March 7, 2005
No. 6 seed Notre Dame (17-1-, 9-7) plays No. 11 seed Rutgers (9-18, 2-14) in the opening round of the 2005 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Championship … The two teams played just once during the regular season – a meeting that took place one week ago on March 2 – with the Irish earning a 66-56 victory at the Joyce Center … The winner of this evening’s contest will play No. 3 seed Syracuse (24-6, 11-5) … Notre Dame’s 9-7 finish in BIG EAST play marks the fifth straight year that the Irish have finished with a a winning record in conference play … Only one other program – Syracuse – has finished above the .500 mark each of the last five seasons … Five of Notre Dame’s 10 losses this season have been by five points or less … Also, five games have been decided by a single point and the Irish are 3-2 in those contests …The Irish began BIG EAST play with a 4-1 record – the second-best start in school history … The Irish began 6-1 in 2002-03 before finishing the conference regular season with a 10-6 mark.
Celebrating 100 Seasons:
The 2004-05 season marks the 100th season for the Notre Dame men’s basketball program … Notre Dame is one of 13 Division I schools celebrating its 100th season of basketball this year … The others include: Dayton, Delaware, Duke, Georgia, Howard, Illinois, Miami (Ohio), Northwestern, Oregon, Virginia, William and Mary and Wyoming.
Notre Dame played its first varsity game on January 29, 1898 (a 64-8 loss to First Regiment) … The Irish played two other games that season and finished with a 1-2 record … The following year, they played two games in 1899 and then did not field a team again until the 1907-08 campaign.
Chris Thomas needs four three-pointers to break the career three-point field goal mark of 301 held by Matt Carroll (1999-2003) … Thomas enters the game with 298 career three-pointers … Jordan Cornette needs one block to break the record of 200 career blocked shots shared by he and LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92).
Brey Gets Number 200:
Head coach Mike Brey captured his 200th career victory in Notre Dame’s 62-61 defeat of Providence on February 19 … In 10 seasons and 307 games, he has compiled a 201-106 record for a .655 winning percentage … Brey compiled a 99-52 mark at Delaware (1995-2000) in five seasons before coming to Notre Dame … In his first game as Notre Dame’s head coach, he won his 100th career game on Nevember 18, 2000 in a 104-58 victory over Sacred Heart.
100 And Counting:
Notre Dame’s 70-64 victory against Georgetown on February 16 gave Irish head coach Mike Brey his 100th at the school … He reached that mark coaching in his 151st game, becoming the second Notre Dame coach to reach the 100-win mark in 151 games … He owns a 102-54 career mark (.654) at Notre Dame.
Another Unbeaten Falls At The Joyce Center:
Notre Dame’s 68-65 win over fourth-ranked and previously unbeaten Boston College (20-0) on February 8 marked the third time in 25 years that an unbeaten team with 20-plus wins suffered a defeat at the Joyce Center … Prior to that victory, the last time Notre Dame knocked off an undefeated team with 20 or more wins was on February 27, 1980 when No. DePaul brought an unblemished 25-0 record into the Joyce Center … On that day, the Irish defeated the Blue Demons 76-74 in double overtime … That game came three years after No. 1 ranked San Francisco come into the Joyce Center on March 1, 1977 with a 29-0 record and left with its first loss of the season (a 93-82 Irish victory).
Irish Finish 2-4 In Stretch Against Ranked Foes:
In six of its last 10 games, the Irish have played opponents who have been ranked … Notre Dame is 2-4 against ranked foes this season … In a four-game stretch, (Jan. 30-Feb. 12) against Connecticut, Syracuse, Boston College and Pittsburgh, all four opponents were ranked … The last time a Notre Dame team played four consecutive games against ranked opponents was during the the 1977-78 campaign when that Irish team played five ranked foes during the ’78 NCAA Tournament … That squad was 3-2 in those contests and advanced to the Final Four.
Starting The Season Ranked:
For the second consecutive year and 24th time in the program’s history, Notre Dame began the season ranked – 20th in the Associated Press and 21st in the ESPN/USA Today preseason rankings
… This marks the third time a Notre Dame team under head coach Mike Brey has been ranked … His first Irish team, the 2000-01 squad, started the year tied for 15th in the AP Poll and were 17th in the ESPN/USA Today ranking … Last season’s 2003-04 squad was 21st and tied for 19th, respectively in the two polls at the start of the year
… Notre Dame climbed to 20th in the AP and 19th in the ESPN/USA Today rankings earlier this season.
Thomas Reaches 2,000-Point Milestone:
With his 16-point performance against West Virginia on January 19, Chris Thomas became the sixth player in Notre Dame history to score 2,000 points … Thomas has 2,157 career points in 126 career outings and is third on the all-time scoring list … He ranks behind Austin Carr (2,560) and Adrian Dantley (2,223) and ahead of Pat Garrity (2,085), David Rivers (2,058) and Troy Murphy (2,011).
