March 11, 2002
IRISH ITEMS FOR THE NCAA TOURNAMENT – The Notre Dame men’s basketball team is back in the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. The Fighting Irish (21-9) finished second in the BIG EAST West Division and advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the first time in school history.
Notre Dame heads into the postseason coming off its third consecutive 20-win season. The last time Notre Dame combined for three straight 20-win campaigns was during the 1986-87, 1987-88 (20-9) and 1988-89 (21-9) campaigns. The Irish finished 20-10 a year ago and 22-15 in 1999-2000. Notre Dame reached the 20-win mark during the regular season for the first time since 1988-89 when that Irish team headed into the NCAA tournament with a 20-8 mark before finishing with a final 21-9 record.
Notre Dame is the No. 8 seed in the South Region and will face No. 9 seed Charlotte (18-11) in the first round. The winner of contest will move on to the second round to meet the winner of the matchup between No. 1 seed Duke (29-3) and No. 9 seed Winthrop (19-11).
The first round matchup between the Irish and 49ers will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
The Irish are making their second straight NCAA tournament appearance under second-year head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame played in the NCAA tournament last year after an 11-year hiatus, this will be the first time the Irish have participated in the South regional.
Notre Dame owns an overall record of 26-29 (.473) in NCAA tournament competition. Last year, the Irish advanced to the second round after an 83-71 victory over Xavier in the opening round of the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Mo.
The Irish head into the NCAA Championship having won nine of its last 13 games. Notre Dame posted an 8-4 record in BIG EAST West Divisional games during the regular season, which included three series sweeps over West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Seton Hall. The three regular-season sweeps are the most ever in a single season by an Irish squad since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96.
Since the BIG EAST instituted divisional play with the start of the 2000-01 campaign and a 12-team tournament format last year, the Irish are the only league team to earn a first-round bye both this year and last. Notre Dame also is the only league team to register 10-plus wins in each of the last two seasons. Brey’s squad has combined for a 21-11 mark over the past two years for a .656 winning percentage in regular season play. The Irish claimed the BIG EAST West Division crown last year with an 11-5 conference mark. Only Notre Dame and Boston College have qualified for the NCAA tournament each of the last two years.
Notre Dame has been stellar on the road this season with an overall 8-4 road mark playing opponents on their home floor. The Irish are 4-2 in neutral site contests, giving them an overall 12-6 mark in games played away from the friendly confines of the Joyce Center. Brey’s squad was 5-3 overall in BIG EAST road games during the regular season, with its three losses coming at Syracuse (56-51), Rutgers (65-62) and St. John’s (84-81).
The 10 losses the Irish have suffered this season are by a combined 42 points for an average margin of defeat of 4.20 points per game. The 83-73 setback against Georgetown was the largest loss of the season. Prior to that loss, Notre Dame’s five other defeats had been by a combined total of 18 points.
Four Notre Dame players are averaging double figures with senior Ryan Humphrey, a first-team all-BIG EAST selection, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding as he is averaging a double double -19.0 points and 10.8 rebounds. Humphrey heads into Thursday night’s quarterfinal contest having recorded a double double in Notre Dame’s last nine games, which currently ranks as the longest streak nationally according to STATS Inc. He has had 14 double doubles in the last 16 games and in 20 contests overall this season. His nine consecutive double doubles is his longest streak of the season. Humphrey had back-to-back double doubles in Notre Dame’s two BIG EAST tournament games as he scored 21 points and grabbed 13 boards against St. John’s and 21 points and 16 rebounds against Connecticut. He has scored 20-plus points in 12 games and has grabbed 10-plus boards in 21 games. Humphrey had his streak of 21 consecutive games in double figures snapped against Rutgers on Feb. 6 as he finished with eight points and 14 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Chris Thomas, the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Year, has dished off 10 or more assists in nine games this season. He has reached double figures in the assist column in seven of the last 10 contests. Thomas garnered BIG EAST all-tournament team honors after averaging 19.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Thomas has seven double doubles, which includes one triple double this season. He stands second in the scoring column with a 16.3 scoring average and leads the team in assists (7.68), steals (2.197) and minutes played (38.0). Thomas has dished off six or more assists in 23 games this season.
