March 8, 2004
#7 NOTRE DAME (16-11, 9-7)
VS.#10 WEST VIRGINIA (15-12, 7-9)
2004 BIG EAST
Men’s Basketball Championship
March 10-13 – Madison Square Garden (New York, N.Y.)
Wednesday, March 10 – 7:00 p.m.
- Notre Dame, seeded No. 7 meets No. 10 seed West Virginia in the first round of the 2004 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Championship. The winner will face No. 2 seed Connecticut in quarterfinal action.
- The Irish and Mountaineers are meeting for the first time ever in a BIG EAST tournament game.
- Wednesday night’s matchup will be just the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Notre Dame and West Virginia faced each other in the BIG EAST opener for both squads back on January 7 at the Joyce Center. The Irish defeated the Mountaineers 63-52 to post their first league victory of the season.
- Notre Dame heads into the contest riding a three-game win streak. Since suffering back-to-back losses to Connecticut and Providence, the Irish have rattled off victories over UCLA (75-60), Georgetown (61-48) and St. John’s (89-62). The wins over the Bruins and Red Storm were on the road. The average margin of the last three games has been 18.3 ppg.
- Notre Dame’s current three-game win streak marks the third time this season that the Irish have won three straight games. The longest winning streak of the 2003-04 campaign is six games.
- Notre Dame is 6-5 playing away from the friendly confines of the Joyce Center this season. The Irish played at Madison Square Garden just four days ago when they concluded their regular season with the victory over St. John’s.
- Notre Dame finished with a 4-4 road record in BIG EAST games and were 2-1 in non-conference matchups,
- Under Mike Brey, Notre Dame owns a 2-4 record at Madison Square Garden.
- The Irish own a 10-6 mark at home this season – the most losses at the the Joyce Center for a Notre Dame team since the 1998-99 campaign when that Irish squad finished with a 10-6 record at the Joyce Center.
- Notre Dame’s 61-48 victory over Georgetown on March 6 marked the 10th home win of the season. In the last eight seasons, Irish teams have won 10-plus games at home on seven occasions. Notre Dame’s 16 wins (against four setbacks) in 1999-00 are the most in school history.
- The Irish have played ranked opponents on nine occasions in 2003-04 and own a 2-7 record versus those teams. Notre Dame’s two wins came against No. 5 Connecticut (80-74) and No. 24 Syracuse (84-72).
- The 48 points allowed by Notre Dame against Georgetown were the fewest by a Notre Dame team ever in BIG EAST play, spanning 161 games (including regular season and tournament contests up to that game). In the BIG EAST home opener against West Virginia, the Irish held the Mountaineers to just 52 points, which at the time ranked as the second-fewest points ever given up by a Notre Dame team. Prior to win over the Hoyas, the fewest points ever allowed by an Irish squad was 51 versus Seton Hall at the Joyce Center in a 60-51 win on January 26, 2002.
- 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 during the 2002-03 campaign against Providence (71-65), Boston College (101-96), West Virginia (88-69) and Georgetown (93-92).
- The 50 points against Connecticut 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 fewer 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.
- Prior to the UCLA game, Notre Dame had struggled shooting the ball from the field in its previous two outings as the Irish shot a combined 36-118 (30.5 percent) from the field. After shooting 29.7 percent against Connecticut, the Irish connected on just 31.5 percent (17-54) versus Providence. It marked the worst back-to-back shooting performance by an Irish team during Mike Brey’s three-plus seasons.
- Point guard Chris Thomas became Notre Dame’s career assist leader in the Irish win over over Connecticut on Febuary 9. Thomas, who has 621 career assists, eclipsed the former mark of 586 set by David Rivers (1984-88). Thomas’ career assist average of 6.6 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 has led the Irish in scoring in each of the last nine games and has netted 20-plus points in seven of the last nine outings for a 22.9 scoring average (206 points) in those contests.
- 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 on February 16. Thomas scored 25 points and Quinn added 22. It marked the first time that both had scored 20-plus points in the same game. The tandem combined for 41 of Notre Dame’s 75 points against UCLA as Thomas netted 21 and Quinn scored 20 in the victory last Saturday. The Thomas-Quinn duo was impressive again in the Georgetown outing as they scored 37 of the Irish’s 61 points. Thomas led the way with 19, while Quinn added 18.
- Tom Timmermans registered a career-high 20 points in the win over the Bruins as he connected on 9-15 shots from the field (both personal bests) and also matched a personal high with eight boards. He scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Irish win over St. John’s as he connected on 4-8 shots from the field and hit a career-high three three-pointers on four attempts.
- Torrian Jones has scored in double figures in five of the last nine games. He netted double figures in four straight games (a first for him in his career) against 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 12 of the 26 games he has played.
- Colin Falls reached double figures for the fifth time this season in Notre Dame’s win over St. John’s as he netted 11 points on 4-5 shooting, including a 3-4 performance from three-point range. He also scored in double figures against Central Michigan (11), DePaul (12), Villanova (12) and Connecticut (10).
- 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 (94 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 fewer than 10 times. It marked the first time that a Notre Dame team under Mike Brey had committed fewer than 10 turnovers in four straight contests. The Irish had just seven turnovers against the Bruins and five in the win over Georgetown. They turned the ball over 10 times in the win over St. John’s on Saturday. In the last 12 games, Notre Dame has turned the ball over 10 times or fewer on eight occasions and is averaging just 8.58 turnovers per game in those contests. Notre Dame turned the ball over a season-low four times in its win over Connecticut on February 9, which included no turnovers in the second half. In the second meeting versus the Huskies, Notre Dame had just five turnovers. The Irish have 10 or fewer turnovers on 15 occasions this season.
- Notre Dame has had more assists than turnovers in 19 games this season, including each of the last nine games. They Irish also had a stretch in which they has more assists than turnovers in eight games. Overall this season, Notre Dame owns a 1.35 assist-to-turnover ratio with 386 assists and 286 turnovers. The Irish are averaging 14.3 assists and 10.6 turnovers. The Irish had a season-best 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio against Georgetown as the Irish dished off 16 assists and turned the ball over just five times. In the last 21 games, Notre Dame has committed a total of 203 turnovers (9.67 per game).
- Notre Dame has seen its free-throw percentage drop to 71.9 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 222-324 from the charity stripe (68.5%) 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 20.6 percent of its scoring from the charity stripe. The Irish are outscoring opponents 396-306 from the line and have attempted 113 (548-435) more free throws.
- Torrian Jones has registered a double-double in four contests overall. His most recenty came in Notre Dame’s victory at Syracuse as he scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. 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. He also had 14 points and 12 rebounds in Notre Dame’s upset of Connecticut at the Joyce Center.
- Chris Quinn has scored in double figures in all but six games this season. He has been in the starting lineup in 20 of 27 games and has topped the 20-point mark on four occasions, including his 20-point performance against UCLA. He is shooting 44.1% (127-288) from the field and 39.8% (66-166) from three-point range over that span.
- Chris Quinn has turned the ball over just 30 times in 960 minutes this season, an average of 32.0 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 10 games this season, spanning 352 minutes.
- Heading into the season, Jordan Cornette had played in 66 career games and scored in double figures in just one contest. He has netted double figures in four games this season – DePaul (17), Miami (12), Boston College (11) and St. John’s (12).
- Three Irish players are netting double figures with Chris Thomas leading the team with a 19.2 scoring average. Chris Quinn is averaging 14.5, while Torin Francis was averaging 14.2 points and 8.8 rebounds before his injury. Torrian Jones has contributed 9.0 points per contest.
- Four Notre Dame players are averaging better than 30 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (38.1), Chris Quinn (35.6), Torrian Jones (31.6) and Torin Francis (31.6). Chris Thomas has played 40 minutes in six of the last eight 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 19 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 an 82-42 (.661) 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 has a 4-3 (.571) record when playing on March 10.
