Nov. 29, 2003
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Once Chris Thomas found the range, Notre Dame had nothing to worry about.
Thomas overcame poor early shooting to score 22 points, and Chris Quinn had 15 points and five assists, leading No. 21 Notre Dame past Mount St. Mary’s 78-64 Saturday.
Thomas began the game 1-for-5 from the field, but went 6-for-7 the rest of the way.
He stayed patient when the Mountaineers used a box-and-one to try to keep the ball out of his hands.
“We are trying to get Thomas down the floor and have Quinn come up and handle” the ball, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I told him in the second half, ‘You know, you are going to see this all the time, so get used to it.”‘
At one point, Thomas made six straight shots, including five 3-pointers.
“I thought we played good and worked the ball around,” he said.
Torin Francis scored 13 points, making all three field goals and all seven free throws he attempted, and Torrian Jones chipped in with 12 for the Irish (2-0).
Notre Dame improved to 15-1 in November in four seasons under Brey, while Mount St. Mary’s (0-5) has lost eight straight road games dating to last season.
The Irish fell behind 8-2, but used an 11-0 run to pull ahead for good five minutes into the game.
“I think we surprised them in the first half,” Mount St. Mary’s coach Milan Brown said.
Notre Dame extended the lead to 21-10 when Rick Cornett hit a 3-pointer midway through the half. The Irish opened their biggest lead of the first half when Russell Carter hit a 3-pointer to make it 40-27 with 1 second left.
The Irish went ahead 59-34 when Quinn scored on a layup on a pass from Jones with 13:48 remaining in the game.
Landy Thompson and Nick Dodson led Mount St. Mary’s with 17 points each. Thompson was 6-of-12 from the floor with 15 points in the first half but just 1-of-9 for two points in the second.
The Mountaineers, outshot 54 to 38 percent, continually missed easy shots.
Late in the first half, the Mountaineers caught Notre Dame sleeping and Charles Cook caught a long pass, went in for an uncontested layup and missed. On the opening play of the second half, Chris Sumner stole the ball and went in for an uncontested layup and missed. Moments later, Dodson was alone under the basket and his shot rolled off the rim.
The Irish made 62 percent of their shots in the second half and were 19-of-20 from the free-throw line. The Irish outrebounded the Mountaineers 35-30 to help overcome 20 turnovers.
The Mountaineers fell to 1-9 against ranked teams since 1995.
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer