brown Athletic Center (8,000) * Piscataway, N.J.
Television: ESPN: Sean McDonough (play-by-play analyst) and Doris
Burke (color analyst)
Radio: Jack Nolan (play-by-play analyst)
LaPhonso Ellis (color analyst)
Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network which includes: WLS 890 AM in Chicago, Ill. (Chicago land area and Midwest); WZOW 97.7 FM and 102.3 FM in South Bend, Ind.; ESPN 950 AM in Indianapolis, Ind.; WLYV 1450 AM in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Northeast, Ind.;WLUV 96.7 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill. and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.; WEFM 95.9 FM in Michigan City and Gary, Ind.; ESPN (WRSW) 1480 AM in Warsaw, Ind.; WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind., Sirius Satellite Radio 159 and 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).
Playing its first game since registering an 85-73 victory over Marquette on Feb. 24, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team closes out the regular season on the road at Rutgers on Saturday afternoon (March 3). Winners of four straight and six of their last eight, the Irish head into the contest against the Scarlet Knights with an overall record of 22-6 and 10-5 mark in BIG EAST play. A win today would mark the most regular-season wins in seven campaigns under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame’s current four-game win streak in conference play is the longest since the 2002-03 campaign. Notre Dame leads the all-time 12-11 with the all-time series in BIG EAST play tied at 8-8. Since 1995-96 when the two schools began competing as BIG EAST foes, Notre Dame is 1-8 at the RAC. It’s lone win was an 81-59 victory on Feb. 14, 2001. The Irish won the regular-season meeting between the two schools last year with a 90-63 win at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame’s 85-73 victory over Marquette closed out an unbeaten regular-season at home, marking just the third time in school history that an Irish team has been undefeated at the Joyce Center since the building opened in 1968-69. Notre Dame finished up 18-0 at home and extended their currrent home win streak to 20 games (dating back to last season). The 20-game win streak is the third longest in school history and longest during the Mike Brey era. Notre Dame’s last loss at home was to Marquette last season on Feb. 25, 2006. Notre Dame has registered four 20-win seasons in seven campaigns under Brey and four 10-win seasons in conference play. Notre Dame has four more conference wins than it did a year ago after it finished with a 6-10 league mark in 2005-06. The Irish also have six more wins (22) after ending the ’05- ’06 campaign with a 16-14 record. Earlier this year, Notre Dame’s 15-2 start was the best for an Irish team since the 1978-79 season when that squad began the year with a 17-2 record. Notre Dame is 4-0 versus ranked opponents in 2006-07 – two more victories than a year ago when that squad posted a 1-7 record versus ranked foes. Notre Dame is averaging 81.6 points per game (eighth in the nation) and have topped the 90-point mark nine times and scored 80-plus points on 17 occasions.
Notre Dame’s win against Providence on Feb. 15 marked the 1,600th in the program’s 102-year history to become just the 11th Division I program with 1,600 wins. Only 10 other schools have reached the mark: Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Temple, St. John’s, Pennsylvania, Indiana and UCLA.
Fourth 20-Win Season Under Brey:
Notre Dame’s 76-64 over Cincinnati on Feb. 18 gave Notre Dame its 20th win of the season and marked the fourth time under head coach Mike Brey that the Irish have won 20 or more games. Notre Dame’s last 20-win campaign was in 2002-03 when that Irish squad finished with a 24-10 record (the third season for Brey at Notre Dame). The Irish also reached the 20-win plateau in 2000-01 (20-10) and 2001-02 (22-11). In the 102-year history of the program, Notre Dame teams have won 20 or more games on 31 occasions. The 22 wins are tied for second as the most in the Brey era.
A New Single-Season Home Record:
Notre Dame’s victory against Marquette improved the Irish to 18-0 at the Joyce Center this season. The 18 home victories are a Joyce Center single-season record. The previous record was 16 Irish which was done on four other occasions – 1976-77 (16-1), 1980-81 (16-1), 1982-83 (16-3) and 1999-00 (16-4).
Unblemished At Home:
Notre Dame’s 18-0 record at home this season marked the just the third time time since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69 that an Irish team has finished undefeated at home during the regular season. Only two Notre Dame squads have ever completed a season undefeated at home – the 1973-74 and 1985-86 squads both finished their campaigns with identical 15-0 records. The Irish are the only BIG EAST without a loss in a home game this season. Dating back to last season, Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive games at home – a streak which is tied for sixth among all Division I teams.
What A Difference A Year Makes:
With its 10-5 record in BIG EAST play, Notre Dame’s win total already is four more than all of last season as that Irish team finished the 2005-06 conference regular season with a 6-10 record after beginning league play 1-8. Notre Dame’s 22 wins thus far in 2006-07 already are six more than all of last season.
BIG EAST 100:
Notre Dame’s victory over Marquette was the 100th for the Irish in BIG EAST regular-season play. Since becoming a league member at the start of the Notre Dame is 100-99 all-time in conference regular-season action. Irish teams have averaged 8.3 wins in their 12 seasons and 9.2 wins during head coach Mike Brey’s tenure.
Colin Falls became Notre Dame’s career three-point leader against Cincinnati on Feb. 18 as he connected on five three-point field goals. He eclipsed the career mark of 302 formerly held by Chris Thomas. In 117 career outings he has 313 three-pointers for an average of 2.7 per game. Thomas (2001-05) averaged 2.4 per game in 128 career outings.
