Dec 21, 2003
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Chris Thomas scored a season-high 28 points, including 11 points in the final 3:18, as the Irish survived a scare by American University, winning 78-74 to end a two-game home losing streak.
American (3-6), which shot a season-high 63 percent, made 10 straight baskets in the second half, opening a 69-65 lead when Ingram hit a 10-foot jumper with 3:49 left. But the Eagles, who were shooting 68.3 percent at that point, missed their next three shots and turned the ball over once as Thomas scored nine straight points to give the Irish (4-3) a 74-69 lead.
The Eagles closed to 76-74 when Andre Ingram hit a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left. But Thomas made a pair of free throws with 0.5 seconds left to put the game away.
The Irish were outscored inside 30-14, but were 18-of-20 from the free-throw line while American was 6-of-7.
Chris Quinn added 19 points and five assists for the Irish, and Torin Francis had 13 points and seven rebounds. Notre Dame shot 51.1 percent, its second best outing of the season.
Ingram led American with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and Matej Cresnik had 21 points, making 5-of-6 3-pointers. Andres Rodriguez added 13 points and nine assists.
The Eagles hung close throughout the first half, leading 35-34 at halftime as Ingram scored 11 in the first half on 4-of-6 shooting.
The Eagles used an 11-0 run to take a 13-7 lead early. The Irish used three 3-pointers, a three-point play and a pair of baskets to move ahead 23-15 and led 34-28 on a 14-foot jumper by Thomas with 3:26 left in the half. But the Eagles held the Irish without a basket the rest of the half, using a 7-0 run to take the lead at halftime.
The Eagles made 10 straight baskets in the second half but couldn’t pull away as the Irish made 6-of-7 baskets during that span, including four 3-pointers.