- Notre Dame is 26-8 in its last 34 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.
Irish Player Tidbits:
- Chris Thomas leads the Irish in scoring (19.4) and assists (4.9). He has registered 20 or more points in 14 of the last 24 games, including a season-high 31 points in the win over Connecticut on February 9. Thomas has led Notre Dame in scoring in each of the last nine games. He scored 20-plus points in a career-best four straight games versus Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Syracuse and averaged 26.3 points in those contests. In the win over Connecticut, he became Notre Dame’s career assist leader and has 621 to his credit in three-plus seasons spanning 94 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 79 of 94 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 against Providence as he scored 23 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds.
- Chris Quinn has been in the starting lineup on 20 occasions this season and has scored in double figures in 18 of the last 22 games. Quinn has been in the starting lineup in 15 of the last 16 contests. He has topped the 20-point mark in four games this season – his most recent was a 20-point outing against UCLA. Quinn 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 21 of 27 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 14.4 points (second-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 30 times this season in 960 minutes, averaging 32.0 minutes between giveaways.
- Torin Francis had surgery on March 8 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and his recovery is expected to be two to three months. He has posted double-doubles in seven games this season prior to his injury. 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 26 games he has played and is enjoying his best season. He missed the Central Michigan game with a hip flexor and did not dress. Jones is averaging career bests of 9.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 32.7 minutes per game. Jones has scored in double figures in 12 games overall this season and in seven of the last 13 contests. His streak of four straight games in double figures heading into the Connecticut game on February 21 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 22 of 27 games this season and has been in the starting lineup in each of the last 11 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 produced his second double-double of the season in the win at St. John’s as he scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Cornette has scored in double figures in five games this season and has grabbed 10-plus rebounds in four games. He has 142 career blocks in an Irish uniform.
- Tom Timmermans has earned starts in 11 games this season. He registered his best outing of his career in the win at UCLA as he scored a career-high 20 points and matched his personal-best with eight boards. Timmermans also had two top performances in both matchups against Syracuse. In the first meeting at the Joyce Center, he registered then 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 career-high) and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Timmermans also grabbed eight rebounds in the win over Georgetown. In four of the last six games, he has managed to grab eight rebounds. After missing the Central Michigan, Indiana, DePaul and American contests, Timmermans has played in each of the last 19 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 22 games overall, averaging 22.0 minutes, 6.40 points and 4.2 rebounds.
- Rick Cornett has played in 20 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 then-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. Cornett played a career-high 18 minutes against Georgetown and finished with six points and a personal-best eight rebounds. He topped that in his next outing as he grabbed nine boards in the regular-season finale at St. John’s. In his first(and only) career start, he played a career-high 16 minutes against DePaul, finishing with 10 points (on 4-6 shooting from the field) and five rebounds. He is averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds.
- Colin Falls has made seven starts and is the only Irish rookie who has seen action in all 27 games. He is averaging 15.7 minutes per game, while netting 4.6 points and 1.4 rebounds. Of his 39 field goals this season, 31 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 had 10 points in the loss at Connecticut. Falls registered his fifth double-figure scoring effort of the season as he finished with 11 points against St. John’s, connecting on 4-5 shots from the field and 3-4 from three-point range.
- 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 10 games this season and played in four BIG EAST contests.
Series Record Vs. West Virginia:
The Irish and Mountaineers are set to meet for the first time ever in BIG EAST tournament action. Wednesday night’s contest will be the 28th meeting between the two schools with the Irish owning a 20-7 advantage in the series. Notre Dame has won nine straight versus the Mountaineers and has never lost during Mike Brey’s tenure. Notre Dame’s last loss to West Virginia was in Morgantown on February 14, 1999 as the Irish dropped an 85-80 decision. The two teams met only once this season – in the BIG EAST opener for both teams – at the Joyce Center with the Irish coming away with a 63-52 victory. Since both schools became league members in 1995-96, there have been 14 meetings with Notre Dame leading the series 11-3.