Record Holder II:
Colin Falls became the BIG EAST Conference’s career three-point leader last Saturday against Marquette. With one conference regular-season game remaining, he has 184 in 63 contests. The previous marks of 183 was held by Gerry McNamara (2002-06) of Syracuse.
Carter, Falls Garner NABC Honors:
Senior captains Russell Carter and Colin Falls were named to the all-District 10 team by the National Association of Basketball Association (NABC). Carter was a first-team honoree, while Falls earned second-team accolades.
For the second time this season, freshmen Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson produced career-best performances and led the Irish in scoring. Against Marquette, Harangody registered his sixth double-double of the season as he netted a career-high 22 points (the second 20-plus point outing of his career) and matched his personal best with 13 rebounds. He was named the National Freshman of the Week by Rivals.com and also was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Jackson copped BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honors after scoring a career-high 21 points (the first 20-plus point outing of his career), in addition to grabbing seven rebounds and dishing off seven assists while playing all 40 minutes of the contest.
A Record-Setting Night At The Carrier Dome:
Notre Dame’s 103-91 victory over Syracuse produced some record-setting numbers for the Irish …
- The 103 points were the most-ever scored by an opponent at the Carrier Dome and first time in 10 years that an opponent had scored 100-plus points in that building.
- It was the most points scored by any team in the 37 games of the series. The previous high was 101 by Notre Dame in a 101-98 victory at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 15, 1992.
- The 61 first-half points were the most scored by an Irish team were the most scored in the first half of a BIG EAST game (one shy of the conference record)
- The 61 points also were the most in a half by an Irish team in a regulation game since scoring 64 (in the second half) against Virginia Tech on Feb. 22, 2003.
- All five starters scored in double figures for the first time since Jan. 11, 2006 vs. Syracuse at the Joyce Center.
- Notre Dame did not score a field goal in the final 10:51 of the contest and scored its final 24 points of the game from the free-throw line.
- In addition to scoring 61 first-half points, Notre Dame shot 55.8 percent (24-43) in the first half, was 10-17 from three-point range (.588), dished off 17 assists and turned the ball over just twice.
Freshmen Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson were Notre Dame’s leading scorers against Syracuse in the victory on Jan. 30 as both scored career-highs with Harangody netting 21 points and grabbing a career and game-high 13 rebounds, while Jackson finished with a personal best 19 points. Ironically, the 19 points came on the day of his 19th birthday. The last time Notre Dame was led by two freshmen in scoring was on Feb. 24, 1999 in a 73-53 loss to St. John’s as Troy Murphy and David Graves scored 22 and 11 points, respectively.
Joyce Center Streakin’:
Notre Dame’s 85-73 victory against Marquette last Saturday improved it’s current home record to 18-0 and extended their current Joyce Center win streak to 20 games – the third-longest home court win streak since its opening in 1968-69. It also is the longest home win streak during head coach Mike Brey’s tenure. The 18 wins are a Joyce Center single-season record. Here’s a look at the Joyce Center streaks …
24 – Began with a 94-68 win over Xavier on 2/3/73 and ended
with a 94-84 loss to Indiana on 12/11/74
22 – Began with an 88-68 win over Pittsburgh on 1/26/77 and
ended with a 69-68 overtime loss to DePaul on 2/12/78
20 – Began with a 66-61 win over DePaul on 3/4/06
16 – Began with a 92-70 win over Fairfield on 12/9/82 and
ended with a 51-47 loss to UCLA on 12/3/83
16 – Began with an 89-76 win over West Virginia on 2/20/02 and ended with an 87-79 loss to Connecticut on 2/24/03
BIG EAST Road Woes:
Notre Dame has found life on the road in the BIG EAST to be somewhat difficult this season and are 2-5 in seven conference road outings. The Irish have suffered double-digit losses to Georgetown (66-48) and Villanova (102-87), while also dropping a three-point decision (71-68) to St. John’s and a six-point setback (69-63) to South Florida. In the Georgetown, St. John’s and South Florida contests, Notre Dame shot below 40.0 percent.
Georgetown: Fell behind 21-4 and trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half and 29 in the second half … Shot just 30.8 percent from the field (16-32), while the Hoyas connected on 56.8 percent (25-44).
Villanova: Trailed by as many as 14 in the first half and 15 in the second half … The 50 points scored by Villanova in the first half were the most allowed by the Irish this season … The Wildcats shot 58.8 percent (20-34) in the first half and 56.7 percent (34-60) for the game … They connected on 24-28 from the free-throw line and outrebounded the Irish 40-26 … Notre Dame was just 28-66 from the field (42.4 percent).
St. John’s: Trailed by as many as 14 in the first half …St. John’s led 49-41 at the break (the 49 points were the second-most scored against the Irish in the first half this season), but a 9-0 run to start the second half gave the Notre Dame a 52-49 advantage … St. John’s led by six (66-60) with 6:05 to play, while the Irish tied the contest at 68-68 after Colin Falls hit on of two free throws, but Larry Wright’s three-pointer with 10.4 seconds remaining gave the Red Storm the win … Notre Dame shot 25.7 percent in the second half, hitting just 9-35 attempts and connected on 35.5 percent for the game … St. John’s shot just 30.0 percent in the second half after shooting 59.3 percent (16-27) in the first 20 minutes.
