March 15, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Torin Francis had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Quinn and Colin Falls added 15 points each, leading Notre Dame to a 79-69 victory over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night in the National Invitation Tournament.
Notre Dame opened the second half with an 11-4 spurt, with Francis giving the Irish a 49-39 lead on a three-point play with 17:34 left. The Commodores cut the lead to five points three times, but could get no closer as the Irish repeatedly ran down the shot clock. Notre Dame extended the lead to 10 points again when Quinn dribbled the clock down then drove in for the basket to make it 73-63 with 2:44 left.
The Irish (16-13) play the winner of Thursday night’s game between UTEP and Michigan in the next round. The Commodores, which advanced to the NIT quarterfinals last year, finish the season 17-13.
The 23 points for Francis was a point off his season high, set against IPFW in December, and two points off the career high he had against Arizona in the NCAA tournament in 2003.
Falls hit his fourth 3-pointer with 18:41 left the second half to break the school record of 99 3-pointers made by Matt Carroll during the 2002-03 season. He was 4-of-8 from 3-point range and finished with 13 points. The Irish shot 55 percent for the game.
Derrick Byars led Vanderbilt with 18 points, Julian Terrell added 16 points and Dan Cage 11. Shan Foster, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer at 16.3 points a game, was held to a season-low four points on 1-of-9 shooting, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range.
The Commodores led by as much as five points midway through the first half. The Irish used a 13-2 run, making four 3-pointers, to move ahead 28-24 and eventually extended the lead to 35-27. The Irish led 38-35 at halftime.