Jan. 27, 2006
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-7, 1-5) vs. (6/6) Villanova Wildcats (14-2, 5-1)
Saturday, January 28, 2006 * 6:00 p.m. (EST) Joyce Center (11,418) * Notre Dame, Ind.
Television: ESPN2 – Dave Pasch (play-by-play analyst), Rick Majerus (color analyst) and Stacey Dales-Schuman (sideline reporter)
Radio: Jack Lorri (play-by-play) and Jack Nolan (color analyst). Notre Dame Sports Properties originates the Notre Dame Radio Network which includes: ESPN Radio in Chicago (Chicagoland area and Midwest); WZOW 97.7 FM and 102.3 FM in South Bend, Ind.; ESPN 950 AM in Indianapolis, Ind.; WGL 1250 AM in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Northeast, Ind.; WLUV 96.7 AM in Rockford and DeKalb, Ill. and Beloit and Janesville, Wis.; WEFM 95.9 FM in Michigan City and Gary, Ind.; ESPN (WRSW) 1480 AM in Warsaw, Ind.; WAMW 107.9 FM and 1580 AM in Washington, Ind.; and www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
Notre Dame completes a two-game homestand this evening when it plays host to sixth-ranked Villanova at the Joyce Center … The Irish are coming off a heartbreaking 85-82 double-overtime loss to Georgetown on Tuesday night … That game marked the sixth contest this season that was decided by five points or less, while four games have been decided by six to 10 points … Notre Dame is 2-4 in games decided by five points or less and 2-2 in games where the outcome is six to 10 points … Villanova is the fifth ranked opponent the Irish have faced this season and third to visit the Joyce Center … In fact, tonight’s game is the second of four straight games against ranked opponents … Georgetown was 21st in the Associated Press ranking entering Tuesday night’s contest … Following tonight’s game against Villanova, Notre Dame faces back-to-back road outings at 13/9 West Virginia and at 22/23 Louisville … Notre Dame is 1-3 versus ranked foes this season … The Wildcats are the highest ranked opponent to play at the Joyce Center since last season when the Irish knocked off the previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Boston College Eagles 68-65 on Feb. 8, 2005 … The five BIG EAST losses suffered by the Irish this season are by a combined 20 points (4.0) and the seven losses overall have been by 37 points (5.3) … Prior to the start of the BIG EAST season, Notre Dame compiled a 9-2 record in non-conference games … Tonight’s matchup with Villanova is the only regular-season meeting between the two schools.
Always In It:
Notre Dame’s seven losses this season have been by a combined 37 points for an average of 5.3 points per game … The only double-digit loss was to North Carolina State (61-47) … The five BIG EAST losses are by a combined 20 points (4.0).
Notre Dame topped the 90-point mark for the second time in a BIG EAST game this season in its win over Providence on Jan. 14 … The 52 points scored in the first half were the most-ever by an Irish team in the first half of a BIG EAST contest … Notre Dame shot 56.9 percent from the field (its third game this season shooting better than 50 percent) and 61.9 percent from three-point range as the Irish connected on 13-21 from beyond the arc … It marked the best-ever three-point shooting percentage by a Notre Dame team in a BIG EAST game.
Colin Falls has scored in double figures in 12 games this season and netted 20-plus points in three of the last five contests and leads the team with four 20-point outings this season … In the last five games (vs. DePaul, Syracuse, Providence Marquette and Georgetown), he is averaging 21.4 points and is shooting 50.8 percent (33-65) and 49.1 percent (28-57) from three-point range … His 107 points over the last five games is his highest five-game point total in consecutive outings during his career.
Quinn Feeling Generous:
Senior co-captain Chris Quinn has been on a scoring tear of late, averaging 20.2 points per game (182 points) over his last nine outings, but he has been just as adept at helping his teammates find scoring opportunities … Over that same eight-game stretch, Quinn is averaging 7.8 assists (70 assists) … He ranks 21st nationally with 6.7 assists per game.
Chris Quinn’s 31-point outing against Providence was his second 30-point plus performance in the last four games … The last Notre Dame player to have multiple 30-point performances in a season was Chris Thomas during the 2003-04 as he also registered two outings with 30 or more points that season – 31 vs. Connecticut and 39 vs. St. Louis.