South Florida: Notre Dame shot just 37.5 percent from the field and was outrebounded 48-38 in the contest as the Irish lost a BIG EAST raod game for the fourth time in five tries … Notre Dame trailed by five at the half and by 10 with 18:21 left in the game before pulling ahead 49-46 with 7:40 to play … With the score tied at 51-51, the Bulls go on a 14-4 run to take a 10-point lead with 45 seconds to play … Notre Dame shot just 32.1 percent from three-point range and was only 6-12 from the free-throw line … South Florida was 20-30 from the line.
DePaul: Notre Dame jumped out to an 11-0 lead, but the Blue Demons outscored the Irish 21-9 to take a 21-20 advantage with 10:54 to play in the first half … Notre Dame regained the lead with 2:31 to play, but the two teams headed to the locker room tied at 36-36 at the break … The Irish shot just 42.9 percent in the first half, while the Blue Demons connected on 50.0 percent from the field … DePaul led by as many as six points in the second half, but Notre Dame took a one-point lead on two occasions, the second coming with 7:16 to play … The Irish went up by five at the 4:21 mark, but DePaul tied the game at 63-63 with 2:42 to play … Tory Jackson nailed a three-pointer to put the Irish up 66-63 with 2:04 left in the contest … Notre Dame saw the Blue Demons score the contest’s final four points as they went on to prevail in the one-point victory.
100 Not So Common:
The 102 points scored by Villanova in their 102-87 victory over the Irish on Jan. 17 were the most given up by Notre Dame in a regulation game under head coach Mike Brey. The last time the Irish gave up 100 points in a regulation game was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 12, 1999.
Russell Carter netted 32 points in the loss to St. John’s which marked his first career 30-plus point outing. The last Irish players to score 30-plus points in a game were Chris Quinn and Colin Falls who had 34 and 32, respectively, in Notre Dame’s 102-91 win at Seton Hall on Feb. 18, 2006.
Not An Ordinary Irish Day:
The 48 points Notre Dame scored in its 66-48 loss to Georgetown on Jan. 6 were the fewest by an Irish team in BIG EAST play (in 11-plus seasons as a conference member). The point total also matched the lowest by a Notre Dame squad under Mike Brey (the Irish also scored 48 points in 61-48 loss to North Carolina State on Nov. 26, 2005). That game also marked just the second time under Brey that the Irish scored under 50 points in a contest. Russell Carter was the only Notre Dame player in double figures as he scored 12 points, marking the first time and only this season that the Irish did not have multiple players in double figures.
Irish Are In Season 12 As BIG EAST Member:
Notre Dame began its 12th season as member of the BIG EAST Conference on Jan. 3 against Louisville. With their win, the Irish improved to 6-6 in BIG EAST openers and 3-4 under Irish head coach Mike Brey.
Young At Heart:
With freshmen Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson in the starting lineup against Seton Hall on Jan. 14, it marked the first time since the 2001-02 campaign that the Irish started two rookies. During that campaign, Chris Thomas started all 33 contests, while Jordan Cornette made six starts. Notre Dame was 4-2 when those two were in the starting lineup. Harangody and Jackson have been in the starting lineup each of the last 12 games as the Irish are 8-4 in those contests.
Irish Have Shown They Can Score:
Notre Dame has put up some impressive offensive numbers to date as the Irish are averaging 81.6 points per contest. Four current members of the team are averaging in double figures – Russell Carter (16.9), Colin Falls (14.9) Rob Kurz (12.9) and Luke Harangody (11.2). Notre Dame’s 50-point margin of victory (101-51) against Rider on Dec. 28 marked the largest margin of victory under Brey. Prior to its 78-62 victory over Louisville on Jan. 3, the Irish had scored 80-plus points in nine consecutive games. The last time that occurred was during the 1976-77 campaign and also in 1975-76.
Colin Falls’ return to the court against Army on Dec. 21 marked the 100th career game that he had played in an Irish uniform. Falls has played in 117 of 119 career games and has been in the starting lineup on 85 occasions.
Before its 66-48 loss to Georgetown on Jan. 6, Notre Dame had won 12 straight, marking the longest win streak for an Irish team since the 1973-74 campaign when that squad produced two 12-game win streaks during the season.
Points A Plenty:
After 28 contests, Notre Dame is averaging 81.6 points per game (good for eighth nationally in scoring offense). The Irish rank 10th nationally in margin of victory at 14.8 points per game (seventh nationally). During its 12-game win streak, Notre Dame’s average margin of victory was 26.0 points per game (312 points).
Back In The Polls
Notre Dame entered the polls for the first time this season at No. 21 in the Associated Press rankings on Dec. 11, marking the first time since the first week of December of 2004 that it had earned a top-25 ranking. The Irish were never ranked after that point in 2004-05 and were not ranked at all during the 2005-06 campaign. Prior to this week, the Irish were ranked for nine consecutive weeks in either the AP or ESPN/USA Today polls. This year’s appearance in the polls marks the fifth time in seven seasons under head coach Mike Brey that his team has been ranked at some point during a season.