BIG EAST 1,000:
With his 19-point performance against Boston College on February 8, Chris Thomas became the second player in Notre Dame history and 25th player overall to score 1,000 points in BIG EAST play (regular-season games only) … In 64 career BIG EAST games, he has scored 1,099 points for a 17.2 career average … The only other player to score 1,000 points in league play was Pat Garrity who scored 1,107 points in 54 league contests from 1995-98 for a 20.5 scoring average.
BIG EAST 400:
Chris Thomas became the third player in BIG EAST history with 400 career assists … He finishes with 413 career assists in 64 games to rank second all-time … Sherman Douglas (Syracuse – 1985-89) who holds the record with 426 in 61 games … Sean Miller (Pittsburgh – 1987-92) is third on the list with 401 in 66 career contests.
Thomas In The Record Books:
Chris Thomas has made a record 126 consecutive starts and has not missed a game during his Irish career … When he sat out the first eight minutes of the second half against St. John’s on January 15 with a concussion sustained in the first half, it marked the first time in his career that he missed any part of a game due to injury
… The consecutive games started mark was formerly held by Pat Garrity (1994-98) who started all 111 contests of his career … Thomas also holds career record for assists (819) and steals (240).
For the second time in school history and for the second consecutive year, Notre Dame has four captains … Seniors Chris Thomas and Jordan Cornette are captains again along with juniors Torin Francis and Chris Quinn.
In Mike Brey’s four-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 43-32 (.573) … That includes a 28- 24 (.538) in true road games and a 15-8 (.652) in neutral site contests.
Scouting the Irish:
Notre Dame has struggled defensively in its last four games as the Irish have yielded 73.0 points per game … Overall, opponents are averaging 63.3 points … Prior to the back-to-back losses to Connecticut and UCLA, Notre Dame’s previous seven losses had been by a combined 32 points and its five BIG EAST losses totalled 20 points … The 10 losses this season are by a combined 56 points (5.6 points per game) … Five of the 27 games this season have been decided by a single point (four of those BIG EAST contests) … Notre Dame is 3-2 in those contests and 3-1 in conference games decided by one point … Thirteen of the 16 BIG EAST contests the Irish have played have been decided by less than 10 points … The only double-digit decisions were a 70-57 win at West Virginia, an 88-74 loss at Connecticut and a 66-56 win over Rutgers at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame is 13-4 at the Joyce Center this season … The 88 points the Irish gave up to Connecticut on Monday night were the most that they had given up all season … Defensively, the Irish have held eight of their opponents to 57 points and under … The 6.3.3 scoring average is the fewest ever allowed by the Irish during the Mike Brey era … On eight occasions this season – DePaul (84), Marist (73), Villanova (72), Syracuse (70) ,Connecticut (74 and 88), UCLA (75) and Pittsburgh (85) – have Irish opponents scored more than 70 points this season … Notre Dame is averaging 67.1 points, the lowest total during Brey’s tenure … Three players are averaging double figures – Chris Thomas (13.9), Chris Quinn (13.1), Colin Falls (12.7), while Torin Francis is averaging 9.0 ppg. and Dennis Latimore 7.5 ppg. … Francis leads the team in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds …Thomas also leads the team in both assists (6.7) and steals (2.1), while Jordan Cornette is the team leader in blocks (44) … Quinn owns the current longest double-figures scoring streak for the Irish as he has registered 10-plus points in a career-best 15 straight games.
Irish In The National Statistics:
Chris Thomas stands 14th in assists (6.7 aspg.), while the Irish as a team are 15th in three-point field goals made (8.7) and 22nd in three-point field goal percentage.
Series Record vs. Rutgers:
Tonight’s game is the second meeting of the season … In the only regular-season matchup, Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 66-56 on March … The Irish lead the series 11-10 … Prior to the win one week ago, the Scarlet Knight had won each of the two previous meetings … The Irish, have won six of the last nine contests … Both teams became members of the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96 and there have been 16 meetings with series tied at 8-8.
The Irish All-Time:
In 100 seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1565-861 mark (.645).
Thomas A Finalist Senior Class Award:
Chris Thomas is finalist for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award … The award is presented annually to the nation’s senior player-of-the-year for NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball … Irish women’s basketball player Jacqueline Batteast is also a finalist on the women’s side.
Chris Thomas reached a milestone against UCLA on February 27 that only two other players in NCAA history have accomplished … With 2,157 points and 819 assists to his credit, Thomas is the third player in NCAA history with 2,000 points and 800 assists … Sherman Douglas (Syracuse – 1985-89) finished his career with 2,060 points and 960 assists, while Gary Payton (Oregon State – 1986-90) had 2,172 points and 939 assists.
Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season (1968-69) at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 444 -135 record all-time for a .767 winning percentage … The Irish are 59-20 (.747) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s five seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 107-36 mark for a .748 winning percentage … Notre Dame’s 13-4 mark at home already this season marks the seventh time in eight years that the Irish have won 10 or more home games.