Notre Dame’s backcourt of Chris Quinn, Colin Falls and Kyle McAlarney had its most productive outing of the season in the win over Providence on Jan. 14 … The trio combined for 67 of the team’s 92 points and shot a combined 23-32 (.718) from the field and 13-19 (.684) from three-point range … Quinn was 11-14 overall and 5-7 from beyond the arc, while Falls connected on 8-12 and 5-9 from three-point range … McAlarney was 4-6 from the field and 3-3 from the three-point stripe.
Like A Lighting Rod:
All 12 of Kyle McAlarney’s points against Providence came in the first half … In fact, he scored Notre Dame’s final nine points of the first half (all from three-point range) in a span of 1:30 that enabled the Irish to hold a 52-40 halftime advantage.
Despite a 1-5 BIG EAST record, Notre Dame has made comeback in several contests and put themselves in position to win the game …
- at Pittsburgh (1/4): Notre Dame trails the Panthers by nine with 47 seconds to play in regulation and stages a furious comeback, outscoring Pittsburgh 13-4 … Notre Dame ties the score (77-77) with 14 seconds to play on Colin Falls’ three-pointer… In the first overtime, Pittsburgh leads by seven with 1:08 to play, but the Irish outsocre the Panthers 10-3 down the stretch … Chris Quinn scores Notre Dame’s final five points, including a game-tying layup with five seconds left in the first overtime session … In the second overtime, the Irish take a three-point lead (97-94) with 2:20 to play, but are held scoreless down the stretch.
- at DePaul (1/7): Notre Dame trails by 17 less than nine minutes into the contest and trail by 10 (37-27) at the break … Notre Dame erases the halftime deficit with three three-pointers by Colin Falls and a basket by Torin Francis to cut the deficit to one … Notre Dame ties the game with 10:54 remaining, but is never able to take the lead.
- vs. Syracuse (1/7): Syracuse opens up an 11-point lead (68-57) in the second half with 8:32 to play, but the Irish pull to within two (73-71) with 5:33 remaining, Syracuse opens up a seven-point lead with 1:46 left to play … The Irish close to within three with 45 seconds, but could get no closer.
- at Marquette (1/20): Notre Dame opens up an 11-point lead (30-19) with 5:01 remaining in the first half, but the Golden Eagles pull to within three (33-30) at the break … Marquette takes the lead 44-43 with 13:38 remaining and has a six-point advantage (54-48) with 9:29 to play … Notre Dame leads by three (59-56) with 7:09 to play and owns a two-point advantage (65-63) with 2:46, but the Irish are held scoreless down the stretch and the Golden Eagles pull out the victory on Steve Novak’s jumper with one second remaining.
- vs. Georgetown (1/24): The Irish fall behind by as many as 15 in the first half and trail (36-28) at intermission … The Hoyas hold a seven-point lead (63-56) with 3:13 remaining, but the Irish pull to within two (67-65) with nine seconds left … Georgetown converts one of two free-throw attempts to lead by four with eights seconds left in regulation … With one second remaining, Colin Falls nails a three-pointer and is fouled and converts the free throw to send the game into overtime … In the first overtime session, Georgetown jumps out to a three-point advantage, but Rick Cornett’s dunk with 40 seconds remaining knots the game at 76-76 – the third tie in overtime … Chris Quinn misses a layup at the buzzer as the teams head into overtime … Georgetown scores the first three points of overtime and go on to earn a three-point victory.
When The Going Gets Tough:
Down by nine points – 73-64 – with only 35 seconds on the clock at the end of regulation against Pittsburgh, things looked bleak for the Irish until they reeled off a 10-3 run on the strength of 10 points from senior guard Chris Quinn to tie the game at 77 when the horn sounded … In the first overtime period, the Irish found themselves on the wrong end of an 88-81 deficit with 1:28 to play, but clawed back with a 12-5 run, including eight points from Quinn, to send the game into a second extra frame before succumbing to the Panthers.
A ‘Quinn’tessential Performance:
Senior co-captain Chris Quinn’s career-high 37 points against Pittsburgh in Notre Dame’s double-overtime nailbiter on Jan. 4 was a single-game record for the Petersen Events Center (the Panthers’ home arena) … From the 4:02 mark of the first half – when the Irish were down 64-55 – Quinn scored 19 straight Notre Dame points to bring them within three, 77-74, with 14 seconds left in regulation and then picked up the assist on Colin Falls’ game-tying three-point field goal in regulation … On top of those gaudy scoring numbers, Quinn also tied a career-high by dishing out nine assists and chipped in six rebounds. Quinn also set personal bests in field goals (12), field goals attempted (23) and minutes played (49) in the contest … The 37 points also was a Petersen Events Center single-game record … The point total matched Pat Garrity’s 37-point performance against Seton Hall on Jan. 17, 1998 and Troy Murphy’s 37-point effort against Rutgers on Jan. 6, 2001 as the most points scored by an Irish player in a BIG EAST game … It also was the first 30-point plus effort by a Notre Dame player since Chris Thomas scored 39 points against Saint Louis in the second round of the NIT on March 22, 2004.