David Graves has been back in the starting lineup in Notre Dame’s last six outings after being in the starting lineup for the first 18 games of the season. Following the Georgetown game, he did not start the next seven contests prior to Notre Dame’s second meeting with West Virginia. He is averaging a career-high 14.0 points per game and 4.9 rebounds, both third best on the team. Graves has scored 20-plus points in seven games this season. He also ranks second in both the assists (90) and steals (52) columns. Graves averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in the seven games coming off the bench.
Matt Carroll is coming off back-to-back 20-point outings in the BIG EAST Tournament – a first in his career. He scored 20 points in the win over St. John’s and loss to Connecticut. He returned to the lineup against St. John’s after missing the Miami game (the first time in 93 career games he did not play) with a sprained foot. He came off the bench against St. John’s which marked the first time in 65 games that he did not start. Prior to his injury against the Hurricanes, he had made 64 starting appearances. He is the fourth Irish player averaging double figures scoring with a 13.7 average, in addition to 4.5 rebounds per contest.
Harold Swanagan is averaging career bests of 7.9 points and 6.7 rebounds. He has grabbed eight or more rebounds in 11 games this season and has had 10-plus rebounds in four contests.
Freshman Jordan Cornette has been in the starting lineup in six games this season and is averaging 2.9 points and 3.4 rebounds. He had eight points and matched his career best with 10 rebounds in the victory over West Virginia which marked the second 10-plus rebounding effort for the rookie this season.
Torrian Jones has earned nine starts this season in the 31 games he has played. Jones had his best outing in an Irish uniform against Miami, Fla. as he played a career best 29 minutes and finished with a personal best 17 points. He is averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Tom Timmermans has given the Irish significant minutes off the bench in Notre Dame’s last 13 games and is averaging 2.0 points and 2.1 rebounds.
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. This season, he guided the Irish to a second-place finish in the West Division standings as Notre Dame finished with a 20-10 league mark. His squad also advanced to the school’s first-ever appearance in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals. In addition, he helped Notre Dame earn an NCAA tournament berth for the first time in 11 seasons in 2000-01 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 140-72 (.660) as a head coach and is 41-20 (.683) at Notre Dame. He coached in his 200th career game against Seton Hall on Saturday, Jan. 26. The 9-1 start by the Irish to begin the season marked 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 on Nov. 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.
BREY HAS THE FORMULA FOR BIG EAST SUCCESS AT NOTRE DAME – Since his arrival to Notre Dame, second-year Irish mentor Mike Brey has led Notre Dame to a 21-11 record in BIG EAST regular-season games for a 65.6 winning percentage and 1-2 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 22-13 (.629) against league foes. The Irish won the BIG EAST West Division title a year ago by fashioning an 11-5 record (the most conference wins in its six-year tenure in the league). Under Brey, Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST school to win 10-plus league games each of the past two seasons. Prior to his arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams had a 35-53 (39.8 percent) regular-season record in its conference games since 1995-96.
BREY MAKES NOTRE DAME HISTORY – Mike Brey guided the Irish to their 21st win of the season against St. John’s and is the first head coach in the program’s history to lead his teams to back-to-back 20-win campaigns in his first two seasons. Brey’s squad fashioned a 20-10 record in 2000-01. In his last three seasons at Delaware (where he spent five seasons), Brey guided the Blue Hens to the 20-win plateau during the 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000 campaigns. In seven years as a head coach, five of his seven teams have won 20 or more games. His squads have reached the 20-win mark in each of the last five years.
BREY NO STRANGER TO NCAA TOURNAMENT SUCCESS – Mike Brey is no stranger to the NCAA tournament. He has a 1-3 record in the NCAA tournament and will be coaching in his 41st NCAA tournament game when Notre Dame faces Charlotte. In 10 coaching appearances he is 32-8 (.800) with six final four appearances and two national titles as an assistant coach. Brey reached the NCAA tournament seven times as an assistant at Duke from 1988-95. In that span, Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils posted a 31-5 mark which included final four berths 1988, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92 and ’94. From 1988-92, Duke reached the the final four in five consecutive seasons and compiled a 25-3 record, including back-to-back national titles in 1991 and ’92. As the head coach at Delaware, he guided the Blue Hens to NCAA tournament berths in 1998 and ’99.
BREY VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS – As a head coach at both Notre Dame and Delaware, Mike Brey has coached in 21 games against ranked opponents. The Irish are 3-5 versus ranked foes this season with wins coming against Pittsburgh twice and Miami. The Irish faced eight ranked opponents in 2000-01 and were 4-4 versus those foes.