Irish Are Bullish On The Bulls:
In its 82-58 victory over South Florida on Jan. 21, Notre Dame closed out the first half with a 21-2 run and led 42-26 at the break. Trailing 24-21 after a USF two-point field goal, the Irish held the Bulls to just two points (two free throws) in the final 8:59 of the first half. USF opened the second half with two free throws and did not get its first field goal until the 18:20 mark of the second half.
Brey Receives Honorary Monogram:
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club at the Athletic Department’s Christmas Party on Dec. 14. Honorary monograms are occasionally awarded to people who have provided exceptional service to the University, whereby extending invitations to them to be members of the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Recipients – whose identities are traditionally kept a secret until the actual ceremonies – are presented with a scroll and blue blazer adorned with the Monogram Club logo. The select group of honorary monogram winners includes such notables as the late Pope John Paul II and United States President Ronald Reagan; former University president Rev. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.; television personality Regis Philbin; and national-championship football coaches Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz.
A Different Story:
Notre Dame’s 81-74 win against No. 23/19 Maryland on Dec. 3 snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Irish against ranked opponents. Four nights later, on Dec. 7, Notre Dame crafted a 99-85 victory against No. 4/5 Alabama at the Joyce Center for its first win over a top-10 team since the 2004-05 campaign. The Irish knocked off their third ranked opponent of the season with their victory over No. 21/21 West Virginia on Jan 9 and beat No. 16/16 Marquette 85-73 to improve to 4-0 over ranked opponents this season. Notre Dame faced eight ranked foes a year ago and was just 1-7 versus those opponents.
@ Alabama (22/21) – W, 78-71
@ Pittsburgh (22/20) – L, 97-100 (2OT)
vs. Syracuse (-/24) – L, 82-88
vs. Georgetown (21/-) – L, 82-85 (2OT)
vs. Villanova (6/6) – L, 70-72
@ West Virginia (11/11) – L, 70-71
@ Connecticut (3/4) – L, 74-75 (OT)
vs. Georgetown (23/20) – L, 63-67
(BIG EAST Tournament)
Irish Enjoy Back-To-Back Wins Versus Ranked Foes:
The last time Notre Dame faced back-to-back ranked opponents was last season during the 2005-06 campaign when the Irish played three consecutive ranked foes – Georgetown, Villanova and West Virginia. Their two consecutive wins over ranked foes Maryland and Alabama are the first back-to-back wins over ranked opponents since the 2002-03 campaign when that Irish squad put together a three-game win streak in the span of six days.
Irish Love The BB&T Classic:
With its win over Maryland (81-74) at the BB&T Classic on Dec. 3, Notre Dame improved to 3-0 overall in the event. The Irish won the title in December of 2002 by knocking off the defending national champion Maryland (ranked ninth and eighth in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls) 79-67 in the first round and then dispatching second-ranked Texas (who advanced to the Final Four that spring) 98-92 in the championship game.
Friendly Confines For Irish At Verizon Center:
Despite its loss to Georgetown at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center) on Jan. 6, Notre Dame still owns an 8-3 record all-time in games played at that facility. Earlier in the season, the Irish posted an 81-74 victory against Maryland at the Verizon Center on Dec. 3. That contest marked the first time Notre Dame had made an appearance at the Verizon Center since suffering a 55-54 setback to Georgetown on Jan. 23, 2005. Prior to the loss, Notre Dame had won six straight at the Verizon Center. During the 2002-03 campaign, the Irish were 3-0 in the MCI Center with victories over 2001 national champion Maryland (79-67) and Texas (98-92) to win the 2002 BB&T Classic in early December and then ended the regular season with an 86-80 win over Georgetown. Notre Dame’s first-ever appearance at the Verizon Center was on Feb. 7, 1998 and the Irish dropped a 76-56 decision to the Hoyas. It’s first win in the building was a 77-54 victory on March 4, 2000. Four of Notre Dame’s six wins in the Verizon Center have come against the Hoyas. Notre Dame’s head coach Mike Brey is 6-2 all-time in the MCI Center (3-2 versus the Hoyas). Certainly one of the most memorable was an epic four-overtime contest as the Irish prevailed 60 minutes later with a 116-111 victory. Former Irish standout Chris Thomas played the entire game in what ranks as the longest game in Notre Dame and BIG EAST Conference history.
Ten of Notre Dame’s 22 victories have been by 24 or more points as the Irish are outscoring their opponents by a +14.8 margin (81.6 to 66.8). Coach Mike Brey’s squad has posted wins of 30-plus points in six games – IPFW (+43 points), Lafayette (+32 points), The Citadel (+24 points), Winston-Salem (+45 points), Elon (+31 points), Army (+41 points) Rider (+50), Stony Brook (+29 points) and DePaul (+24 points). The 50-point win over Rider on Dec. 28 was the largest margin of victory since a 126-73 win (53 points) over Miami on Feb. 22, 1986. The 99 points scored by Notre Dame in its victory over Alabama were the most by an Irish team over a top-10 opponent since Feb. 15, 1992, a 101-98 victory at No. 10 Syracuse.
Notre Dame’s 14-point margin of victory in its win over Alabama was the fifth-largest by an Irish team over a top-five opponent (ranked in the Associated Press poll).