Opponents Take Notice:
Freshman Kyle McAlarney has scored double figures in four of the last nine Notre Dame games … The Irish rookie has played in all 17 contests and made two starts … He earned his first career start against IPFW when Chris Quinn missed the contest due to an ankle injury and was in the starting lineup against Marquette in the Irish’s most recent outing for his first-ever start in a BIG EAST game … McAlarney is the fifth-leading scorer, averaging 7.0 points (best among players coming off the bench) and shooting 50.0 percent from the field … McAlarney had scored in double-figures in four straight games before the Pittsburgh contest on Jan. 4 … The last freshman to have four consecutive double-figure scoring outings was Chris Thomas in 2001-02 when he had streaks of nine and seven straight games in double figures … McAlarney has averaged 8.3 points (66 points) and 5.5 assists (22 assists) in the last eight games and is shooting 22-38 from the field (.579) and is 15-29 (.517) from three-point range.
Points Are Plenty:
Notre Dame has topped the 80-point mark seven times in 17 games this season and scored 90-plus points on two occasions … The Irish are averaging 80.8 points in BIG EAST play … Their 85-49 (36 points ) victory over Fordham was their largest of the season … Last year, Notre Dame reached the 80-point plateau only once – an 88-73 win over Marist on Dec. 22, 2004 … The last time the Irish scored 80 or more points at least four times in one season was 2003-04, when they accomplished the feat six times but didn’t collect their fourth 80-point outing until their 20th game … The last team to score 80-plus points in four games faster than this year’s Notre Dame team was the 2002-03 Irish squad, who only needed nine games to reach the mark … The 36-point margin of victory against Fordam on Dec. 28 was the largest for an Irish team since a 44-point win against IUPUI on Nov. 18, 2002.
Just 17 games into the season, Notre Dame has already played in 10 games that have been decided by seven or fewer points … The Irish are 4-6 in those contests, with the losses coming against Michigan 71-67 on Dec. 3, at Pittsburgh 100-97 in double overtime on Jan. 4, at DePaul on Jan. 7 (73-67), at home against Syracuse (88-82) on Jan. 11, on the road at Marquette (67-65) on Jan. 20 and at home against Georgetown (85-82) on Jan. 24 … Notre Dame was involved in 15 games last season that were decided by seven points or less … The Irish finished with a 9-6 record in those contests.
Francis Ranks Among Best In Double-Doubles:
Senior co-captain Torin Francis’ 28 career double-doubles rank him 10th in school history … While LaPhonso Ellis’ record of 54 double-doubles may be out of reach, Francis is within striking distance of some of Notre Dame’s greatest players as he continues to climb the list.
With Chris Quinn out of the lineup against IPFW due to an injury, freshman Kyle McAlarney started at point guard for the Irish … Also in the starting lineup was another first-year player, Luke Zeller … Zeller has been in the starting rotation for the last four games since earning his first career start against Alabama … The last time two freshmen were in the starting lineup in the same game was during the 2001-02 campaign when Chris Thomas and Jordan Cornette made starts together six different times throughout the season.
Series Record vs. Villanova:
Villanova leads the series 14-12 … The two teams have played each other on 11 occasions as BIG EAST foes with the Wildcats winning nine of those contests … Villanova had won eight straight over the Irish before Notre Dame notched its first victory (an 82-78 decision) on Jan. 10, 2004 … The Irish claimed the first meeting between the two teams last season – a 78-72 decision at the Joyce Center – while Villanova earned a 65-60 win in Philadelphia.
Brey, Wright Know Each Other Well:
Mike Brey and Villanova coach Jay Wright are certainly no strangers matching coaching wits against each other … Both were former coaches in the America East Conference (Brey at Delaware and Wright at Hofstra), the two faced each other 13 times from 1995-2000 with Brey owning a 9-4 edge in their coaching series … Today’s game will be the 18th time the two have faced each on the hardcourt (Brey leads 11-6).