BREY IN OVERTIME GAMES – Notre Dame’s epic quadruple-overtime battle with Georgetown marked the seventh time in Mike Brey’s six-plus seasons that he had coached an overtime game. It was the first four- overtime game he had been involved in as a head coach. After starting out his career 0-2 in overtime games, Brey has now won five straight overtime contests for an overall 5-2 mark.
INSTANT CLASSIC – Shortly following the Irish’s four-overtime victory between Notre Dame and Georgetown, many were calling it one of the best games thus far of the 2001-02 season. Some even have mentioned it as one of the greatest college games of all-time. Certainly, ESPN agreed as the contest was replayed on ESPN Classic just six days later.
BIG EAST BONANZA – Notre Dame had three players earn BIG EAST all-conference honors, the most in a single year since the Irish became league member. Ryan Humphrey became the third different Notre Dame player to earn first-team honors, while Chris Thomas garnered third-team recognition and David Graves picked up honorable mention honors. Humphrey’s selection to the team marked the fifth time in the last six seasons that Notre Dame has produced a first-teamer – the most first-teamers in the six-year stretch. Thomas was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, marking the second time in four years an Irish player has won the award. Notre Dame became the first school in BIG EAST history to produce the year’s top rookies in both men’s and women’s basketball as Irish freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast was the female recipient of the rookie award.
IRISH THRIVING ON THE ROAD – Notre Dame played just 13 home games this season, but the Irish have found life on the road to be rather friendly. The Irish are 8-4 in contests played on an opponent’s home floor and are 4-2 in neutral site contests for an overall mark of 12-6 away from the Joyce Center. A year ago, Notre Dame was 6-4 on the road in Mike Brey’s first season and 2-2 in neutral site games for an overall 8-6 record. In two seasons under Brey, Notre Dame has a 14-8 (.636) road mark and 6-4 (.600) record in neutral site contests. Over the past two seasons, Notre Dame is 20-12 (.625) playing away from home.
SERIES RECORD VS. CHARLOTTE – This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Charlotte is a member of Conference USA. This will be the second team from that Conference that the Irish will face this season. On Dec. 1, 2001, Notre Dame beat DePaul 82-55 at the United Center in the Dell Classic4 Kids. Irish teams are 151-103 versus Conference USA schools.
SERIES RECORD VS. WINTHROP – A second-round matchup between the two schools would be the first-ever.
SERIES RECORD VS. DUKE – Duke leads the series 18-2 and has won 10 straight over the Irish. The last meeting between the two schools was at the Great Alaska Shootout in Ankorage, AK with the Blue Devils winning 111-82. Notre Dame is 22-54 all-time versus the teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
COMMON OPPONENTS – Notre Dame-Charlotte: The teams faced three common foes – Indiana, Miami (Fla.) and DePaul. The Irish had a 2-1 record against those opponents, while the 49ers were 2-2 (lost to both Indiana and Miami and defeated DePaul twice).
OVER THE CENTURY MARK – Notre Dame’s 116 points in the win against Georgetown represented the most by an Irish team in BIG EAST play and the most since the 117 scored against Davidson in a 117-74 victory on Feb. 7, 1976. It was the first time Notre Dame had reached the century mark under Mike Brey since opening the 2000-01 campaign by scoring 100-plus points in its first two games. The Irish have scored 100 or more points three times under Mike Brey.
SIXTY SOMETHING – Notre Dame shot a season-high 66.7 percent against Pittsburgh on Jan. 30 in its 89-76 victory as the Irish connected on 34 of their 51 shot attempts. Notre Dame shot 67.7 percent in the first half and 65.0 percent in the final 20 minutes of the contest. It was the best shooting performance by the Irish since the second game of the 2000-01 campaign when they shot 64.3 percent against Loyola (Chicago). It was the best field goal shooting percentage by any BIG EAST team in a league contest since St. John’s shot 68.6 percent in a victory over Connecticut on Jan. 2, 1990.
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 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 Nov. 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.
STRANGERS AT THE JOYCE – It seems hard to believe, but Notre Dame played just 13 games at the Joyce Center this season. The 13 home games were the fewest played by an Irish squad since the 1995-96 campaign. Notre Dame began the 2001-02 season by playing three of its first six games at home, but went more than a month without a home contest as the Irish only enjoyed one home date throughout the entire month of December (Dec. 30 vs. Colgate) after playing five consecutive road outings beginning on Dec. 1.
