Jan. 4, 2002
IRISH ITEMS FOR VILLANOVA GAME – Notre Dame begins defense of its 2000-01 BIG EAST West Division regular season championship this afternoon as the Irish (10-2, 0-0) open up conference play against Villanova (8-2, 1-0). This afternoon’s cross-divisional matchup will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.
This is the first meeting between the two schools since the 1999-2000 campaign. Notre Dame has lost seven straight to the Wildcats. Villanova is the only BIG EAST team the Irish have not beaten since joining the conference in 1995-96. Since becoming a league member, Notre Dame is 0-7 against the Wildcats. The last Irish victory in the series came on January 21, 1984 as Notre Dame prevailed 81-68.
Notre Dame’s is coming off of a 92-61 victory at home against Colgate one week ago. The contest marked the only appearance at the Joyce Center for the Irish during the month of December. Previously, the Irish had played five straight road games.
Head Coach Mike Brey has Notre Dame off to its best start since the 1985-86 campaign when that Irish team posted a 10-2 in its first 12 games before finishing the season with a 23-6 record. Notre Dame’s two losses this season are by a combined four points.
Villanova has won five straight and opened up BIG EAST conference play on Wednesday night (Jan. 2) with a 76-57 victory over Providence. This is the first game of the season for Villanova out of the Philadelphia, Pa. area. The Wildcats have a 7-1 home mark this season and the two road games they have played have been against Pennsylvania and Temple.
Notre Dame has played eight of its first 12 games on the road this season as this is just the fourth home game for the Irish in ’01-’02. The win over Colgate has pushed the Irish home record to 4-0 this season. Since the 1996-97 campaign, Notre Dame owns a 66-23 mark at the Joyce Center for a .742 winning percentage. All four of Notre Dame’s wins have been by 30-plus points.
Villanova owns a 12-10 advantage in the series. Notre Dame has posted just one win against the Wildcats in the last nine meetings between the two teams.
Following this afternoon’s contest, Notre Dame will be on the road for three consecutive outings as the Irish travel to West Virginia (Jan. 9), Pittsburgh (Jan. 12) and Syracuse (Jan. 14).
Notre Dame is outscoring its opponents by an average of 22.1 points per game and have recorded four wins this season of 37 or more points and seven wins of 27-plus points. The Irish are averaging 84.8 points per contest, while limiting their opponents to just 62.8 points per game. Notre Dame is shooting 49.8 percent from the field, while holding it opponents to just 38.4 percent field goal accuracy. The Irish are shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range while their opponents have connected on just 32.2 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.
Brey’s squad has been impressive from the charity stripe this season as the Irish have made 75.2 percent of their free throw attempts. Notre Dame has connected on 78.6 percent of its free throws (121-154) in its last six games, while its opponents have made just 65.7 percent of their free throw attempts. The Irish have made 82 more free throws and had 87 more attempts than their 12 opponents this season.
All five Irish starters are averaging double figures with senior Ryan Humphrey leading the team in both scoring and rebounding as he is averaging 20.9 points and 9.2 rebounds. In addition he ranks as the team leader for the second straight season in blocked shots (3.60). Humphrey recorded his fifth double double and 25th of his career against Colgate as he scored 21 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season and has netted 20-plus points in six of those contests.
Following his career-high 28-point outing against Colgate, Chris Thomas stands second in the Irish scoring column with a 17.0 points per game average. He leads the team in assists with a 6.6 average and is tied with teammate David Graves for first in steals (30). Graves stands third in both the scoring and rebounding columns, averaging 15.8 and 5.3, respectively. He also ranks second on the team with 32 assists.
Matt Carroll is averaging 11.8 points per game and 4.7 rebounds, while Harold Swanagan is averaging 10.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, both career bests. Swanagan missed the first game of his Notre Dame career against Colgate last Sunday after suffering a left sprained ankle in the second half against Alabama on December 27. Heading into the game, he had played in all 108 games of his career. Graves has played in all 109 games of his Irish career and is on pace to break the career games played mark of 124 held by Elmer Bennett (1988-92).
Swanagan may see some playing time off the bench against Villanova. Freshman Jordan Cornette is expected to once again get the start.