21 pts. 3/5/55 85-64 @ No. 4 Marquette (ND unranked)
20 pts. 3/19/78 84-64 vs. No. 3 DePaul – NCAA Third Round (ND
was No. 6)
31 pts. 3/3/90 98-67 vs. No. 3 Missouri (ND unranked)
16 pts. 2/5/94 79-63 vs. No. 4 UCLA (ND unranked)
14 pts. 12/7/96 99-85 vs. No. 4 Alabama (ND unranked)
Irish 1-1 At NIT:
Notre Dame finished with a 1-1 record in the two games of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Midwest Region held at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
vs. Butler: The Irish dropped a tough two-point decision (71-69) against Butler. In that contest, Colin Falls and Luke Harangody led Notre Dame with 17 points each, while Russell Carter added 15. Harangody also registered the first double-double of his young career as he grabbed 10 boards. The Irish shot 48.1 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from three-point range, while Butler connected on 49.1 percent overall from the floor.
vs. Lafayette: Notre Dame shot a blistering 72.0 percent (18-25) from the floor en route to the 32-point victory (92-60) and was 35-60 overall from the field (58.3%). Russell Carter notched his second 20-point outing of the season as he finished with 20 points to lead four Irish players in double figures. Luke Harangody tossed in a career-high 18 points, while Rob Kurz added 16 points and eight rebounds. Rookie Tory Jackson scored 10 points. Kyle McAlarney dished off a career-high 12 asissts in the game as part of Notre Dame’s 28 assists overall in the contest.
What’s Not To Like About These Numbers:
Here are some of the impressive numbers from Notre Dame’s season-opening win over IPFW…
- Notre Dame shot 61.5 percent in the first half.
- Notre Dame’s 55 first-half points were the second-most ever scored by the Irish in the first half under Mike Brey.
- The +26 differential in rebounding (54-28) is the largest ever by an Irish team under Mike Brey in six-plus seasons and the third-most rebounds in a regulation game.
- The 92 points were the most scored in season opener since the 2001-02 season (99-53 vs. New Hampshire on Nov. 16, 2001).
Seniors Colin Falls and Russell Carter and junior Rob Kurz were selected captains by a vote of their teammates. Kurz’ selection marks the third time in four years that the Irish have had a junior serving as a team captain. Falls and Kurz started the year as Notre Dame’s two captains, while Carter was voted as a captain by his teammates in January.
Clutch When It Counts:
Colin Falls has led the Irish in scoring in five of the last six games and in six of the last eight outings. His current 11-game double figures scoring streak is the longest of his career. He has averaged 18.5 points over the last 11 games and has topped the 20-plus point mark in four of those contests. Falls has led Notre Dame in scoring in eight games this season.
Russell Carter’s 26-point performance against Villanova (Jan. 17) marked his eighth 20-plus point outing of the season and was the sixth straight game that he had led the Irish in double figures. The 26 points at the time also were the most ever scored by Carter in a BIG EAST game. His 32-point outing against St. John’s on Jan. 23 gave him nine 20-plus outings this season. The last Irish player with more 20-point outings in a single season was Chris Thomas in 2003-04 as he topped the 20-point mark on 16 occasions. He also was Notre Dame’s leading scorer in 11 consecutive games that season. Carter has led the Irish in scoring 12 times during 2006-07 campaign.
After missing the Elon (Dec. 16) and Portland (Dec. 19) games with plantar faciitis, Colin Falls was back in the lineup against Army on Dec. 21. Falls missed the two contests after undergoing shock wave therapy on Dec. 8. The procedure was done to treat the plantar faciitis in his left foot. Against the Black Knights he tallied a season-high 24 points in just 18 minutes of action. Falls was 9-11 from the field (after hitting his first seven shots) and was 6-8 from three-point range. Prior to the Elon game on Dec. 16, Falls had played in all 99 games of his career and made 60 consecutive starts.
Notre Dame’s season opener against IPFW marked the earliest start date ever in the 102-year history of the program. The earliest start date prior to this had been in 1998 when that Irish squad opened up the 1998-99 campaign with a 76-65 loss to Miami of Ohio on Nov. 13.
Irish in Season Openers:
Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 84-18 (.824) in season openers and have won all seven of its openers under head coach Mike Brey. Since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69, Irish teams are 33-6 (.846) in home openers. The last time Notre Dame lost a season opener at home was to Miami of Ohio on November 13, 1998.
Irish Roll Under Brey In November:
Notre Dame completed the month of November with a 5-1 record. Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish are 26-3 (.897) all-time in games played during the month of November. The three November losses have been to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002; to North Carolina State (61-48) at the John R. Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Nov. 26; and to Butler (71-69) on Nov. 13 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Irish Perfect In December:
Notre Dame’s win against Stony Brook on Dec. 30 allowed the Irish to finish the month of December with a 7-0 record. Only once under Mike Brey have the Irish completed action in the month of December without a loss – Brey’s 2002-03 squad finished 6-0.
The Irish All-Time:
The 2006-07 men’s basketball campaign marks the 102nd season of basketball and 12th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. In 101-plus seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1603-883 record for a .645 winning percentage. In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns a 100-99 (.503) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Series Record vs. Rutgers:
Today’s game will be the 24th meeting between the Irish and the Scarlet Knights. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 12-11. The two teams have played each 16 times as BIG EAST foes and each team has won eight times. Notre Dame will be making its first appearance at the RAC since an 81-70 loss on Jan. 31, 2004.