MERRY “CHRIS”-MAS – Chris Thomas’ 238 assists and 68 steals rank as the most ever by an Irish player in a single season. Since 1973-74, Thomas is just the fourth Irish freshman to lead the team in assists. He eclipsed the former single-season mark of 214 assists held by Jimmy Dillon (1999-2000) and Jackie Meehan (1970-71). Since ’73-’74 , only three players – Rich Branning, David Rivers and Doug Gottlieb – have led their respective Irish teams in the assist column as freshmen. Branning had 138 during his rookie season in 1976-77, while Rivers dished off 127 in the 1984-85 campaign and Gottlieb 154 in 1995-96. Branning and Rivers went on to lead their teams in that statistical category all four years, while Gottlieb only played one year before transferring to Oklahoma State. Thomas is the first freshman since Rivers to lead the Irish in steals. Rivers led Notre Dame in that category during all four seasons of his career. In the last 10 games, Thomas has dished off 96 assists and committed 42 turnovers for a 2.29 assist-to-turnover ratio.
HUMPHREY REACHES 1,000 CAREER REBOUNDS – Ryan Humphrey grabbed his 1,000th career rebound against St. John’s in Notre Dame’s BIG EAST quarterfinal win over the Red Storm. He has 1,017 career rebounds in 121 games for an average of 8.4 per contest. In 58 career contests at Notre Dame, he has grabbed 574 rebounds for an average of 9.90 per contest. He has scored 1,598 career points for a career scoring average of 13.2.
THOMAS LOOKS TO BREAK FRESHMAN SCORING MARK Chris Thomas needs just 16 points to eclipse Troy Murphy’s freshman scoring mark of 519 points. Murphy established the Irish mark in 1998-99 while playing in 30 games. Thomas enters the NCAA tournament with 504 points in 31 games played.
GRAVES RECOVERS IN TIME TO PLAY – AND THE STREAK CONTINUES – Back spasms forced senior David Graves to spend the night in the campus infirmary on the eve of Notre Dame’s matchup with Rutgers on Feb. 6. After treatment throughout the night before the game and on the day of the contest, Graves made his first appearance less than six minutes into the game. The Irish forward played 28 minutes total in the game as he turned in one of his best performances of the season, scoring 18 points, grabbing eight rebounds and making three steals. He was six-for-11 shooting the ball from the field and nailed four of his seven three-point attempts. Graves also suffered a sprained ankle in practice on March 5 (two days prior to its quarterfinal matchup with St. John’s), but that did not keep him out of the line. He has played in a Notre Dame-record 128 games during his Irish career and made 105 starts in those contests.
GETTING MORE AGGRESSIVE ON THE BOARDS – Notre Dame enjoyed its second-largest rebounding advantage of the season against Rutgers in the first game played between the two teams (Feb. 6) as the Irish owned a 46-32 advantage. In their second matchup, the Irish outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 50-40. Coach Mike Brey’s squad has outrebounded its opponents 40.7 to 37.7. In the first Notre Dame-Georgetown game on Jan. 21, the Hoyas owned the largest advantage on the boards of any opponent this season as they outrebounded the Irish 54-41. The Irish had a season-low 22 rebounds against Indiana and a season-high 64 against Georgetown on Feb. 9 – a mark which tied the BIG EAST single-game rebounding mark. Notre Dame has been outrebounded in 10 games this season, but has outrebounded eight of its last 11 opponents, including a decisive 44-31 advantage versus Miami (Fla.) on Feb. 23.
GETTING DEFENSIVE IN THE BIG EAST – Notre Dame turned in solid defensive performances in its 16 BIG EAST games. The Irish held three of their opponents to 56 points and under. In its 60-51 win over Seton Hall on Jan. 26, the 51 points scored by the Pirates were the fewest allowed by the Irish in a BIG EAST game. The 53 points scored by Pittsburgh in the 56-53 Irish victory on Jan. 12 were the third fewest allowed in a league contest. Prior to the Seton Hall game, the fewest points allowed by the Irish in league play was 52 in a 69-52 victory over Syracuse on Jan. 2, 1997, at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame has held three of its BIG EAST opponents to 56 points and under and five teams to 64 points and under. The 111 points scored by Geogetown were the most ever allowed by the Irish under Mike Brey and in BIG EAST play. In the first meeting between the two teams, the 84 points allowed by Notre Dame at the time, represented the most ever scored upon the Irish in league play during Brey’s tenure.