In the win over IPFW, Notre Dame had two players register double-doubles in the same game … Torin Francis recorded his third double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Russell Carter earned his first career double-double with an 11-point and 14-rebound effort … The 14 boards were a career high for Carter … Ironically, the last time two Irish players posted double-doubles in the same game was against the Mastodons in a 73-45 victory on Nov. 23, 2004 … In the contest, Chris Thomas finished with 10 points and 11 assists, while Dennis Latimore had 12 points and 11 rebounds … Against Syracuse on Wednesday night, Francis again recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Colin Falls registered his first career double-double as he netted 18 points and handed out a career-high 10 assists.
Francis Collects 800th Rebound:
With his nine rebounds against Pittsburgh on Jan. 4, Torin Francis became just the 11th player in Notre Dame history to grab 800 rebounds … Francis stands 10th on the all-time Irish rebounding charts … He moved ahead of Adrian Dantley (who finished his career with 843 rebounds in three seasons) following Tuesday night’s 12 boards against Georgetown … Francis currently has 847 career boards in 100 games.
Double The Pleasure:
Torin Francis’ 22 points and 13 rebounds against Michigan marked his second straight double-double following a 13-point and 11-rebound effort against North Carolina State … It also marked the third time in four games that he had grabbed 10-plus rebounds (he also had 14 in the season opener against Lafayette) … Francis only recorded back-to-back double-doubles once last season – 16 pts./10 rebs. vs. Pittsburgh and 21 pts./13 rebs. vs. Rutgers … He nearly had a double-double against Alabama finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds … His third double-double of the season came against IPFW as he netted a season-high 24 points (one off of his career high) and grabbed 11 rebounds … He registered his fourth of the season in Notre Dame’s win over Wofford as he scored 12 points and grabbed 11 boards and had his fifth against Syracuse with 13 points and 10 rebounds … Francis has scored in double figures in 59 career games, netted 20-plus points in 21 contests and registered 28 career double-doubles (good for 10th in school history).
The Irish All-Time:
The 2005-06 men’s basketball campaign marks the 101st season of basketball and 11th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference … In 100-plus seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1575-870 record for a .644 winning percentage … In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 85-89 (.489) record all-time in conference regular-season play.
Guard Chris Quinn and forwards Torin Francis and Rick Cornett are serving as captains for the 2005-06 season … It marks the second straight year that Francis and Quinn have served in that role … The duo are the 11th and 12th players to serve as two-time captains.
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of the last six years … The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned three consecutive NCAA tournament berths – 2001, ’02 and ’03 – followed by NIT appearances in ’04 and ’05 … This is the longest stretch of postseason appearances for Irish teams since making eight consecutive postseason trips from 1983-90 – (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1985-90).
Notre Dame posted a 7-1 record during the month of December … It marked the most wins under head coach Mike Brey that an Irish team had won during the month of December as well being the most games played … Notre Dame’s best record under Brey during the month of December was 6-0 during the 2002-03 campaign.
Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 452-138 record all-time for a .766 winning percentage … The Irish are 67-25 (.728) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s five seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 115-40 mark for a .742 winning percentage … Notre Dame’s 13-5 mark a year ago at home marked the seventh time in eight years that the Irish won 10 or more home games.
Welcome To The Club:
With his career-high 26-point performance against Michigan on Dec. 3, Chris Quinn became the 44th player in Notre Dame basketball history to score 1,000 career points … In 110 (he played in his 100th career game against Florida International) career outings, Quinn has scored 1,223 points for an 11.1 career scoring average.
Francis Gets To 1,000:
With his first basket of the game against Florida International on Dec. 10, Torin Francis became the 45th player in Notre Dame basketball history to score 1,000 points, joining teammate Chris Quinn who just a week earlier reached the mark against Michigan on December 3 … In 100 career games, Francis has scored 1,139 points and owns an 11.4 career scoring average.
Teammates Chris Quinn and Torin Francis became the 44th and 45th players, respectively, in Notre Dame basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau … The senior co-captains reached the mark on successive Saturday outings … Francis has 1,139 career points in 100 outings for an 11.4 average, while Quinn has scored 1,223 points in 110 games in an Irish uniform for a 11.1 career average … The last time two players from the same class scored 1,000 points was Notre Dame’s Class of 2002 – Troy Murphy and David Graves … Murphy had reached the 1,000-point mark in his sophomore season and finished his career with 2,011 points before leaving after his junior year for the NBA … In 94 career games, he averaged 21.4 points per game … Graves finished his career with 1,746 points and reached the 1,000-point mark in his junior year (2000-01), the same season that Murphy topped the 2,000-point mark.