Toughest Ticket in Town:
Notre Dame’s success on the hardwood has paid dividends at the box office … For the fourth consecutive year, the number of season ticket holders increased and there have been eight sellouts … Notre Dame students also showed their support for the Irish as the student allotment of 3,000 was a complete sellout in less than three hours … Notre Dame had nine sellouts at home this season – the second-highest total since 1995-96.
Irish Medical Update:
Since March of 2004, five Irish players have had some type of surgical procedure … Forward Torin Francis had back surgery on March 8 to repair a herniated disc … He returned to the basketball court in June and was able to play with the team during its summer off-season conditioning program … Point guard Chris Thomas underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on April 9 for a tear on his left kneecap … He was cleared to return to the court in August … Rick Cornett had surgery for a stress fracture (broken left foot) on July 23 … Rob Kurz had surgery on September 14 for a fractured jaw and walk-on Greg Bosl had surgery to remove a screw in his foot after suffering a break in August.
BIG EAST Distinction:
Although Notre Dame fell one game short of recording its fourth straight 10-win season in league play in 2003-04, the Irish own the distinction, along with Syracuse, as being the only two schools to post winning conference records each of the last five seasons … Notre Dame has gone 11-5 (2000-01), 10-6 (2001-02), 10-6 (2002-03), 9-7 (2003-04) and 9-7 (2004-05), while Syracuse has posted marks of 10-6 (2001-01), 9-7(2001-02), 13-3 (2002-03), 11-5 (2003-04) and 11-5(2004-05).
BIG EAST Season No. 10 for Irish:
The 2004-05 campaign marks Notre Dame’s 10th year as a member of the BIG EAST Conference … In nine-plus seasons as a conference member, Notre Dame owns a 84-84 record all-time in conference regular-season play for a .500 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 49-31 (.613) mark in regular-season play.
BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 49-31 (.612) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-4 mark in tournament play for an overall of 51-35 (.593) 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.
Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame has scored 100-plus points five times during the Mike Brey era … The last 100-point effort by an Irish team was in a 101-96 overtime decision at Boston College on January 25, 2003.
Shuffling The Lineup:
Irish coach Mike Brey has used three different starting lineups this season … In 2003-04, injuries forced Brey into seven different starting rotations … Below is list of the three different starting lineups that have been used and Notre Dame’s record when starting those five players…
* Torin Francis, Jordan Cornette, Dennis Latimore, Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn
(used this starting lineup through first seven games) – 5-2 * Jordan Cornette, Torin Francis, Chris Thomas, Chris Quinn and Colin Falls
(Marist/St. John’s/WVU/Georgetown (2)/Villanova/UConn (2)/Syracuse/BC/Pitt/ Providence/UCLA games) – 7-7
* Torin Francis, Dennis Latimore, Chris Thomas, Chris Quinn and Colin Falls (Western Illinois/Samford/Seton Hall/Villanova/Syracuse/Rutgers games) – 5-1
Heart and Soul
Chris Thomas has long been regarded as the heart and soul of the Irish team by his teammates … Thomas’ performance in the win against St. John’s on January 15 proved that … Thomas suffered a concussion after colliding with a Red Storm player at the end of the first half and missed the first eight minutes of the second half … It marked the first time that he had ever missed any portion of a game for injury … Returning to the lineup, he played the final 12 minutes … Thomas hit 3-4 from the free-throw line and then hit the game-winning shot – a three-pointer with six seconds remaining – that marked his only field goal attempt of the second half.
Finally…Victory In Bloomington:
Notre Dame’s win against Indiana was about as good as it gets for the Irish, who had not beaten the Hoosiers in 31 years in Bloomington … The last time a Notre Dame team defeated Indiana at Assembly Hall was on December 11, 1973 … The win snapped a 13-game skid in Bloomington and also ended an eight-game losing streak (the longest in the series history) … Notre Dame had not beaten Indiana since November 29, 1994, and heading into the contest, had lost 13 of the previous 14 matchups … The 45 points allowed by Notre Dame were the fewest in the series since December 12, 1931 (a 23-12 Indiana victory) spanning 58 games … Irish head coach Mike Brey remarked after the game that the last time Notre Dame defeated Indiana in Bloomington, he was 14 years old and listening to the Bee Gees.
Down To The Wire:
Five of Notre Dame’s 27 games have been decided by a single point … Notre Dame is 3-2 in those contests … Irish teams are 9-4 overall during Mike Brey’s tenure in one point games … 13 of Notre Dame’s 16 BIG EAST contests have been decided by less than 10 points.
Nothing But Net:
Notre Dame’s 19-19 performance from the free-throw line against Villanova was the best ever for an Irish team at the Joyce Center … Prior to that game, the record for highest free-throw percentage for an Irish team in a game at the Joyce Center was .944 on two occasions – vs. Butler (17-18) on February 14, 1977 and vs. Loyola (17-18) on February 27, 1992 … Notre Dame also had an impressive outing from the charity stripe against Georgetown at the Joyce Center, connecting on 26-29 (.897).