WINNING BIG – Notre Dame’s margin of victory through 31 games this season has been by an average of 10.7 points per game. 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 13 of its 21- 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.
CARROLL REACHES 1,000-POINT MILESTONE – Junior Matt Carroll became the 42nd player in Notre Dame basketball history to score 1,000 points against Rutgers on Feb. 6. He has played in 97 career games and scored 1,146 points for a career scoring average of 11.8 points. Carroll missed his first-ever game at Notre Dame against Miami on Feb. 23 (after 93 consecutive games played), following a sprained right foot in the previous outing against West Virginia. He has earned starts in 89 of the 97 games he has played. Before the St. John’s matchup on February 27, he had made 64 consecutive starting appearances. He had back-to-back 20-point outings for the first time in his career when he scored 20 points in both the St. John’s and Connecticut contests at the BIG EAST Championship.
THE FRIENDLY CONFINES OF THE JOYCE CENTER – Notre Dame is 8-4 at the Joyce Center this season with an average margin of victory of 9.7 points per game. Coach Mike Brey’s squad has outscored its opponents 953-837. Irish teams own an all-time record of 405-122 (.769) at the Joyce Center in 33-plus seasons. Notre Dame is 36-12 (.750) in its last 48 home contests.
DEJA VU – Notre Dame recorded a three-point win (67-64) at West Virginia as the Irish fought back from a double-digit first-half deficit for the second consecutive year. Against the Mountaineers in Morgantown on Feb. 11, 2001, Coach Mike Brey’s squad trailed 39-31 at the half, but outscored West Virginia 38-27 in the second half to earn a 69-66 victory. Notre Dame trailed by 18 at the half on Jan. 9, against the Mountaineers, but nearly doubled its point total in the second half by outscoring the home team 46-28 and holding West Virginia to just 22.7 percent shooting in the second half.
THREE IS A COMMON THEME – Six of Notre Dame’s 31 games have been decided by three points with the Irish owning a 2-4 mark in those contests. Notre Dame defeated West Virginia (67-64) and Pittsburgh (56-53) on the road and lost to Alabama (79-76) in New Orleans, La., at Rutgers (65-62), at home against Syracuse (68-65) and on the road versus St. John’s (84-81).
IRISH RECORD BIGGEST COMEBACK IN BIG EAST PLAY – Notre Dame’s win over West Virginia marked a first for the Irish in BIG EAST play as they recorded their biggest comeback in seven-plus seasons as a league member. Coach Mike Brey’s squad erased a 15-point halftime deficit and outscored the Moutaineers 46-28 in the second half. Notre Dame’s largest halftime deficit ever in a BIG EAST game was against Miami at the Joyce Center on Feb. 29, 1996, as the Irish trailed 41-17 (24 points) at the break in an eventual 71-59 loss. Prior to the West Virginia game, the biggest second-half turnaround by an Irish team in a BIG EAST contest was against Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, 1999, at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame trailed 36-34 at the break in that contest, but outscored the Panthers 53-28 in the second half in the eventual 87-64 victory.
HUMPHREY STATES HIS CASE – Ryan Humphrey is clearly enjoying his best season on the basketball court as the Irish tri-captain is averaging team and personal bests of 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.69 blocked shots per game. Against Syracuse on Jan. 14, Humphrey scored 54.9 percent of Notre Dame’s 51 points as he finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. The 28 points marked the first 20-plus point performance for Humphrey in a BIG EAST game. He had 18 points and a career-high 19 boards against Rutgers on February 14. Humphrey had a BIG EAST pesonal best 29 points against St. John’s. He has scored in double figures in 28 of 29 contests and grabbed 10-plus boards 21 times. Humphrey has registered a double double 29 times, which includes a current streak of nine consecutive outings. In addition, he has registered a double double in 14 of the last 16 contests.