Quinn and Francis In Elite Company:
Senior forward Torin Francis collected his 700th career rebound in the season opener verus Lafayette and reached the 800-rebound mark against Pittsburgh on Jan. 4 … With 1,139 points, he is the 10th player in Notre Dame history to collect 1,000 career points and 800 career rebounds, joining this select company:
- Adrian Dantley (2,223 points, 843 rebounds)
- Troy Murphy (2,011 points, 924 rebounds)
- Tom Hawkins (1,820 points, 1,318 rebounds)
- Bob Arnzen (1,665 points, 944 rebounds)
- Bob Whitmore (1,580 points, 1,043 rebounds)
- LaPhonso Ellis (1,505 points, 1,075 rebounds)
- Collis Jones (1,367 points, 884 rebounds)
- Ron Reed (1,153 points, 872 rebounds)
- Walt Sahm (1,077 points, 1,146 rebounds)
Francis’ classmate Chris Quinn dished out his 300th career assist in the win over Wofford … With 1,223 career points to his credit, the Dublin, Ohio, native is the eighth player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 points and hand out 300 assists, entering into this select company:
- Chris Thomas (2,195 points, 833 assists)
- David Rivers (2,058 points, 586 assists)
- Matt Carroll (1,850 points, 314 assists)
- David Graves (1,746 points, 340 assists)
- Elmer Bennett (1,488 points, 516 assists)
- John Paxson (1,366 points, 411 assists)
- Rich Branning (1,232 points, 466 assists)
Where Charity Prevails:
Notre Dame connected on a season-high 92.3 percent from the foul line against Marquette as the Irish hit 12 of their 13 attempts … Notre Dame’s previous season high was against IPFW (17-19 for 89.5 percent) … The Irish shot a season-low 53.8 percent in the third game of the season against North Carolina State …The 45 free throws attempted by Notre Dame in their win over Columbia constitute a high mark in the Mike Brey era … In that contest, Notre Dame was 28-45 (.622) … As a team, Notre Dame is 263-360 (73.1 percent), while opponents are 194-293 (66.2 percent).
Shuffling The Starting Five:
Through the first 17 games of this season, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has used five different starting lineups, each with varying results … Senior forward Torin Francis and junior guard Colin Falls have been mainstays in the Irish starting lineups …
Hitting The Boards:
Notre Dame owns a +3.4 advantage over its opponents on the boards as the Irish are averaging 38.6 rebounds per game, compared to just 35.2 by their opponents … Notre Dame has outrebounded 12 of their 17 opponents … The only teams to outrebound the Irish are Hofstra (40-39), Columbia (39-37), Pittsburgh (51-43), Marquette (33-27) and Georgetown (45-42) with the Irish owning a 2-3 record in those games … Notre Dame has outrebounded five opponents – Lafayette (43-29), North Carolina State (38-27), IPFW (40-29), Fordham (43-31) and Wofford (37-26) by double digits … Notre Dame had a streak of outrebounding opponents come to an end at six games against Columbia … The last time an Irish team outrebounded at least six straight opponents was a stretch that spanned the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons when they bested nine straight teams on the boards: Georgetown (51-29), Rutgers (35-28), Miami (Fla.) (31-29), Michigan (30-26), Xavier (40-31), BYU (29-22), Penn State (38-25), Wake Forest (37-32) and Sacred Heart (48-33) … The Irish held Fordham to 13 defensive rebounds, the lowest total in the Mike Brey era … In a testament to their team rebounding prowess, four Irish players – Torin Francis, Luke Zeller, Russell Carter and Rob Kurz – all had seven rebounds at DePaul to help the Irish win the rebound battle 36-35.
New Faces In Irish Starting Lineup:
When the starting five took the court for Notre Dame’s season-opening game against Lafayette, two of the Irish players were relatively new additions to the starting lineup … Junior guard Russell Carter made just his second career start, while sophomore Rob Kurz was in the starting lineup for the first time in his collegiate career and has started four games overall this season … In contrast, the other three Irish starters – senior guard Chris Quinn, senior forward Torin Francis and junior guard Colin Falls – carried 166 combined starts into the 2005-06 opener … Freshman Luke Zeller has six games, while another rookie, Kyle McAlarney was in the starting five against IPFW in place of injured co-captain Chris Quinn … Senior Rick Cornett earned his second career start, and first of the season, in the Columbia game … McAlarney earned a spot in the starting lineup against Marquette on Friday night.