All About The Threes:
Notre Dame’s 14 three-pointers against Pittsburgh in the first meeting between the two teams marked a season-high … Earlier in the campaign, the Irish registered 13 from beyond the arc in back-to-back games against St. John’s and West Virginia … The Irish shot a season-best 55.0 percent from three-point range against Boston College, hitting 11-20, including 5-8 (.625) in the second half and against Pittsburgh were 14-29 (.483), 8-16 in the second half … Notre Dame is 79-190 (.416) in its last seven games from three-point range … The Irish were 155-385 (.408) from three-point range in BIG EAST play and are 236-607 (.389) overall … As a team, Notre Dame is averaging 8.7 three-point field goals made per game … Of the 236 three-point field goals made, Chris Thomas (48), Chris Quinn (66) and Colin Falls (88) have combined for 85.6 percent of those three-pointers.
Notre Dame has used late-game heroics to pull out three of its BIG EAST wins … 14 of the last 17 games have been decided by less than 10 points …
vs. Seton Hall – Colin Falls hits game-winning three-pointer with four seconds remaining after Pirates had taken a 65-63 lead with 20 seconds remaining for the 66-65 victory.
vs. Villanova – With the game tied at 70-70 with 1:45 remaining, Dennis Latimore gives the Irish a 72-70 advantage on two free throws … Following a missed Villanova shot, Chris Thomas gives the Irish a four-point lead (74-70) with a jumper along the baseline as the shot clock is about to expire … Villanova pulled to within two with 41 seconds and then Colin Falls and Thomas sealed the win with two free throws each in the final 38 seconds of the game.
vs. St. John’s – Chris Thomas’ three-pointer with six seconds remaining – his only shot attempt of the second half – gives the Irish a 67-66 victory over St. John’s … Jordan Cornette blocks Daryll Hill’s drive to the basket as time expires … It marked the first game-winning shot of Thomas’ career.
On The Short End:
While Notre Dame has pulled out three one-point victories, they have also suffered two losses by one point …
vs. Michigan – Michigan converts a three-point play with 20 seconds remaining to take a 61-60 lead … After the Wolverines miss the front end of a one-and-one with four seconds remaining, Notre Dame’s three-point attempt is blocked.
vs. Georgetown – Notre Dame takes a 54-53 lead on Colin Falls three-pointer with six seconds remaining, but the Hoyas defeat the Irish 55-54 on Roy Hibbert’s dunk at the buzzer.
Oh So Close:
Notre Dame’s six BIG EAST losses this season have been by a total of 34 points … The Irish held leads in in five of those contests ….
vs. Syracuse (1/10) – After trailing by four at halftime, Notre Dame leads 51-43 with 14:12 remaining, but the Orange close out the game by outscoring the Irish 27-10 for the final 71-60 count … The nine points is the largest defeat
at Georgetown (1/23) – Colin Falls’ three-pointer with six seconds remaining gives the Irish a 54-53 lead, but Roy Hibbert’s dunk at the buzzer give the Hoyas a 55-54 victory.
at Villanova (1/26) – Notre Dame leads 37-30 at the break, but the Wildcats outscored the Irish 35-23 in the second half … The Irish held a 52-46 advantage with 11:48 to play, but is held to just eight points for the remainder of the game.
at Syracuse (2/5) – Notre Dame leads by six at the break and extends the lead to 11 (50-39) with 6:05 to play in the contest before the Orange close out the game with a 21-7 run for the final 60-57 margin.
at Pittsburgh (2/12) – The Irish overcome a five-point halftime deficit to take a 49-44 lead with 12:55 remaining … The Panthers retake the lead and jump out to a 59-50 advantage with 7:05 to play … Notre Dame grabs a one-point lead 62-61 with 2:01 to play before the Panthers regain a three-point lead with 1:04 … The Irish tie the game at 65-65 on a Chris Quinn three-pointer with 42 seconds … Carl Krauser gives Pittsburgh a 67-65 lead … Notre Dame has a chance to tie the game with three seconds remaining, but Rick Cornett misses the first of two free throws and the Panthers make one of two free throws with two seconds remaining.
Irish opponents are averaging 63.3 points per game … Notre Dame held its first five opponents to 61 points and under with three of those opponents scoring 45 points or less … Overall, the Irish have limited their opponents to 45 points and under on four occasions … In the two wins prior to the loss at Michigan (60-61), the Irish held IPFW (73-45) and Charleston Southern (54-38) to under 50 points … The last time time that occurred was during the 2002-03 season when the Irish held their first three opponents – Belmont (76-48), IUPUI (89-45) and Bucknell (73-42) – to under 50 points … The 38 points scored by Charleston Southern in Notre Dame’s win on November 26 were the fewest allowed by an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey and the second fewest ever scored by an Irish opponent since the opening of the Joyce Center for the 1968-69 season … The 44 points scored by Samford were the third-fewest allowed under Brey.