A RARE FRESHMAN FEAT – Chris Thomas’ 32 points and 11 assists against Rutgers on Feb. 6 marked the first time in Notre Dame basketball history that an Irish freshman scored 30-plus points and dished off 10-plus assists in a game. The 32 points marked a career-high, while the 11 assists matched his career best. It was his first career double double, although he did record a triple double in his first collegiate game versus New Hampshire. Thomas recorded his second consecutive double double against Georgetown (Feb. 9) with 22 points and 12 assists. He also had a double double in Notre Dame’s win over West Virginia as he scored 26 points and dished off 12 assists. In the win at Miami, he notched his fifth double double with 32 points (matching his career-high) and 12 assists. Thomas has seven double doubles this season.
HUMPHREY GRABS 500TH REBOUND IN IRISH UNIFORM – Ryan Humphrey grabbed his 500th rebound in an Irish uniform against West Virginia on Feb. 20. In just 58 career games at Notre Dame, Humphrey has 574 rebounds for an average of 9.90 per game. In his first two seasons at Oklahoma, his rebounds totalled 443. His career rebounding total currently stands at 1,107 in 121 games for an average of 8.4 per contest.
IRISH DOUBLE THE PLEASURE FOUR TIMES AGAINST HOYAS – In the four-overtime win against the Hoyas, a record four Irish players recorded double doubles in the game – Chris Thomas (22 pts./8 asts.), Ryan Humphrey (23 pts./14 rebs.), Harold Swanagan (11 pts./10 rebs) and Matt Carroll (30 pts./10 rebs.). They accounted for 74.1 percent of the scoring and 65.6 percent of the rebounding.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL – Notre Dame is averaging 19.13 assists and 13.16 turnovers for a 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio. Conversely, Irish opponents are averaging 14.10 assists per game and 14.00 turnovers for a 1.01 assist-to-turnover ratio. Notre Dame has had fewer than 10 turnovers in six games this season and committed just 11 turnovers or fewer in 10 of 31 contests. Notre Dame had a season-low six turnovers (two in the second half) against Georgetown on Jan. 21, and committed just seven turnovers in games at Miami-Ohio and Pittsburgh. The seven turnovers in that contest were the fewest by an Irish team since a Jan. 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 tilt, it covered 199 contests. Against Canisius on Dec. 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 17 games, Notre Dame has dished off 335 assists for an 19.7 average, while committing 236 turnovers for an average of 13.88 per game. There have been only two games this season where the Irish had more turnovers than assists – vs. Villanova (15-16) and vs. Seton Hall (13-17). Notre Dame committed a season-high 20 turnovers against Pittsburgh in its matchup at the Joyce Center.
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.
111 AND COUNTING – Heading into its first round NCAA tournament game, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 111 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 (Jan. 12, 1999) as Notre Dame finished 0-7 in the contest from three-point range. The Pittsburgh game on Jan, 26 marked the 100th consecutive game in which the Irish hit a three-pointer. Notre Dame made a season-high 14 against Rutgers on Feb. 6.
CONFERENCE CALL – Notre Dame’s 13-game non-conference schedule featured 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 have played teams from two of those conferences twice – the Patriot League (Army and Colgate) and SEC (Alabama and Kentucky). Notre Dame finished 10-3 in non-conference play this season.
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 assists in the Hawaii Pacific game.
FROM DOWNTOWN – The Irish are 230-of-607 (.379) from three-point range this season for an average of 7.42 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.
ON THE OFFENSIVE – Chris Thomas certainly has had an impact on the Irish offense this season. The rookie point guard has figured in on 45.0 percent of Notre Dame’s offensive firepower this season – of the 874 field goals scored, he has 155 field goals and has dished off 238 assists.
THOMAS IN CONTROL – Notre Dame’s 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio, can be attributed to the play of freshman point guard Chris Thomas who has already dished off a school record 217 assists (7.48 per game) this season, while committing just 84 turnovers for a 2.90 assist-to-turnover mark. He is averaging a turnover every 13.05 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. He played the entire 60 minutes against Georgetown in the quadruple overtime game and commited just five turnovers, including one in the final 40 minutes. In Notre Dame’s win at Seton Hall, Thomas played all 40 minutes and turned the ball over just once.
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 25.7 minutes (a career best) – 8.7 more minutes than the average of his first three campaigns. Against Indiana, he tied his career-high by playing 38 minutes of the contest.