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.
BIG EAST Distinction:
Although Notre Dame fell one game short of recording its fourth straight 10-win season in league, the Irish own the distinction, along with Syracuse, as being the only two schools to post winning conference records each of the last four seasons. Notre Dame has gone 11-5 (2000-01), 10-6 (2001-02), 10-6 (2002-03) and 9-7 (2003-04), while Syracuse has posted marks of 10-6 (2001-01), 9-7(2001-02), 13-3 (2002-03) and 11-5 ( 2003-04).
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.
Notre Dame’s 89-62 victory over St. John’s at Madison Square Garden at Saturday produced a couple of milestones. The Irish hit 17 three-pointers in the contest (29 field goals total) to establish a school record. The previous mark was 16 set against Loyola of Chicago on November 22, 2000. In that game, the Irish attempted 22 from beyond the arc, hitting on 72.7 percent. Against the Red Storm, the Irish made 45.9 percent of their three-point attempts as their 37 attempts also established a school mark. Also, Notre Dame’s 27-point margin of victory was the largest ever in a BIG EAST game.
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 3.20 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has played 922 minutes, dished off 90 assists and turned the ball over just 30 times, which translates into one turnover every 30.7 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 15 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. Notre Dame has had more assists than turnovers in 15 of the last 19 games and is averaging 10.6 turnovers and 14.3 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 621 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 6.6 career-assist average, while Rivers averaged a 4.97 assist average.
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 faced this scheduling six times during the 2003-04 campaign.
Cornette’s Century Mark:
Jordan Cornette blocked his 100th career shot against Marquette and has 142 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 of the season in Notre Dame’s 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 in the loss at Connecticut. 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-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 West Virginia game having scored in double figures in seven of the last 13 contests. He has reached double figures in 13 contests in 2003-04 and 15 times during his career. Jones has played in more games (118) than any other player on the roster.
The Jones Factor 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 26 games in 2003-04, he is averaging career bests of 9.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 32.7 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.
Like Torrian Jones, Tom Timmermans is having his best season in an Irish uniform, averaging 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. He had his best outing in an Irish uniform in the win at UCLA one week ago as he scored a career-high 20 points and matched a career best with eight boards. Timmermans connected on 9-15 shots from the field in the contest. He has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and grabbed eight rebounds in four of those contests. Timmermans registered double figures for the first time in his career (spanning 73 games at the time) against Syracuse on January 17 when he scored 16 points. 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 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 12 times in 27 games this season and has topped the 80-point mark on four occasions. The Irish are averaging 71.3 points per contest, the fewest ever by an Irish team under Mike Brey. Notre Dame has scored 80-plus points four times this season – Morehead State (84), Connecticut (80), Syracuse (84) and St. John’s (89). 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 67.8 points per game and has held 15 of its 27 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 94 career contests, he has 621 for a 6.6 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 1,677 career points for a career scoring average of 17.8. 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 94 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 nine games that Tom Timmermans has started this season, he has averaged 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in 28.5 minutes. His six double-figure scoring efforts have all come when he has been in the starting lineup. Overall this season, Timmermans is averaging 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds and 22.0 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 94 games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 62-32 record for a .660 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 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 119 blocks in 2003-04 for an average of 4.4 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 seven 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 – 4-2
- Jordan Cornette, Tom Timmermans, Chris Thomas, Colin Falls and Torrian Jones – 1-0
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 1545-848 record for a .646 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.
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 40-24 (.625) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and 1-3 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 41-27 (.603) 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. 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 430-130 record all-time for a .767 winning percentage. The Irish are 45-15 (.750) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons-plus, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 95-32 mark for a .748 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 26 of their last 34 games at home, but have dropped eight of the last 18 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, eight games sold out – Indiana, Syracuse, Kentucky. Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Providence and Georgetown. 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 75-77 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .493 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 40-24 (.625) 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 an 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.
174 And Counting:
Heading into today’s game against West Virginia, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 174 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.
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).