RECAP OF COLGATE GAME – Notre Dame recorded its sixth 30-plus point win of the season as the Irish returned home for the first time since November 28 in registering a 92-61 victory over Colgate. Coach Mike Brey’s squad outscored the Raiders 55-30 in the second half (after leading just 37-31 of at halftime) and limited the visitors to just 33.9 field goal percentage for the contest (29.4 percent in the second half). Chris Thomas scored a career-high 28 points, which included a six-for-nine shooting performance from three-point range. Ryan Humphrey tallied his fifth double double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Matt Carroll and David Graves added 14 and 13, respectively. Notre Dame shot 65.5 percent in the first as it missed just 10 of its 29 field goal attempts in the final 20-minute stanza. The Irish also converted 61.1 percent of their three-point attempts for the game and hit six-of-their eight attempts (75.0 percent) in the second half. Notre Dame only turned the ball over nine times in the contest and dished off 20 assists on its 30 baskets.
HEAD COACH MIKE BREY – Mike Brey is in his second year as the Notre Dame head coach and seventh in the collegiate ranks. He was named the 17th head coach in the program’s history on July 14, 2000 following five seasons (1995-2000) as head coach at the University of Delaware where he led the Blue Hens to an overall record of 99-52. In his first season with the Irish, he guided Notre Dame to a 20-10 record and 11-5 BIG EAST mark in claiming the league’s West divisional championship, the first conference title in school history. In addition, he helped Notre Dame earn an NCAA tournament berth for the first time in 11 seasons as the Irish advanced to the second round for the first time since 1989. Notre Dame’s 19 wins during the regular season under Brey a year ago represented the most wins by an Irish coach in his first season. He also became just the second coach in school history to take his team to the NCAA Tournament in his first year as a head coach and the only first-year coach to lead his team to a first-round victory. John Dee also made the tournament in his first season in 1964-65, but lost in the first round to finish 15-12. Brey has an overall record of 129-64 (.669) as a head coach and is 30-12 (.714) at Notre Dame. The 9-1 start by the Irish to start is the second time one of Brey’s teams has begun a campaign by winning nine of its first 10 games. He earned his first victory as Irish head coach coach on November 18 with a 104-58 triumph over Sacred Heart, which also marked the 100th of his coaching career and came in the 152nd game as a head coach. While at Delaware, Brey guided the Blue Hens to berths in three postseason tournaments. Under Brey, Delaware appeared in two NCAA tournaments (’98 and ’99) and played in the National Invitation Tournament in his final season (2000). Prior to his arrival in Newark, Del., he spent eight seasons (1987-95) on the Duke sidelines alongside Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and before that stint was an assistant coach at DeMatha High School under legendary coach Morgan Wootten from 1982-87.
FORMER AMERICA EAST COACHING FOES MATCH WITS IN BIG EAST – Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey and first-year Villanova coach Jay Wright are certainly no strangers matching coaching wits against each other. Both former coaches in the America East Conference (Brey at Delaware and Wright at Hofstra), the two faced each other 13 times from 1995-2000. Heading into this afternoon’s matchup, Brey is 9-4 against Wright.
THE CAPTAINS – Seniors David Graves, Ryan Humphrey and Harold Swanagan will serve as Notre Dame’s tri-captains for the 2001-02 campaign. Both natives of the state of Kentucky, Graves and Swanagan hail from Lexington and Hopkinsville, respectively. Graves averaged 13.8 points and 4.7 rebounds last season, while Swanagan netted 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds. Humphrey was the second-leading scorer and rebounder for the Irish a year ago with averages of 14.1 points and 9.0 rebounds.
SERIES RECORD – Villanova leads the series 12-10 and has won seven straight over the Irish. Notre Dame is winless (0-7) against the Wildcats since becoming a BIG EAST member in 1995-96. This is the first meeting between the two teams since a Villanova victory (86-69) in Philadelphia, Pa., on January 8, 2000. The Irish and Wildcats did not face each during the 2000-01 campaign. Notre Dame is 6-5 against Villanova at the Joyce Center. The last time the Wildcats visited the Joyce Center, they earned a 93-62 victory.
OFF TO A QUICK START – Notre Dame’s 7-0 start was its first since the 1979-80 campaign when the Irish were undefeated in their first seven games to achieve a No. 3 ranking before losing 86-80 on the road against second-ranked Kentucky and then dropping a 67-59 decision to San Francisco. That ’79-’80 squad finished the season with a 22-6 mark. Notre Dame’s was 9-1 for the first time since the 1985-86 campaign.