Always In It:
Since the 2005-06 campaign, Notre Dame’s 20 losses have been by a combined 104 points for an average of 5.2 points per game. The 14 setbacks a year ago were by a total of 59 points (4.2 points). The only double-digit loss was to North Carolina State (61-47). The Irish suffered 10 BIG EAST losses during the regular season and those were by a combined 35 points (3.5).
Notre Dame used key second-half runs and exploded for 52 and 50 points respectively in the second 20-minute stanza of each game in wins over Maryland and Alabama.
vs. Maryland: The Irish scored 52 second-half points, outscoring the Terrapins 52-42. Trailing 44-37, Notre Dame used a 25-7 run in a span of five minutes and turned the seven-point deficit into an 11-point advantage in just over five minutes.
vs. Alabama: Notre Dame outscored the Crimson Tide 50-36 in the second half after the two teams were knotted 49-49 at the break. The Irish trailed by nine points with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half. Trailing 66-62 with 14:28 to play, Notre Dame took the lead for good at the 13:23 mark and used an 18-9 run to open up a 10-point advantage with five minutes remaining in the contest. Alabama cut the deficit to three (85-82) with 3:02 to play, but closed out the game with a 14-3 run and led by as many as 17 (99-82) with 19 second left in the contest.
Junior Rob Kurz sustained a broken nose in practice on Nov. 5 after being elbowed accidently by teammate Luke Harangody. He underwent surgery on the morning of Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m. and was in street clothes that evening sitting on the bench in the exhibition game against Bellarmine. He returned to practice on Nov. 8.
Keeping It Close:
In the 76 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, only 18 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 503 for an average of 6.6 points per game. Notre Dame’s 18-point loss (66-48) to Georgetown this season was the largest under Brey.
Second Half Spurt:
Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 1044-877 (41.8 to 35.1) in the second half of games this season. On four occasions this season, the Irish have topped the 50-point mark in the second half.
Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame’s 103-91 victory over Syracuse was the second 100-plus point game of the season and the eighth time in the Mike Brey era that an Irish team has topped the 100-point plateau. Earlier this season, Notre Dame defeated Rider 101-51 victory on Dec. 28.
Notre Dame played five overtime games last season, matching the school record set during the 1955-56 campaign when that Irish team finished 1-4 in overtime contests. Three of those contests a year ago were decided in double overtime. The Irish were 0-5 in overtime games a year ago.
Seven Straight Postseason Appearances:
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments over the last seven years. The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned consecutive NCAA tournament berths – 2001, ’02, ’03, followed by NIT appearances in ’04, ’05 and ’06. This is the longest stretch of postseason appearances for Irish teams since making eight straight from 1983-90 (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1985-90).
Ayers Finding The Range:
Ryan Ayers connected on all four of his three-point attempts in the win at Cincinnati as he finished with a career-high 12 points. In the last seven games, he is 14-26 (.538) from the field and 10-13 (.769) from three-point range.
An Unlikely Hero:
Heading into the Villanova game on Jan. 27, Ryan Ayers was just 15-42 (.357) and and 7-26 (.269) from three-point range. But in a 50-second span, Ayers proved to be the game’s hero as he scored five consecutive points as he turned a 60-57 deficit into a 62-60 advantage. Ayers, who played 11 minutes in the contest, nailed a three-pointer to tied the game at 60-60 with 2:29 to play and then connected on two-of-three free throws with 1:39 left after being fouled attempting a three-pointer. His five points were part of a 9-0 run by the Irish that lifted them to a 66-63 victory.
Big Luke=Big Numbers:
After 28 games, freshman Luke Harangody is fourth on the team in scoring (11.2) and second in rebounding (6.30). He has scored in double figures in 19 games and was the first Notre Dame freshman since Troy Murphy in 1998-99 to begin his rookie season scoring in double figures in five straight games. Murphy began his career by scoring in double figures in 12 consecutive outings. Harangody recorded the first double-double of his career, and the first by an Irish freshman since Torin Francis in November of 2002, when he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds the loss to Butler. In back-to-back games against Lafayette and The Citadel, he produced consecutive 18-point outings. Harangody registered his second double-double of the season against Elon as he finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and versus Army (10 points and career-high 12 rebounds) and Rider (18 points, 10 rebounds) in posting back-to-back double-doubles. Harangody registered his fourth double-double of the season in the win at Syracuse with career-bests of 21 points and 13 rebounds. Harangody is shooting 47.0 percent from the field (117-249) and 81.6 percent (80-98) from the free-throw line and has earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors three times this season and made the Honor Roll on one occasion.
Outscoring The Opponent:
In the 74-50 win over The Citadel on Nov. 19, Notre Dame held a 40-12 advantage at the break as the Irish limited the Bulldogs to just 21.7 percent shooting in the half (5-23). The 12 points were the fewest allowed by a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey in six-plus seasons. Luke Harangody came off the bench and scored 16 first-half points (7-9 from the field and 2-2 from the free-throw line) in 11 minutes, not only averaging 1.5 points per minute, but also outscoring the entire Citadel squad in the first 20 minutes of the contest.