For The Defense:
Notre Dame’s defense has yielded 1166 points in its 17 games for an average of 68.6 points per game … Last season, the Irish held opponents to just 64.1 points per contest, the fewest in head coach Mike Brey’s five seasons … Notre Dame has held three opponents to 50 points and under – (Hofstra, Florida International and Fordham).
Freshman Kyle McAlarney has played in all 17 games for the Irish and is averaging 6.7 points and 1.5 rebounds and is one of Notre Dame’s top scorers off the bench … In five of the last 10 games, he has scored in double figures, netting a career-high 16 points against Niagara, 14 points versus Columbia, 10 points against Fordham and 12 in the wins over Wofford and Providence … McAlarney enjoyed a stellar shooting performance in consecutive outings against Niagara, Columbia, Fordham and Wofford as he shot a combined 17-24 (.708) from the field and 12-19 (.632) from three-point range.
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule features five teams – Connecticut, Louisville, Alabama, West Virginia and Syracuse – that began the season ranked in the top 25 … In addition, Notre Dame will take on eight teams that played in the 2005 NCAA Tournament – North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville and Connecticut.
Prior to the Marquette game, guard Russell Carter had been in the starting lineup for 16 staight games dating back to last season … He had been in the starting lineup for each of Notre Dame’s first 15 contests and earned his first career start in the first round NIT matchup against Holy Cross in what was the final game of the season … Carter has posted eight double-figure scoring efforts in 2005-06, including a stretch of three in four outings with 11 points againstAlabma, Florida International and IPFW wins … He also has netted 10-plus points in seven of the last 13 games … Carter is averaging 8.9 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Freshman Luke Zeller has performed well for the Irish in his first 17 collegiate games and is averaging 4.4 points and 4.5 rebounds … He keyed Notre Dame’s victory over Hofstra when he scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds (eight in the second half) and was instrumental in the Irish second-half comeback against Michigan with two three-pointers as he finished with eight points and grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of action … He was held scoreless and without a rebound in the first half against Niagara, but responded with four points and seven boards in the final stanza … He chipped in three offensive rebounds en route to a five-board night against Columbia … Against Fordham, he scored a career-high 11 points and was one rebound away from being the first Notre Dame freshman to record a double-double since Torin Francis in 2002-03 … Against Pittsburgh, he turned in his second consecutive 11-point effort to help the Irish battle the Panthers in a double-overtime shootout … In the loss to Syracuse , he matched his career-high as he grabbed nine boards.
Notre Dame shot a then season-best 55.2 percent from the field against Niagara on Dec. 21 … The Irish connected on 32-58 from the field and were 17-28 (.607) in the second half … It was also the best a Notre Dame team has shot since February 22, 2003 versus Virginia Tech (98-76 Irish victory) when that Irish squad was 36-65 from the field for 55.4 percent … The Irish connected on 56.9 (29-51) percent from the field against Providence on Jan. 14 marking the third game this season that they have shot better than 50.0 percent … Notre Dame shot 54.7 (29-53) percent against Fordham.
“B” Is For BIG And BIG EAST:
With its membership of 16 teams, The BIG EAST Conference is the largest Division I conference in the nation … The new additions are Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida.
Irish Set For Three Repeat Games In BIG EAST Play:
Notre Dame will play DePaul, Marquette and Providence twice (both home and away) as part of its BIG EAST Conference regular-season 16-game slate during the 2005-06 campaign … Playing under a straight divisional format with 16 teams this year, Notre Dame will play 10 opponents once, but will not face either Cincinnati or St. John’s during the regular season.
In Mike Brey’s five-plus seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 45-38 (.542) … That includes a 30-27 mark (.526) in true road games and a 15-11 (.577) record in neutral site contests.
BIG EAST Distinction:
Notre Dame and Syracuse are the only two schools to post winning conference records in BIG EAST play 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 Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Brey has led Notre Dame to a 50-36 (.581) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-5 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 52-41 (.559) 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.
Not So Lucky:
Notre Dame is the only team from one of the six major conferences to have a winning record in league play each of the past two seasons yet fail to make the NCAA Tournament … 20 teams from the Big Six (ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) had a winning record in both 2003-04 and ’04-05, while 19 other schools made the tournament both seasons.
Keeping It Close:
In the 63 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s four seasons, only 16 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 436 points for an average of 6.0 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 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.