7-0 START IS THIRD BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY – Notre Dame’s 7-0 start equaled the third best in school history. The Irish also were 7-0 in 1976-77 and 1979-80. The two best starts by Notre Dame teams were in 1945-46 (13-0) and 1973-74 (12-0). Those Irish squads finished 17-4 and 26-3, respectively.
A PERFECT NOVEMBER – With its win against Army on November 28, Notre Dame finished the first month of the season with a perfect 6-0 slate. It’s the most wins ever by an Irish team in the month of November and the second time in the program’s history that Notre Dame has played six games during that month. The Irish played six games in the month of November during both the 1999-2000 and 1998-99 campaigns and finished with 4-2 and 2-4 marks, respectively.
WINNING BIG – Notre Dame’s margin of victory through the first 12 games of the season has been by an average of 22.1 points per game. Only three wins (UT-Chattanooga, Miami-Ohio and Canisius) have been decided by less than 27 points. Notre Dame’s victories have included a 42-point victory over New Hampshire, a 40-point win over Hawaii Pacific and 37-point margins against Monmouth and Army. Notre Dame has beaten seven teams by 27-plus points and nine of its 10 victories have been by 10-plus points. Its closest margin of victory was a one-point win (70-69) over Miami-Ohio in Oxford, Ohio on Dec. 8.
THE FRIENDLY CONFINES OF THE JOYCE CENTER – Notre Dame is 4-0 at the Joyce Center this season with an average margin of victory of 35.0 points per game. Irish teams own an all-time record of 401-118 (.773) at the Joyce Center in 33-plus seasons. Notre Dame is 32-8 (.800) in its last 40 home contests.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL – Notre Dame is averaging 19.00 assists and 12.00 turnovers for a 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio. Conversely, Irish opponents are averaging 12.83 assists per game and 15.42 turnovers for a 0.83 assist-to-turnover ratio. Notre Dame had fewer than 10 turnovers in nine games this season and committed just 11 turnovers or fewer in seven of 12 contests. The Irish committed just seven turnovers against Miami-Ohio, which included just one in the final 20 minutes of the contest. The seven turnovers were the fewest by an Irish team since a January 29, 1995 contest at the Joyce Center against Boston College when that Notre Dame team had just seven in a 74-68 victory. Including that game and the Miami-Ohio contest, that covered 199 contests. Against Canisius on December 22, Notre Dame had 10 first-half turnovers, but only committed four in the second half to finish the game with 14. In the Alabama game, the Irish turned the ball over 10 times in the first half and only three times in the final 20 minutes of the contest. In its last four games, the Irish are averaging 15.8 assists per game and just 10.8 turnovers for a 1.11 assist-to-turnover ratio.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS – Notre Dame’s Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic title marked the fourth time the Irish have captured the championship of an in-season tournament and the first in 10 years. Previously Notre Dame won the title of the Sugar Bowl Tournament in 1954, 1955 and 1992.
92 AND COUNTING – Heading into this afternoon’s game against Villanova, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 92 straight games, which dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time the Irish did not make a three-pointer was in a 101-70 loss to Connecticut in the Hartford Civic Center as Notre Dame finished 0-7 in the contest from three-point range.
CONFERENCE CALL – Notre Dame’s 13-game non-conference schedule features teams from 11 different conferences – America East, Big Ten, Conference USA, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-American, Northeast, Pacific West, Patriot League, Southeastern and Southern. The Irish will play teams from two of those conferences twice – the Patriot League (Army and Colgate) and SEC (Alabama and Kentucky).
STEPPING UP TO THE LINE – As a team, Notre Dame hit 68.8 percent of its free throw attempts during the 2000-01 campaign. This year, the Irish have connected on 75.2 percent from the charity stripe (197-262). Against Miami-Ohio, Notre Dame was 12-of-13 from the line for a season-best 92.3 accuracy. The Irish were just 2-9 (22.2) from the charity stripe in the first half against Alabama and then hit 16-of-17 (.941) of its free throw attempts in the secondhalf. In their last five games, the Irish are 131-166 for an 78.9 percent accuracy.
HOT STUFFERS – Ryan Humphrey and Harold Swanagan have been nearly unstoppable from the field as each is shooting better than 56.0 percent from the field. Humphrey has made 56.3 percent of his shots (74-128) from the field, while Swanagan has connected on 43 of his 66 shots attempts (65.2 percent). In three of the nine games Humphrey has played, he has shot 80.0 percent from the field. Humphrey was 12-of-15 from the field against Army and Hawaii-Pacific and eight-of-10 from the field versus Monmouth. Against Tennessee-Chattanooga, he hit eight-of-13 from the field for 61.5 percent.