GOING THE DISTANCE – Chris Thomas played the entire game in nine of Notre Dame’s 16 BIG EAST games, including 60 minutes against Georgetown. He played 40 minutes in both tournament games versus St. John’s and Connecticut. He has played the entire game 13 times overall this season. He went the distance in his first BIG EAST game versus Villanova and also played 40 minutes in back-to-back games against Indiana and Miami-Ohio during its non-conference schedule. He leads the team in minutes played (1,177) for an average of 38.0 minutes per game. He has played 30-plus minutes in 30 of 31 games this season. Thomas played a season-low 26 minutes against Monmouth on Nov. 25.
DOUBLE THE PLEASURE – Ryan Humphrey registered his 20th double double of the season and the 40th of his career against Connecticut as he scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. He ranks eighth nationally (according to SPORTS Inc.) in that category and first among all BIG EAST players. Humphrey has registered a double double in 12 of the last 14 games and in 15 of his last 20 contests. Here is is breakdown of double doubles this season: vs. Hawaii-Pacific (31 pts./10 rebs.), vs. DePaul (18 pts./16 rebs.), at Indiana (23 pts./12 rebs.), at Canisius (14 pts./11 rebs.), vs. COLGATE (21 pts./10 rebs.), vs. VILLANOVA (18 pts./10 rebs.), at Syracuse (29 pts., 11 rebs.), vs. KENTUCKY (14 pts./12 rebs.), vs. GEORGETOWN (19 pts./11 rebs.), vs. SETON HALL (16 pts./12 rebs.) , at Seton Hall (11 pts./10 rebs.), at Georgetown (23 pts./14 rebs.), at Rutgers (18 pts./19 rebs.), vs. SYRACUSE (15 pts./13 rebs), vs. WEST VIRGINIA (19 pts./13 rebs.), at Miami (15 pts./10 rebs.), at St. John’s (29 pts./11 rebs), vs. PROVIDENCE (21 pts./13 rebs), vs. St. John’s (21 pts./13 rebs.) and vs. Connecticut (21 pts./16 rebs.).
THE HUMPHREY HYPE – Ryan Humphrey’s streak of nine consecutive games with a double double is the longest since LaPhonso Ellis’ senior season, the 1991-92 campaign, when he put together a string of nine straight games with a double double. Humphrey’s 20 double doubles are the second most by an Irish player in a single season since that same season when he (Ellis) registered double figures in both scoring and rebounding in 23 games. Troy Murphy had 20 double doubles during the 1999-2000 campaign, his sophomore season. He had a string of five straight double double efforts on two occasions during that year.
TERRIFIC TORRIAN – Sophomore Torrian Jones certainly ranks as Notre Dame’s most improved player and has proven to be a real spark for the Irish in the lineup. Jones has started in place of Matt Carroll in each of the last two games and has made nine starting appearances overall in the 31 games he has played this season. Against Miami (Fla.), he scored a career-high 17 points while playing a personal best 29 minutes. Jones earned his first career start against Seton Hall on Jan. 26 and responded with four points and three rebounds. Following that game, he started in each of Notre Dame’s next six outings. The second-year player currently is averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 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 also had seven points in the win at Georgetown. Jones 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 on a three-point shot attempt by Miami-Ohio with four seconds to play in the game. In the loss to Villanova, he was a defensive spark off the bench and had six points and three steals in 14 minutes of action. In the win at West Virginia, he played six minutes and had a key basket late in the game.
DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE – Harold Swanagan registered his fourth double double of the season and seventh of his career when he scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Georgetown in the four-overtime game. That followed a 12-point and 11-rebound performance against Rutgers in the previous outing. Swanagan’s first double-double of the of the season was against UT-Chattanooga in the second game of the Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic as he netted 19 points and grabbed 10 boards. His second double of the season in the DePaul game when he scored 16 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. 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 12 games this season. 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. Here’s a look at the noteworthy comebacks this season:
at Indiana – Notre Dame found itself trailing by 10 at the break after falling behind by as many as 14 in the first half. The Irish never led in the contest, but were able to pull within one with 21 seconds to play before the final one-point outcome.
at Miami-Ohio – 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.
at Canisius – Notre Dame trailed by two at the half against Canisius, but outscored the Golden Griffins 51-38 in the second half.
vs. Alabama – 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.
Villanova – Notre Dame trailed by four at the half against Villanova and then fell behind by 14 with 8:18 to play. The Irish then used a 22-8 run to take a one-point lead with 45 seconds remaining, before falling two points short in the game.
at West Virginia – Notre Dame mounted one of its biggest comebacks in recent memory against West Virginia as the Irish trailed by as many as 18 in the first half and 15 at the break. The Irish outscored the Mountaineers 46-28 in the second half and held West Virginia to just three field goals in the final 11 minutes of the contest.