Down To The Wire:
Five of Notre Dame’s 29 games in 2004-05 were decided by a single point … The Irish were 3-2 in those contests … Notre Dame teams are 9-4 overall during Mike Brey’s tenure in one-point games … Thirteen of Notre Dame’s 17 BIG EAST contests last season were decided by less than 10 points.
Irish Among Best In Wins Average:
Over the last six years, Notre Dame is one of 25 teams nationally that has averaged better than 20 wins per season … The Irish have compiled a 123-71 record for a .634 winning percentage after finishing 22-15 (1999-2000), 20-10 (2000-01), 21-11 (2001-02), 24-10 (2002-03), 19-13 (2003-04) and 17-12 (2004-05).
224 And Counting:
Heading into tonight’s game against Villanova, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 224 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign … The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Jan. 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game.
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 Jan. 25, 2003.
Threes Fall For Falls:
In 78 career outings, 193 of Colin Falls’ 225 field goals have come from three-point range … That translates into 85.8 percent … Sixty-eight of his 77 field goals this season have come from three-point range (81.8) … Overall during his career, he has connected on 193 of 473 three-point attempts for 40.8 accuracy from the field.
Another Way To Get His Three Points:
While Colin Falls is considered Notre Dame’s three-point threat and leads the team in three-point field goals, the junior sharpshooter has also found another way to get his three points … In 2004-05, Falls was fouled a total of 16 times while shooting from beyond the arc and converted on 43-48 (.896) of his free-throw attempts … This season, he was fouled twice in the Hofstra game and made 4-6 from the charity stripe … He was also fouled while shooting from beyond the arc versus DePaul and made 2-3 from the line … Falls was fouled against Providence and Marquette and connected on all three of his free throws in both of those contest … Against Georgetown, he nailed his first-ever four-point play to send the game into overtime … For the season he is 13-16 (.813) from the line after being fouled shooting a three-pointer.
Kurz Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Honors:
Rob Kurz was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the week of Nov. 21 after finishing with career bests of 18 points and eight rebounds in Notre Dame’s 84-66 win over Lafayette … Kurz played a career-high 25 minutes in the game and shot 8-10 from the field.
Francis Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Honors Twice:
Senior Torin Francis was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll in consecutive weeks … He earned the recognition for the first time the week of Dec. 12 after averaging 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in wins over Alabama and Florida International … Against the Crimson Tide, he scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds and followed up that performance with 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots, two steals and two assists versus the Golden Panthers … Francis also was named to the honor roll this week after scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against IPFW in Notre Dame’s 65-63 win.
McAlarney’s Garners BIG EAST Honor Roll Recognition:
Freshman Kyle McAlarney’s performances against Niagara and Columbia earned him recogntion on the BIG EAST Honor Roll for the week of Dec. 27 … In the two wins, the rookie averaged 15.0 points as he scored 16 against Niagara on six-of-eight shooting from the field, including a four-of-seven performance from three-point range … Against Columbia, he netted 14 points as he hit five of his eight field goal attempts and was three-of-six from three-pint range … In the two games, he shot a combined 11-16 (.688) from the field and 7-12 (.583) from three-point range.
Quinn Earns BIG EAST Honor Roll Honors:
Despite an 0-2 week for the Irish, Chris Quinn was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after averaging 26.5 points, 9.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in losses to Pittsburgh and DePaul … In the double-overtime loss to the Panthers, he set career highs in points (37), field goals (12), field goals attempted (23) and minutes played (49) and tied his career-high with nine assists … He scored 16 straight points in the contest and then dished off an assist on Colin Falls’ three-point goal that sent the contest into overtime … Three days later, he poured in 16 points and handed out nine assists to lead an Irish comeback that ultimately fell short … His recognition on the Honor Roll marked the fifth such honor for the Irish this season … Torin Francis has garnered the recognition twice, while Rob Kurz and Kyle McAlarney have each been named to the team once.
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 team features two McDonald’s High School All-Americans – Torin Francis and Luke Zeller … A total of 15 players who have donned an Irish uniform have been McDonald’s All-Americans … Zeller, a freshman from Washington, Ind., is the most recent McDonald’s All-American, following Francis who earned McDonald’s accolades in 2002 … Francis also was named the recipient of the Morgan Wootten Award as the McDonald’s National Boys Player of the Year … Zeller played his McDonald’s All-American game at the Joyce Center on March 30, 2005 … Former Irish players who were also McDonald’s All-Americans include: Tim Andre (1979-83), Ken Barlow (1982-86), LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92), Ryan Humphrey (2000-02), Tracy Jackson (1973-77), Tim Kempton (1982-86), Dan Miller (2001-03), John Paxson (1979-83), David Rivers (1984-88), Keith Robinson (1986-90), Tom Sluby (1980-84), Barry Spencer (1980-84), Chris Thomas (2001-05), Torin Francis (2002-present) and Luke Zeller (2005-present).