Thomas In Elite Scoring Company:
Chris Thomas has a career scoring average of 17.1 points per game and is third on the all-time Notre Dame career scoring list with 2,157 career points in 126 career outings … Heading into this season, Thomas had scored 1,783 points in 99 career outings … Only four other players scored more points in the first three seasons of their careers – Austin Carr (2,560 points in 75 games), Adrian Dantley (2,223 points in 86 games), Troy Murphy (2,011 points in 94 games) and Tom Hawkins (1,820 points in 79 games) .
Record-Setting Three-Point Performance:
With his eight three-pointers against Pittsburgh, Colin Falls tied the Notre Dame single-game record … He now shares the record with Keith Friel (vs. Syracuse on Jan. 21, 1998) and Matt Carroll (vs. Syracuse on March 4, 2003) … Also, his 88 three-pointers this season are the most ever by an Irish player in his sophomore season … Falls is within reach of Matt Carroll’s single-season mark of 99 set during the 2002-03 campaign.
Chris Thomas has started in a Notre Dame record 126 consecutive games and has never missed a game during his career … His 112th consecutive start on January 10 against Syracuse set the record for consecutive games started … The record of 111 was formerly held by Pat Garrity (1994-98) … John Paxson (1979-83) stands third all-time with 85 consecutive starts (86 total during his career) … Paxson started every game in his final three seasons … Thomas has never missed a game during his Irish career and has averaged 37.6 minutes per game in those contests and been on the court 93.3 percent of the time in those 127 games having played 4,734 of a possible 5,075 minutes.
No Doubting Thomas:
In games against Marist (Dec. 22) and Western Illinois (Dec. 30), Chris Thomas flirted with recording his second and third career triple-doubles … Against Marist, he finished with 18 points, nine assists and eights rebounds before following that up with 21 points, nine assists (all in the first half) and nine rebounds in the win over the Leathernecks.
Scoring Streak Snapped:
Chris Thomas’ two-point performance against Michigan snapped a 19-game double-figure scoring streak for the Irish guard and also marked his lowest scoring output in the 103 games he had played at the time … Thomas has netted double figures in 109 of 126 career contests.
He Keeps Going And Going And Going….:
Chris Thomas has been on the court an amazing 93.3 percent of the time during his career and has played all but 341 minutes … Thomas has played 30-plus minutes in 122 career contests and 40-plus minutes on 43 occasions in three-plus seasons.
Lending The Assist:
Chris Thomas has led the Irish in assists in each of his three seasons (a single-season school record 252 in 2001-02, 236 in 2002-03 and 150 in 2003-04) … Currently the school’s career assist leader with 800, he will become just the third player in Notre Dame history to lead the Irish in assists during all four of his seasons … Rich Branning was the first player to do so as he led Notre Dame from 1976-80 and finished his career with 466 (currently sixth on the all-time list) … David Rivers (1984-88) also led the Irish during all four of his seasons … Rivers finished as the school’s all-time career assist leader with 586 and held that record until last season, when it was eclipsed by Thomas in February of 2004.
Francis Posts 22st Double-Double:
Torin Francis posted his fifth double-double of the season and the 22nd of his career in the loss to Pittsburgh when he scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds … Francis’ four other double doubles were in wins at Indiana (11 points/13 rebounds) and Seton Hall (15 points/10 rebounds) and in losses at Villanova (19 points/13 rebounds) and against Pittsburgh (15 points/11 rebounds) at the Joyce Center.
Cornett Collects First Double-Double:
Rick Cornett registered the first double-double of his Fighting Irish career with a 14-point and 14-rebound performance at Providence on Feb. 19.
Thomas Registers 14th Career Double-Double:
Chris Thomas’ and 10 points and 12 assists against Rutgers marked his 14th career double-double and his second of the season … He had a double-double earlier this season when he scored 10 points and dished 11 assists in the win over IPFW … That game marked the first time he registered double figures in both points and assists since his sophomore season when he scored 21 points and dished off 13 assists against Virginia Tech on February 22, 2003 … Thomas’ lone double-double last season was a 23-point and 11-rebound effort in a loss to Providence on February 24, 2004 … He has dished 10-plus assists in 18 games during his career.
Cornette Ties Blocked Shot Mark:
In four seasons spanning 124 career games, Jordan Cornette has 200 career blocked shots to rank second all-time in that category … On Saturday against Pittsburgh, he tied LaPhonso Ellis’ (1988-2002) career mark of 200 … Cornette’s four blocks against Western Illinois moved him past Ryan Humphrey (2000-02) in Notre Dame history … Humphrey stands third on the all-time list with 166 blocked shots … Cornette stands third all-time with a 1.6 blocked shots average.
Transfer Of Influence:
Dennis Latimore is the third transfer to play under head coach Mike Brey … He transferred to Notre Dame in the summer of 2003 after two seasons at the University of Arizona … Ryan Humphrey was the first transfer to play for the Irish … He played his first two seasons at the University of Oklahoma … During his two-year career from 2000-02, he played in 60 games and averaged 16.6 points (997), 9.95 rebounds (597) and 2.8 blocked shots (166) … Humphrey was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection in his senior season and earned second-team All-America honors from Basketball Times … Dan Miller played one year (2002-03) after transferring from the University of Maryland and averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds.