SECOND HALF DOMINANCE – In the first half of its last five games, Notre Dame has struggled somewhat offensively and has trailed at halftime in four of those contests. In the second half, however, the Irish have outscored their opponents 239-170. Here’s a breakdown of Notre Dame’s performance in the second half of its last five games. Opponent Halftime Score Second Half Point Totals ND Shooting Pct (1st Half/2ndHalf)
at Indiana Trailed 30-40 45-36 .357/.593
at Miami-OH Trailed 35-41 35-28 .542/.444
at Canisius Trailed 33-35 51-38 .476/.522
vs. Alabama Trailed 23-41 53-38 .281/.533
COLGATE Led 37-31 55-30 .344/.655
BOMBS AWAY – Matt Carroll was six-of-six from three-point range against Tennessee-Chattanooga, matching the school record for three-point field goal percentage. Previously David Rivers and Martin Ingelsby each went five-for-five from three-point range. Carroll is the first Irish player to hit all six of his attempts in a game from downtown.
PICKING UP THE HAWAIIAN HARDWARE – Ryan Humphrey was named the Most Valuable Player of the Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic. He averaged 24.0 points and 6.3 rebounds, while shooting 73.7 percent from the field in helping the Irish to three wins and the tournament title. Humphrey registered a career-high 31 points against Hawaii Pacific in his first game of the season. Also earning all-tournament honors for the Irish were David Graves, Matt Carroll and Chris Thomas. Graves averaged 15.0 points per game, including nine three-point goals, and registered his fourth career double double against Tennessee-Chattanooga (13 points, 10 rebounds). Carroll averaged 16.7 points and hit 12 three-pointers, including a six-for-six performance against the Mocs. Carroll set a career-high and became the first Irish player in school history to hit six three-point goals in a game without a miss. Thomas averaged 10.3 points and 8.0 assists, including a career-high 13 in the Hawaii Pacific game.
FROM DOWNTOWN – The Irish are 93-of-219 (.425) from three-point range this season for an average of 7.75 three-point goals per game. The school record for three-pointers in a season is 287, set in 1999-2000, an average of 7.8 per game.
THOMAS IN CONTROL – Notre Dame’s 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio, can be attributed to the play of freshman points guard Chris Thomas who has already dished off 79 assists (6.58 per game) and has committed just 25 turnovers for a 3.16 assist-to-turnover mark. He is averaging a turnover every 16.56 minutes played. Thomas went two consecutive games (Cornell and Hawaii Pacific) without turning the ball over, while finishing with a total of 19 assists. He dished off a personal best 13 assists against the Sea Warriors, the second 10-plus assist performance of his career after dishing off 11 in his collegiate debut against New Hampshire.
MINUTEMAN – Heading into this season, Harold Swanagan had averaged just 18.3 minutes per game in the 97 career contests he had played in during his first three seasons. This season, Swanagan is playing an average of 27.7 minutes (a career best) – 9.4 more minutes than the average of his first three campaigns. His average would probably be higher had it not been for an injury in the season opener against New Hampshire which limited his playing time to just nine minutes in the contest. Against Indiana, he tied his career-high by playing 38 minutes of the contest.
GOING THE DISTANCE – Chris Thomas played all 40 minutes in back-to-back against Indiana and Miami-Ohio. He leads the team in minutes played (414) for an average of 34.5 minutes per game. He has played 30-plus minutes in all 12 games this season. Thomas played a season-low 30 minutes against DePaul on Dec. 1.
GOING THE DISTANCE II – David Graves ranks second on the team in minutes played (31.4) and has played the entire 40 minutes in back-to-back games against Colgate and Alabama. He scored 20-plus points in each of those contest, netting 20 versus the Golden Griffins and 21 against the Crimson Tide. He has played 30-plus minutes in six of 12 contests.
DOUBLE THE PLEASURE – Ryan Humphrey registered his fifth double double of the season and the 25th of his career against Colgate as he finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Two games prior to that outing, he scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win over Canisius. Humphrey also posted back-to-back double doubles in outings against Indiana and DePaul. He had 18 points and a career-high 16 boards versus the Blue Demons and then posted 23-point and 12-rebound performance against Indiana. Humphrey registered his first double double of the season against Hawaii Pacific (his first game of the season after missing the first two contests) as he scored a personal best 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He had 10 double doubles in 2000-01.