Notre Dame is shooting 46.8 percent from the field (763-16) and 39.6 percent from three-point range (250-631). The Irish have shot better than 50.0 percent from the field in 12 games this season – (54.0 percent (34-63) vs. IPFW, 58.3 percent (35-60) against Lafayette, 54.5 percent (31-55) vs. Lehigh, 57.1 percent (32-56) against Winston-Salem St., 51.6 percent (32-62) vs. Alabama, 52.5 (31-59) vs. Army, vs. Rider, 51.5 percent (34-66) vs. Stony Brook, 50.9 (27-53) against West Virginia, 53.5 percent (23-43), vs. Seton Hall, 53.4 percent (31-58), Providence, 50.9 percent (28-55) and Cincinnati, 52.1 (25-48). In the Lafayette game, Notre Dame shot a blistering 72.0 percent (18-25) in the second half, the highest field-goal percentage ever by an Irish team in a half under head coach Mike Brey. Prior to its game against The Citadel, Notre Dame had not shot below 48.0 percent in a game as the Irish also connected on 48.1 percent (25-52) in their loss to Butler. Notre Dame shot a season-low 30.8 percent against Georgetown in its 66-48 loss.
Not known in recent years to be a dominant rebounding team, Notre Dame has been exceptional on the boards this season and is currently outrebounding its opponent 38.0 to 33.1 for a +4.9 advantage. The Irish outrebounded each of its first seven opponents – IPFW (54-28), Butler (29-24), Lafayette (35-23), The Citadel (40-34), Lehigh (32-24), Winston-Salem St. (46-25) and Maryland (40-37) before being outrebounded 45-32 against Alabama. Notre Dame has outrebounded 18 of its 28 opponents.
Russell Carter scored in double figures in the first 18 games of the season before seeing his double-figure scoring streak come to end against South Florida on Jan. 21 as he finished with nine points and has scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games. He leads the team in scoring with an 16.9 scoring average and has scored 20-plus points in nine contests. Carter netted a career-high 32-point outing (the first 30-point game of his career) against St. John’s – the highest single-game performance for him in a BIG EAST game. He had 26 points against Villanova on Jan. 17 and in the previous outing versus Seton Hall on Jan. 14, Carter scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and second of his career. He had a then career-high 28-point effort against Portland on Dec. 19. His 12-point effort against Army on Dec. 21 snapped a three-game streak in which he had registered 20-plus points (the second time in his career that he has done that). In the three games (Alabama, Elon and Portland) in which he posted 20-plus point efforts, he averaged 25.3 points – the highest three-game scoring average and most points (76) in his career.
Lafayette Brings Out Best in Kurz:
Two of junior forward Rob Kurz’ best games have come against Lafayette, ironically, the alma mater of both of his parents. In the 2005 season opener, Kurz scored a career-high 18 points on 8-10 shooting from the field (1-1 from three-point range and 1-1 from the line) and grabbed eight rebounds in 25 minutes of action. In Notre Dame’s win on Nov. 14 versus the Leopards, he scored 16 points and again hauled in eight boards as he shot 7-10 from the field and 2-2 from three-point range. In the two games, he shot 75.0 percent (15-20) from the field and was perfect from three-point range (3-3).
Double The Pleasure:
Rob Kurz’ 10 points and 10 rebounds against Villanova (Jan. 27) was his eighth double-double of the season. He posted three consecutive double-doubles for the first time in his career against Alabama, Elon and Portland and has grabbed 10-plus rebounds in nine contests. Luke Harangody is second on the team with six doubles.
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 65-46 (.586) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-6 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 67-52 (.563) 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 title with an 11-5 mark. Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record since joining the league in 1995-96.
264 And Counting:
Heading into today’s game against Rutgers, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 264 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 a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game. The 2005-06 Irish squad set the single-season record with 288 three-pointers.
Spreading the Wealth:
Notre Dame is averaging 17.7 assists per game (11th nationally) and had a season-high 28 against Lafayette with 35 baskets coming off of 28 assists. This year, Notre Dame owns a 0.65 assist-to-basket ratio (495 assists on 763 baskets). Six players have 40-plus assists.
Who’s It Going To Be This Time:
Through 28 games, five different players have led the Irish in scoring this season. Russell Carter has led the Irish in the scoring column on 12 occasions, while Colin Falls has been the leading scorer in eight games, while Rob Kurz and Luke Harangody have led the Irish four times in the scoring column. Kyle McAlarney led the Irish on one occasion.
Tory Jackson has responded well to his role as Notre Dame’s starting point guard and is averaging 7.4 points and 4.0 assists while playing 26.4 minutes per game. Jackson has scored in double figures in nine games and in each of the last give contests – DePaul (12), Providence (10), Cincinnati (10) and DePaul (13) and Marquette (21). He socred a career-high 21 points against Marquette and registered his fourth 10-plus point outing of the season against Syracuse when he scored a then career-high 19 rebounds. Jackson earned his first career start against Stony Brook on Dec. 30 and finished with three points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals. Against Louisville, he scored a career-high 14 points (5-8 from the field), in addition to matching his career-high with five rebounds and five assists and making two steals while playing 37 minutes. And while he did not score in the West Virginia game, Jackson did dish off a six assists and made three steals – including one with 1:32 to play after the Mountaineers had cut the deficit to 55-53. He scored nine points and dished off a career-high eight assists against Villanova and also had eight assists while playing a personal-best 39 minutes against St. John’s. Jackson reached double figures for the third time this season against South Florida as he finished with 11 points in the Irish victory, In Notre Dame’s loss to the Bulls, he dished off a personal best 11 assists. Against USF and DePaul, he averaged 39.5 minutes and turned the ball over a total of three times in the two games combined. Jackson dished off this 100th assist in the win at Cincinnati.
Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 474-142 record all-time for a .769 winning percentage. The Irish are 88-27 (.765) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 136-43 mark for a .760 winning percentage. Notre Dame’s 17 wins at home this season marks the ninth time in 10 years that the Irish won 10 or more home games. The Irish played their 600th game at the Joyce Center on Nov. 27, 2006 versus Lehigh.
Rob Kurz is one of the best free-throw shooters on the team as he is shooting 80.2 percent from the charity stripe (130-162). He missed two free throws in the Elon game which ended a string of 30 consecutive made. Prior to that, he had not missed an attempt since his last attempt of the first half against Lehigh. In the win over the Leopards, he was 10-10 from the line in the second half and followed that up by going 8-8 versus Winston-Salem St. and was 4-4 from the line in both games against Maryland and Alabama. He is one of Notre Dame’s best free-throw shooters in the last five minutes of the game having converted 25 of 30 attempts.
Welcome To The Club:
Senior Colin Falls became the 46th player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points with his 13-point outing against Winston-Salem State on Nov. 29. Falls has 1,314 career points (scored it against DePaul) for a 11.2 career scoring average. He has played in 117 career outings and started 86 contests.
In 117 career outings, 313 of Colin Falls’ 393 career field goals have come from three-point range which translates into an 79.6 percentage. Last season, he set the school record for three-point field goals made with 102 and is the only player in Notre Dame history with 90-plus three-pointers in two seasons (he also had 93 as a sophomore in 2004-05). During his career, he has connected on 313-of-780 three-point field goal attempts for a 40.1 percent accuracy from the field.
Another Way To Get His Three Points:
While connecting from beyond the arc has been the conventional way of scoring three points for Colin Falls, the senior guard has had a penchant the last three seasons for getting fouled shooting a three-pointer and going to the free-throw line for three attempts. As a sophomore, he was fouled a total of 16 times while shooting from beyond the arc and converted on 43-48 (.896) of his free-throw attempts. A year ago, Falls was fouled eight times and converted 19-25 (.760), including a first-ever four-point play versus Georgetown in the regular-season meeting between the two schools that sent the game into overtime. This year, he has been fouled nine times (once verus Butler, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Villanova and DePaul and twice against Lehigh and Alabama) and has connected on 18-21 attempts. In his career he is 80-93 (.860) from the line after getting fouled while shooting a three-pointer. In the Seton Hall and DePaul games, Falls was fouled after making a three-pointer and converted the free throw for the four-point play in both of the contests.
In Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 51-49 (.510) that includes a 34-36 mark (.486) in true road games and a 17-13 (.552) record in neutral site contests.
The Phonz Returns:
Former Irish great LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92) returns to be the color analyst for Notre Dame basketball games on the radio, teaming with play-by-play analyst Jack Nolan in 2005-06. Nolan was the color analyst for a number of year on the network, but assumes the play-by-play duties this year. Ellis, who ranks 13th all-time in career scoring and third in rebounding (1,075), will do a select number of games this season.
There are two Indiana natives on this year’s Irish roster, and coincidentally, both are named Luke – sophomore forward Luke Zeller and freshman forward Luke Harangody. Zeller hails from the southern part of the state in Washington, while Harangody’s hometown of Schererville is the western end. The last time a Notre Dame roster had more than one scholarship player from the state of Indiana was in 1993-94 – Joe and Jon Ross (Wabash) and Jason Williams (Indianapolis).
There’s a New Guy In Town:
There’s a new face along the Irish sidelines this season. Gene Cross, a 1994 graduate of Illinois, joins the Notre Dame basketball staff after spending the 2005-06 campaign at Virginia. A 10-year veteran of the collegiate ranks, he spent three years (2002-05) on Dave Leitao’s staff at DePaul before moving to Virginia when Leitao became the Cavaliers’ head coach. He also spent six years on the staff at University of Illinois-Chicago (1996-02).
Philly Family Connection:
Junior Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a junior on the Villanova women’s basketball team (she is sitting out this season after transferring from Duke). Sophomore Ryan Ayers’ father Randy is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. He formerly was the head coach at Ohio State and with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Men In Black:
Against Seton Hall on Feb. 18, 2006, Notre Dame wore black uniforms with kelly green and white trim, marking the first time in school history that any Irish athletic team had worn black uniforms. Since that time the Irish have worn the black uniforms on 10 occasions and a 5-6 all-time. Notre Dame wore black for the first time this season in the Dec. 3 win over Maryland.
Like Father, Like Son:
The last name of freshman walk-on Tim Andree should be familiar to the Irish basketball faithful. His father Tim was a four-year monogram winner and played basketball for the Irish from 1979-83. It marks the first father-son basketball duo at Notre Dame since Kevin Hawkins (1978-81) was a walk-on member, following in his father Tom’s (1956-59) footsteps.
Irish Sign Four:
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed four high school prep players to national letters of intent during the November early signing period. Set to enroll at Notre Dame in the fall of 2007 are forward Tim Abromaitis (Farmington, Conn.), guard Tyrone Nash (Queens, N.Y.), guard Ty Proffitt (London, Ky.) and forward Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Texas).