Latimore Nets Double Figures In Three Straight Games:
Dennis Latimore’s three consecutive double-figure outings against Army (15), Marist (10) and Western Illinois (18), marked the first time in his career that he has scored in double figures in three straight contests … Latimore also recorded three straight double-figure outings against Connecticut (12), Syracuse (10) and Boston College (10) … Contests at Michigan and Indiana earlier this season produced back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts for the first time in his career … Heading into the season, Latimore, had only scored in double figures twice in 57 games at Arizona … Already this season, he has registered 10-plus points in 11 games and played 30-plus minutes in five contests … Latimore is averaging 22.6 mpg. … At Arizona, he averaged 10.9 and 12.0 minutes during his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively.
Latimore Posts Second Career Double-Double:
Dennis Latimore registered his second career double-double and first in a BIG EAST game in the win over Villanova as he scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds … He posted his first career double-double, scoring 12 points (tying a career-high) and grabbing a personal best 11 rebounds … In two seasons at Arizona, where he played 57 games, he only twice scored in double figures (22 versus California and 10 against Arizona State) and never had 10-plus rebounds in a 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 126 games he has directed Mike Brey’s teams, Thomas has helped the Irish compile a 82-44 record for a .651 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 … Thomas has distributed 10-plus assists in 17 games during his career … This season, he is averaging a 6.7 assists, after dishing off just 4.7 during the 2003-04 campaign.
Torin Francis was back in the lineup for the first time since the Connecticut game (February 9, 2004) last year in the season opener against Harvard … Francis missed the final 12 games of the ’03-’04 campaign with a herniated disc … In the three games prior to being sidelined with his back injury last season, he scored six points versus Boston College (29 minutes), four points against Pittsburgh (nine minutes) and did not score against Connecticut (seven minutes) … Francis has scored in double figures in 13 games overall this season, including a season-high 19-point performances against Villanova and Connecticut … He has started all 81 games that he has played in and has grabbed nine or more rebounds in 13 games this season.
The Mighty Quinn:
Chris Quinn is second on the team with an 13.1 scoring average and has led or shared team-high scoring honors on nine occasions … He achieved a first in his career by leading Notre Dame in scoring in his first three games… Quinn has scored 20-plus points in three games – a 21-point performance against Marist (seventh 20-point performance of his career) in which he finished 7-8 from the field and connected on all four of his three-point field goal attempts and a 20-point effort in the season opener against Harvard … He tied a career-high in the Pittsburgh game scoring 25 points as he connected on 10-15 field goals and 5-6 three-pointers … Last season, Quinn led the Irish in scoring on three occasions – in the Quinnipiac (25 points), Boston College (25 points) and Purdue (21 points) games … While averaging 36.2 minutes per game (977 minutes played), Quinn has turned the ball over just 31 times … In 11 games in 2003-04 (spanning 390 minutes), Quinn did not commit a turnover … Last season he committed just 37 turnovers and dished off 104 assists and owned a BIG EAST best 2.81 assist-to-turnover ratio … Also during the season, Quinn had a stretch of 159:00 minutes on the floor without a turnover.
Colin Falls scored a career-high 28 points in Saturday’s loss to Pittsburgh, marking the fourth time this season that he scored 20-plus points in a game … Against the Panthers, he was 8-16 from the field overall and 8-14 from three-point range … Previously, he matched his career-high with a 23-point outing against Boston College when he connected on 8-14 shots from the field and was 7-12 from three-point range (his seven three-pointers were a career best) … Falls also scored 23 points against St. John’s as he connected on 7-16 from the field and 6-13 from beyond the arc … Falls has been in double figures in 11 of the last 17 games and in 14 contests overall … Before a three-point performance against Villanova on January 26, he had scored in double figures in the six previous outings (the first time that he had scored in double figures in six straight games) … Earlier this season in contests against DePaul and Army, Falls shot 63.2 percent from the field (12-19) and 57.1 percent from three-point range (8-14) … He also averaged 18.0 points, scoring a career-high 20 against DePaul and 16 versus Army … Against DePaul, he connected on 7-10 shots from the field and 5-7 from three-point range, and followed that up by shooting 5-9 from the field and 3-7 from beyond the arc against Army … In Notre Dame’s defeat of Western Illinois, Falls knocked down 5-9 shots from beyond the arc to finish with 17 points, and he scored a team-high 19 on 3-6 shooting from downtown in the BIG EAST-opening victory at Seton Hall … He buried three shots from beyond the arc en route to a 16-point effort in the Villanova contest … His 80 three-pointers are the second most by a Notre Dame sophomore.