TERRIFIC TORRIAN – Sophomore Torrian Jones certainly ranks as Notre Dame’s most improved player of the year and has proven to be a real spark for the Irish in the lineup. The second-year player currently is averaging 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds. In outings against Monmouth and Army, he grabbed 16 rebounds in 36 minutes for an average of 2.3 rebounds per minute. In the Monmouth game, Jones tied his career-high (established against Hawaii-Pacific) with seven points and a career-best 10 rebounds. He played 22 minutes versus Miami and had six points and two rebounds in addition to an assist, steal and a block. Jones had the game-winning block at a three-point shot attempt by Miami-Ohio with four seconds to play in the game.
DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE – Harold Swanagan registered his second double double of the season and fifth of his career when he had 18 points and 16 rebounds against DePaul. Swanagan’s first double-double of the of the season was against UT-Chattanooga as he had 19 points and 10 boards. David Graves also has a double double to his credit as he had 13 points and 10 rebounds versus UT-Chattanooga.
MOUNTING THE COMEBACK – The Irish have trailed at the half in four of their last five games. In Notre Dame’s first seven games of the season, the combined time the Irish had trailed in those contests was under seven minutes. Heading into its eighth game of the season at Indiana, Coach Mike Brey’s squad had never trailed at the half. Against the Hoosiers, Notre Dame found itself trailing by at 10 at the break after falling behind by as many as 14 in the first half. The Irish never led in the contest, but was able to pull within one with 21 seconds to play before the final one-point outcome. Notre Dame briefly held a one-point lead against Miami-Ohio early in the contest, but did fall behind by as many as 13 in the first half. The Irish trailed by six at the intermission and gained the lead, which it never relinquished, with 6:19 left in the contest. Notre Dame trailed by two at the half against Canisius, but outscored the Golden Griffins 51-38 in the second half. Notre Dame fell behind by 20 in the first half against Alabama and trailed by 18 before beginning the second half with a 22-7 run. The Irish led by one twice in the second half (with 6:23 remaining and with 3:28 left in the contest), but fell short in its comeback attempt.
MAKING THE EARLY COMPARISONS – While it is early in his rookie season, Chris Thomas already has a couple of noteworthy accomplishments to his credit. With his 24-point effort against New Hampshire and 22-point performance in the Cornell game, he became the first Irish freshman to score 20-plus points in each of his first two games. He is also just the second Notre Dame player to record two consecutive 20-point outings in the first two games of his career. Only Austin Carr, who finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,560 career points, recorded back-to-back 20-point games in the first two games of his career. As a sophomore in his first season (1968-69), Carr opened up his career with point totals of 20 vs. Kings College, 26 vs. UCLA, 22 vs. Wisconsin and 30 vs. St. Louis in his first four games.
TRIPLE THE PLEASURE – It only took one game for freshman point guard Chris Thomas to do what no other Irish player had done previously in the program’s 96-plus year history – a triple double. Thomas scored 24 points, dished off 11 assists and made a school and Joyce Center record 11 steals against New Hampshire. The Irish rookie shot nine-of-18 from the field and five-of-nine from three-point range in 34 minutes of action.
GRAVES IN THE GROOVE – With classmates Ryan Humphrey and Harold Swanagan not in the game against New Hampshire, tri-captain David Graves had one of the top performances of his career as he tossed in a game-high 26 points (third highest point total of his career), grabbed five rebounds and made a career-high seven steals all in just 27 minutes of action on the court. He hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and was three-of-six from three-point range. Graves is averaging 15.4 points and 4.8 rebounds this season.
MACURA FINDS HIS MATCH – Irish head coach Mike Brey made the decision at the start of the preseason to have forward Jere Macura become more of an inside player, which has seemed to benefit the junior’s play as he registered back-to-back career-high outings in his first two games. Macura made the most of his two starts in the first two games of the season. Against New Hampshire, he had a then career-high 14 points, while also grabbing six rebounds in 26 minutes of action as he connected on six-of-nine shots from the field in the contest. Macura then followed that up with a career-high 16-point outing against Cornell. In addition, he also grabbed eight rebounds in the contest. Last season, Macura had just one double-figure game (10 points at Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J.) after scoring in double figures five times as a freshman. Currently, he is averaging 6.4 points and 3.9 rebounds.