MAKING THE EARLY COMPARISONS – While it is early in his Irish career, 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.
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 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds and has played in 16 games. He did not dress for Notre Dame’s home contest against West Virginia game because of plantar fasciitis and did not play in the win at Miami or in the loss to St. John’s.
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.
JORDAN JUMPS INTO THE ACT – While freshman Chris Thomas certainly made his mark this season, Notre Dame’s other rookie, Jordan Cornette, also has played well and earned starts in recent outings against Georgetown, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. He s averaging 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds this season. The 6-9 forward earned his sixth start of the season in place of Harold Swanagan against the Panthers on Jan. 30 and was in the starting lineup in the win over Seton Hall at the Joyce Center when he played a career best 32 minutes, tallying six points and grabbing a personal best 10 rebounds. He matched that rebounding total against West Virginia at home on February 20. Against Georgetown on Jan. 21, he had a career-high 11 points (on five-for-eight shooting from the field) and played 31 minutes. He 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 29 contests (did not see action in the Indiana and Syracuse contests) and is averaging 15.1 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 in contests against Colgate and Villanova. In his first BIG EAST contest versus the Wildcats, Cornette played 25 minutes.
TIMMERMANS STANDS TALL – After missing the first nine games of the season with a sprained right knee, sophomore Tom Timmermans has had an impact in recent outings coming off the bench. He is averaging 2.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in playing 9.7 minutes per game. Against Georgetown in the four-overtime victory, Timmermans played a personal best 23 minutes while scoring five points and grabbing a then career-high five rebounds. He logged 18 minutes against Colgate on Dec. 30 and finished with a career-high six points and four rebounds. Timmermans had a career-high six boards in nine minutes against Rutgers on the road. He played 21 minutes against Syracuse at the Joyce Center and tied his career rebounding high as he finished with six boards.
TRIFECTA – The perimeter shooting combination of David Graves, Matt Carroll and Chris Thomas have combined for 93.5 percent of Notre Dame’s three-pointers this season. The Irish trio has made 215 of the team’s 230 shots from beyond the arc and has taken 89.9 percent (546 of 607) of its three-point attempts. Thomas leads the team with 74 three-pointers, followed by Graves (72) and Carroll (69).
IRONMEN – David Graves has played in all 128 games of his Irish career, while Harold Swanagan has missed just three games (all this season against Colgate, Georgetown and Seton Hall). Prior to the Colgate contest, Swanagan 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 105 starting appearances during his three seasons, while Swanagan has made 76 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 78 blocks this season for an average of 2.69 blocks per game this season. As a team, Notre Dame has blocked 153 shots (4.94 per game).
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS – Notre Dame’s field goal percentage defense has been impressive this season as the Irish have held 11 of their 31 opponents to 37 percent and under shooting from the field. Notre Dame has held five opponents to under 32 percent – New Hampshire (31.5), Monmouth (31.7), Army (29.5), DePaul (29.6) and Seton Hall (29.0). Alabama shot 50.8 percent from the field, marking the first time in 36 contests (dating back to last season) that an Irish opponent had shot better than 50.0 percent from the field. Villanova became the second team in 38 games above 50.0 percent from the field as the Wildcats connected on 56.0 percent.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE – Notre Dame’s defense has limited its opponents to just 68.0 points per game with only 13 opponents scoring more than 61 points. The Irish are outscoring their opponents by 10.8 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 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).
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.
SOLD-OUT – Notre Dame had six sellouts (11.418) in 13 homes games this season. That’s the most sellouts in a single season since the 1994-95 when nine of the 15 home contests were sold-out. The six sellouts in 2001-02 were: New Hamphire, Colgate, Kentucky, Seton Hall, Syracuse and Providence.
FIRST SEMESTER SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM – Notre Dame enjoyed tremendous success in the classroom this semester as the Irish combined for a 3.002 grade point average during the 2001 fall semester. Seven of the 13 players earned a 3.00 or higher. Harold Swanagan registered the highest grade index of any player on the team. In addition to Swanagan, the other six players above a 3.00 were: Matt Carroll, Jordan Cornette, Torrian Jones, Dan Miller, Charles Thomas and Chris Thomas.