Threes The Key For Falls:
Eighty-eight of Colin Falls’ 96 field goals have come from three-point range … It wasn’t until the DePaul game that he connected on a two-point field goal … Prior to the contest, all eight of his field goals and all 20 of his attempts had come from three-point range … Falls connected on three three-pointers against IPFW and Michigan as he finished with nine points in both of those games … During his freshman season, Falls’ favorite shot was from beyond the arc … 125 of his 143 career field goals made (.874) have come from three-point range, while 301 of his 354 attempts (.850) have been from the three-point line or beyond.
In Select Company:
When Jordan Cornette recorded his 100th career steal in the Army game, he joined former Irish standout Troy Murphy as the only two players in school history with 100 career blocks and 100 career steals … Cornette has 200 blocks and 122 steals in three-plus seasons, while Murphy ended his career with 126 and 113, respectively.
Counting On Colin:
Colin Falls’ game-winning shot (from three-point range) against Seton Hall on January 5 with four seconds remaining, marked the second game-winning shot of his career (44 games) .. . In the first round of the BIG EAST Championship last year, Falls’ three-pointer with 15.8 seconds remaining lifted the Irish to a 65-64 victory over West Virginia.
Rookie Roll Call:
Sophomore Omari Isreal has seen action in 18 games, while freshman Rob Kurz has played in 13 games … Isreal, who missed all of last season while recovering from the ACL surgery he had in February of 2003, had his best outings against Charleston Southern when he scored four points and grabbed three rebounds and in the Connecticut game on the road when he played 18 minutes and grabbed six rebounds … Isreal has played 10-plus minutes in four games … Kurz played a season-high 12 minutes against IPFW and a career-high three points against Marist.
Keeping It Close:
In the 54 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s four seasons, only 15 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 386 points for an average of 7.1 points … Notre Dame’s biggest losses have been on the road at Pittsburgh (72-55 on January 6, 2003) and against Arizona (88-71 on March 27, 2003) in the West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif… 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 4.5 points … Only one loss that season (versus Georgetown at the Joyce Center) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five or less points.
The Irish frontcourt provides many shot-blocking opportunities … The 2002-03 team set the single-season mark with 189 blocked shots for 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 … Last year, the Irish had 139 blocks for an average of 4.34 per game … Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame averaged 5.17 blocks per game in his first four seasons … The single-season totals each of the past four years are among the top five block totals in school history … The Irish have 114 blocked shots in 27 games (4.2).
206 And Counting:
Heading into tonight’s game against Rutgers, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 206 straight games, a mark that dates back to the the 1998-99 campaign … The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on January 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game.
Steady As They Go:
Notre Dame’s backcourt tandem of Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn has combined for 727 of the team’s 1,813 points (.401) and dished off 267 of its 393 assists (.679).
All In The Family:
Freshman Rob Kurz’ younger sister Laura is a freshman on the Duke women’s basketball team. As a matter of fact, she played a regular-season contest on the Joyce Center floor 48 hours before her brother’s home opener. The Irish women’s basketball team hosted the Blue Devils in semifinal action of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on November 17 … Notre Dame won the game 76-65.
Irish Add Four In Early Signing Period:
Mike Brey signed four players to national letters of intent during the early signing period … Joining the Irish in the fall of 2005 will be Ryan Ayers (Blue Bell, Pa./Germantown Academy), Zach Hillesland (Toledo, Ohio/St. John’s Jesuit), Kyle McAlarney (Staten Island, N.Y./Moore Catholic) and Luke Zeller (Washington, Ind./Washington) … Ayers, a 6-7, 200-pound combination guard/forward, is the son of former Ohio State and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Randy Ayers … His team finished this season with 24-6 record, losing in the Inter-Academic League championship game … Ayers averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists and finished his career with 1,370 points … He also was a three-time member of the all-Inter-AC first team … Ayers was honored with the Markward Club Award as the top player in the Philadelphia area … McAlarney, a 6-1, 170-pound point guard, ranks as the all-time leading scorer in Staten Island prep history with 2,528 career points and is fifth on the New York state scoring list … He has led his team to a 15-10 record and owns a 34.8 scoring average … Hillesland 6-8, 220-pound forward, led his team to its fourth straight Toledo City League title as he netted 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the championship game … Team wons a 17-3 record and ranked fifth in the state.
Irish Find Success In The Classroom:
For the second straight semester, Irish basketball players excelled in the classroom … Overall, the Irish earned a 3.056 semester average, the second-highest semester average since the fall semester of 1992, after earning a 3.115 cumulative grade point average following the 2004 spring semester … The team also boasts a 3.028 cumulative grade index, which also reflects the highest average since Notre Dame’s Office of Academic Services For Student-Athletes began keeping track of semester grade point averages at the start of the 1992-93 school year … Seven players – Greg Bosl, Rick Cornett, Dennis Latimore, Chris Murphy, Ben Nickol, Chris Quinn and Chris Thomas – earned semester grade point averages of better than 3.00.