STEALING THE SHOW – Notre Dame had a school record and Joyce Center record 26 steals against New Hampshire, bettering the old mark of 22 set against Vermont on Dec. 21, 1976. Chris Thomas led the Irish with 11 (a school record), while David Graves had a career-high seven steals which would have tied the old mark set by Ray Martin in 1974. Notre Dame already has 35 more steals than their opponents (87-52).
JORDAN GETS INTO THE ACT – While freshman Chris Thomas certainly made his mark in his first even games, Notre Dame’s other rookie, Jordan Cornette, also has played well. The 6-9 forward logged 29 minutes against New Hampshire in the season opener and had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. His playing time increased when Harold Swanagan went out of the game with a knee injury, which left the Irish with just two frontline players – Macura and Cornette. Against Cornell, he started in place of Swanagan and played 29 minutes while scoring three points and grabbing six rebounds. Cornette has played in nine contests (did not see action against Indiana) and is averaging 14.9 minutes per game. He scored six points and grabbed two rebounds in the loss to Alabama as he played 17 minutes, logging 12 in the second half. He started in place of Swanagan against Colgate and is expected to be in the starting lineup versus Villanova this afternoon.
TIMMERMANS STANDS TALL – After missing the first nine games of the season with a sprained right knee, sophomore Tom Timmermans got some important playing time last Sunday against Colgate when he logged a personal best 18 minutes and finished with career-highs of six points and four rebounds. His playing time prior to that game was one minute in Notre Dame’s 79-76 loss to Alabama in New Orleans at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic.
WING-ING IT – The perimeter play of outside shooters David Graves and Matt Carroll give the Irish a deadly three-point shooting arsenal. The duo made 127 (57.9 percent) of Notre Dame’s 219 three-point field goals in 2000-01 and attempted 323 of team’s 570 shots from beyond the arc. Carroll shot 40.9 percent from three-point range, while Graves made 37.8 percent of his attempts. Graves has made 32 of his 69 attempts this season (46.4 percent), while Carroll is 21-of-57 (36.8 percent). Add in freshman Chris Thomas to the mix because the Irish rookie is shooting 50.0 percent from behind the arc (31-62). Of the 93 three-pointers the Irish have made this season, the three have combined for 84 of those from beyond the arc (90.3 percent).
IRONMEN – David Graves has played in 109 games of his Irish career, while Harold Swanagan has missed just one game. Prior to the Colgate contest, he had played in 108 consecutive contests. Graves and Swanagan played in all 30 games during their freshman and junior seasons and saw action in all 37 in their sophomore season. Graves has earned 93 starting appearances during his three seasons, while Swanagan has made 61 starts.
BLOCK PARTY – Notre Dame set the single-season team record for blocked shots last season with 178 in 30 games for an average of 5.93 blocks per game. The previous mark of 145 was set by the 1991-92 Irish team. Notre Dame had 110 blocks during the 1999-2000 campaign. Ryan Humphrey led the Irish with 79 blocks, the second-highest individual single-season mark in school history and ranked 18th in the nationally with 2.7 blocks per game. Humphrey has blocked 36 blocks for an average of 3.60 blocks per game this season. As a team, Notre Dame has blocked 74 shots (6.17 per game).
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS – Notre Dame ranked 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense last season as Irish opponents shot just 39.3 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range. Only one opponent, Indiana, shot above 50.0 percent from the field against the Irish. Notre Dame’s field goal percentage defense has been impressive again this season as the Irish have held seven of their 12 opponents to under 37 percent shooting from the field. Notre Dame has held four opponents to under 32 percent – New Hampshire (31.5), Monmouth (31.7), Army (29.5) and DePaul (29.6). Alabama shot 50.8 percent from the field, marking the first time in 36 contests that an Irish opponent has shot better than 50.0 percent from the field.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE – Notre Dame’s defense has limited its opponents to just 62.8 points per game with only five opponents – Tennessee-Chattanooga, Indiana, Miami-Ohio, Canisius and Alabama – scoring more than 61 points. The Irish are outscoring their opponents by 21.3 points per game. The Irish played their first two games of the 2001-02 campaign at home and came away with convincing victories over New Hampshire (95-53) and Cornell (78-48). The 103-point opponent point total in the two games is the lowest by an Irish team to start the season since the 1985-96 campaign when Notre Dame allowed 105 points in wins over St. Joseph’s of Indiana (79-49) and Butler (87-56).