When former standout Chris Thomas (2001-05) entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2001, he became the first Mr. Indiana Basketball to play for the Irish. Thomas, who graduated in May of 2005 and finished as the school’s career leader in nine categories, earned the honor in 2001. History repeated itself four years later when current freshman Luke Zeller copped the state’s top honor in 2005.
Irish Sign Two In Early Signing Period:
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed two players during the early signing period on Wed., Nov. 9 – Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) and Tory Jackson (Saginaw, Mich.), Harangody, a 6-8, 250-pound forward attends Andrean High School in Merrilville, Ind … As a junior, he led his team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.2 points and 12.3 rebounds … He ranked 11th and third, respectively, in scoring and rebounding among all Indiana players in his junior season … Named the 2005 Post Tribune Northwest and The Times Northwest Player of the Year, he led Andrean to a 21-3 record and to the Gary (Ind.) Class 3A sectional championship … Jackson, a 5-10, 175-pound guard, was named the ’05 Michigan Class C Player of the Year and was a unanimous all-state selection … He paced his Buena Vista High School team to a 17-6 record in ’04-’05 while averaging 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals … This past summer, he played for the Blue Team which garnered the silver medal at the ’05 Youth Development Festival as his squad finished with a 3-1 mark.
All In The Families:
Sophomore Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a sophomore on the Duke women’s basketball team … Freshman Ryan Ayers’ father Randy is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic … He formerly was the head coach at Ohio State and with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Omari Isreal Leaves Program:
Junior forward Omari Isreal left the Irish basketball program on November 11 and will transfer to Loyola College … As a sophomore last season, he averaged 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds … He missed the 2003-04 campaign, his freshman season, while recovering from knee surgery for an ACL injury suffered in the final season of his prep career.
Kevin White Radio Show:
Look for the Kevin White Radio Show on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago … The hour-long show, which debuted on Sept. 4, is in its sixth season and will run for 30 weeks throughout the year.
Guests regularly will include familiar names from all facets of college athletics … The show features White, Notre Dame’s director of athletics, and ESPN 1000’s Dave Juday … It can be heard regularly at 11:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday evenings … ESPN 1000 in Chicago can be heard in more than 30 states around the country.
Sponsors of the show include Gatorade, Xerox, adidas, Comcast, McDonald’s, Chase, Coca-Cola, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jordan Industries and Sayers Computer Source.
Notre Dame Basketball Radio Show:
Logan’s Roadhouse Restaurant in Mishawaka will once again be the site of the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Show during the 2005-06 season featuring Irish coach Mike Brey and a player each week … The 30-minute radio show will be broadcast live on Monday nights on WZOW 97.7 FM and 103.3 FM and will run 10 times during the year beginning at 7:00 p.m. … The remaining dates of the show are Jan. 23, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27 … Jack Nolan once again will serve as the show’s host.
Inside Irish Basketball With Mike Brey:
The University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Sports Properties once again will combine to create “Inside Irish Basketball with Mike Brey.” … The show will be available to network and cable affiliates across the country in 2005-06 … It will air throughout the season and will be produced and distributed by Notre Dame Sports Properties … Jack Nolan of WNDU will once again serve as the host … Nolan and Irish head coach Mike Brey will recap games from the previous week, in addition to previewing upcoming opponents on the schedule … The remaining airing dates for the show are: Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28, Mar. 7 and Mar. 14.
Irish Successful On And Off The Court:
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team is enjoying success both on the court and in the classroom this season … The 12 members of the Irish basketball program combined to produce a 3.244 grade-point average during the 2005 fall semester – its highest GPA ever and the fourth straight semester the team has been over a 3.000 grade index … It also was the first time that the Irish had a team average of better than 3.200.
Nine members of the team were over a 3.000 grade-point average – Ryan Ayers (3.250), Russell Carter (3.083), Rick Cornett (3.250), Colin Falls (3.333), Zach Hillesland (3.500), Chris Murphy (3.400), Kieran Piller (3.600), Chris Quinn (3.833) and Luke Zeller (3.400).