Notre Dame Basketball On The Big Screen:
Notre Dame will play a record 15 games on national television during the regular season …. Last year, the Irish also made 13 national appearances during the regular season and appeared on either CBS, ESPN or ESPN2 a total of 16 times … Since the 2000-01 season under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame teams have appeared on national television during the regular and post-season a total of 52 times (average of 13 per year) – it’s the most television appearances in a four-year period in the program’s history.
Joyce Center Sellouts:
Since the 2000-01 campaign, there have been 38 sellouts at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame enjoyed 10 sellouts during the 2002-03 campaign, the most since the 1985-86 season … The 29 sellouts from 2000-04 were the most in a four-year period since the 1983-87 campaigns.
Web Site (www.und.com):
Notre Dame’s official athletic department web site can be found at www.und.com … The web site is created in partnership with College Sports Online of Carlsbad, Calif.
Facing The Defending National Champions:
Notre Dame’s 78-74 victory over Connecticut on January 30 marked the third straight year that the Irish faced a team which in the previous season had won the national championship … Notre Dame teams own a 10-25 record all-time versus teams which had won the NCAA crown in the previous season … Last year, the Irish knocked off Syracuse 84-72 on February 16, 2004 at the Carrier Dome and defeated Maryland 79-67 on December 7, 2002 in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center … 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.
Notre Dame Rises To Top Spot In Directors’ Cup Standings
Notre Dame stands first in the final set of fall sports standings released in the 2004-05 United States Sports Academy Division I Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors’ Cup) … This marks the first time in the 12-year history of the all-sports program that Notre Dame has ranked number one … The previous highest ranking for the Irish was second in the 2004-05 second set of fall standings … Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 337 points based on their NCAA title in women’s soccer (100 points), their fourth-place finish in women’s cross country (80), 11th-place finish in men’s cross country (57) and second-round NCAA appearances in men’s soccer and volleyball (50 each) … Michigan (333 points) stands second, followed by Stanford (332), Duke (327) and UCLA (297) … The current standings include results from NCAA fall competition in volleyball, field hockey, men’s water polo, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s soccer and football … In previous years in which the Directors’ Cup competition has been held, Notre Dame has finished 11th in ’93-’94, 30th in ’94-’95, 11th in ’95-’96, 14th in ’96-’97, 31st in ’97-’98, 25th in ’98-99, 21st in ’99-’00, 11th in ’00-’01, 13th in ’01-02 and ’02-’03 and 19th in ’03-’04.
Notre Dame Basketball Honored As One of Greatest College Basketball Programs
The Notre Dame men’s basketball program was recognized by Street & Smith’s as one of the top 100 basketball programs of all-time … Notre Dame’s program was rated the 39th best of all-time … Kentucky topped the list, followed by UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Arkansas, Connecticut and Cincinnati.
Luke Zeller Named To 2005 McDonald’s All-American Team
Incoming Notre Dame freshman Luke Zeller, who signed a national letter of intent in November of 2004, has been one of 24 players named to the 2005 McDonald’s All-American Team. The 6-11, 245-pound power forward/center will play in the McDonald’s All-American game at the Joyce Center on March 30, 2005. The game will be televised live on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. (EST).
The Washington, Ind., native was chosen to participate in this prestigious game, which showcases the top talent in the country. Selected from a pool of more than 2,500 nominees. Zeller will be a member of the West squad.
The McDonald’s All-American game will be one of two all-star contests for Zeller. He recently was selected to play in the EA Roundball Classic in Chicago, Ill., on March 22.
A four-year starter, Zeller has led his Washington Hatchets to a 20-2 mark in 2004-05. He is averaging 20.0 points and 8.8 rebonds in his senior season while shooting 58.9 percent from the field (162-275) and 34.1 percent (15-44) from three-point range. Zeller owns a 74.1 percent accuracy from the free-throw line (100-135). He also has dished off 74 assists, blocked 43 shots and made 25 steals.
Earlier this season, Zeller broke the Washington school boys scoring record and has led his teams to a 70-18 record (.795) while at the school. One of the top players at his position in the country, he is an excellent student. Zeller owns a 4.00 grade point average and will graduate as his school’s co-validictorian this spring. A candidate for Mr. Indiana Basketball honors, he was an all-state, all-sectional and all-conference honoree in his first thre seasons. As a junior, he averaged 19.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as a junior.
Fourteen Notre Dame players have been named to the McDonald’s All-American Team, including current Irish standouts Chris Thomas (2001) and Torin Francis (2002). The previous 12 honorees have been Tim Andree (1979), Ken Barlow (1982), LaPhonso Ellis (1988), Ryan Humphrey (1997), Tracy Jackson (1977), Tim Kempton (1982), Dan Miller (1998), John Paxson (1979), David Rivers (1984), Keith Robinson (1986), Tom Sluby (1980) and Barry Spencer (1980).
In five seasons, Irish head coach Mike Brey has had the opportunity to coach four McDonald’s All-Americans – Humphrey, Miller, Thomas and Francis.