MR. INDIANA – Freshman point guard Chris Thomas is the first Mr. Basketball from Indiana to attend Notre Dame. He played in the McDonald’s All-American game and was a fourth team Parade All-American honoree. He led his Pike high school team to the Class 4-A state championship as a senior after averaging 23.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 steals. Thomas is the 12th McDonald’s All-American to attend Notre Dame.
MILLER TIME – Dan Miller, a 6-8, 223-pound guard/forward from Mt. Holly, N.J, has transferred to Notre Dame from the University of Maryland following three seasons. He has one year of eligibility remaining with the 2002-03 campaign. Miller was a former McDonald’s and Parade All-American at Rancocas Valley High School.
JERSEY #1 TO BE WORN FOR FIRST TIME AT NOTRE DAME – Freshman point guard Chris Thomas becomes the first player in the 96-year history of the Notre Dame men’s basketball program to wear jersey #1.
DANNY WHITE ADDED TO IRISH ROSTER – Head coach Mike Brey has added guard Danny White to the Irish roster for the 2001-02 season. White, the son of director of athletics Kevin White, played for Towson University, before transferring to Notre Dame in January of 2001. He will be eligible to play against Alabama on Dec. 27.
BROTHERLY LOVE – Junior Matt Carroll and freshman Jordan Cornette both have brothers who are playing their collegiate ball at Division I schools. Matt’s brother Pat is a freshman at St. Joseph’s, while Jordan’s brother Joel is a junior member on the Butler team. St. Joseph’s started the season in the top 10, but is now unranked, while the Bulldogs are undefeated and ranked 20th in this week’s AP poll.
IRISH INK THREE IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD – Notre Dame signed three players to national letters of intent on Nov. 14 – 6-3, 230-pound forward Rick Cornett (Country Club Hills, Ill./Homewood Academy), 6-10, 220-pound forward Torin Francis (Roslindale, Mass./Tabor Academy) and 6-1, 175-pound guard Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman). Cornett averaged 17.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked per game in 2000-01 while leading his prep team to the Illinois Christian School state title for the second consecutive year. In addition, he was a member of the Illinois Warriors AAU team which captured the 17-and-under national crown in 2001. A two-year starter at Tabor Academy, Francis averaged 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots last season as his squad captured its second straight New England Prep school championship. A member of the BABC AAU squad, he helped that team to a runner-up finish at the Nike Showcase in Orlando, Fla. Quinn averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds during his junior year. He set the single-season school assist record with 155 in 26 games while committing just 29 turnovers and was named the Ohio Capital Conference Central Division Player of the Year. All three have participated in the Nike All-America camps.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION – Notre Dame once again will receive tremendous exposure with seven nationally-televised games on CBS, ABC and ESPN. Four of those appearances will be at home at the Joyce Center. Last season, Notre Dame was featured nine times on national telecasts during the regular season, the most since the 1988-89 campaign.
Notre Dame will play twice on CBS (both at home against Kentucky and Providence), once on ABC (vs. Syracuse) and four times on ESPN (at Indiana, at Syracuse, home versus Georgetown and at Rutgers).
KEVIN WHITE RADIO SHOW – A weekly half-hour talk show featuring first-year athletics director Kevin White debuted Aug. 27 on Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000. “The Kevin White Show” is scheduled to air from 11:00-11:30 p.m. for 30 consecutive Sundays on ESPN radio (1000 AM in Chago, www.espnradio1000.com). The show also can be heard in 35 states. White will welcome to the show a series of guests and prominent figures associated with college athletics, including administrators, coaches and media members.
MEN’S BASKETBALL LUNCHEON DATES SET – Three luncheons featuring Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey and his Irish players have been scheduled during the 2000-2001 season: Monday, Dec, 3, 2000 (the day before the Notre Dame-Indiana game), Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 (the day before the Notre Dame-Kentucky game) and Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002 (the day before the Notre Dame-West Virginia game).
All three luncheons, which begin at noon, will feature Brey, members of his squad, video presentations and other special guests. The Dec. 3 luncheon also will feature Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw.
Tickets are $16 each. Tickets are available by mail by writing Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Checks should be made payable to University of Notre Dame. No telephone reservations will be accepted. For more information, call 219-631-5031.
SOLD-OUT – Notre Dame played its first home game to a sold-out Joyce Center (11,418) as the Irish played on a football weekend. The basketball contest was played following the pep rally. Last Sunday’s fourth home game of the season, which marked Notre Dame’s first return to the Joyce Center in more than a month, produced the season second sellout.