Nov. 18, 2001
IRISH ITEMS FOR THE CORNELL GAME – Notre Dame (1-0) will play its second game in three days this evening when it plays host to Cornell (0-1) this evening. The Irish opened up the 2001-02 campaign on Friday night with a 42-point win over New Hampshire (95-53). It marks the second straight year in which Notre Dame has opened up the season with a 40-plus point win. Last season, the Irish earned a 46-point victory as they defeated Sacred Heart 104-58 in the season opener at the Joyce Center. With the victory, Notre Dame has won nine of its last 10 season openers. Senior David Graves and freshman Chris Thomas nearly outscored the entire Wildcat team as they combined for 50 points in the game. Graves scored 26 points, while Thomas recorded the first triple double in Notre Dame basketball history with 24 points, 11 assists and a school-record 11 steals. Junior Jere Macura was the only other Irish player in double figures as he scored a career-high 14 points. Notre Dame set a school and Joyce Center record with 26 steals in the game. The Irish shot 51.2 percent from the field in the contest, while limiting New Hampshire to just 31.5 percent and forcing 30 turnovers. Notre Dame was without the services of Ryan Humphrey who had to sit out the contest (and this evening’s game against Cornell) because of a secondary NCAA violation. Harold Swanagan played only nine minutes after sustaining an injury to his right knee. Tonight’s matchup will be the eighth meeting between Notre Dame and Cornell. The Irish have won all five games played between the two schools at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame earned an 84-53 victory in the last meeting played between the two schools on Jan., 31, 1994 at the Joyce Center. The lone Cornell win in the series was on Feb. 10, 1914 in Ithaca, N.Y. as the Big Red earned a 41-14 victory. Cornell is 0-1 heading into tonight’s matchup after dropping a 65-48 victory in the season opener at Canisius. Following tonight’s game, the Irish head to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Hawaii Pacific University Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 23-25.
RECAP OF NEW HAMPSHIRE – Freshman point guard Chris Thomas recorded the first triple double in school history as he scored 23 points, dished off 11 assists and made a school and Joyce Center record 11 steals to lead Notre Dame to a 95-53 victory over New Hampshire in the season opener. David Graves led all scorers in the game with 26 points as he led the Irish in scoring for the ninth time in his career. Graves hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and was three-of-six from three-point range. He also grabbed five rebounds in the contest and made a career-high five steals (which would have tied the old Notre Dame mark). Jere Marcura, who earned the third start of his career, finished with a career-high 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Harold Swanagan played only nine minutes of the contest after sustaining a knee injury (right) in the first half. With Ryan Humphrey and Tom Timmermans unable to play, that left plenty of playing time for freshman Jordan Cornette, who logged 29 minutes in his first collegiate outing off the bench. He had eight points, six rebounds and three steals. Torrian Jones finished with six points, eight rebounds and three steals, while Matt Carroll had eight points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Notre Dame trailed just twice in the contest, but used a 35-9 run in the first half to pull away. The Irish led 48-26 at the break and cruised to the 42-point win in the second half after shooting 54.3 percent and 51.3 percent for the game. The Irish established a school mark with 26 steals in the game, while also limiting the Wildcats to just 31.5 percent shooting from the floor. Notre Dame also owned a 47-35 rebounding edge.
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. Brey has an overall record of 120-62 (.659) as a head coach and is 21-10 (.677). He earned 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 ead coach. While at Delaware, Brey guided the Blue Hens to a 99-52 record during his tenure as his teams earned 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 along 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.
FIRST YEAR SUCCESS FOR BREY – Notre Dame’s 19 wins during the regular season under Mike Brey 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.
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 – This will be the eighth meeting between the two teams with the Irish leading the series 6-1. Notre Dame has won five straight with its most recent win against the Big Red coming at the Joyce Center on Dec., 31, 1994 as the Irish posted an 84-53 victory. Cornell is winless in five appearances at the Joyce Center.
IRISH STRONG AGAINST IVY OPPONENTS – Notre Dame is 38-4 all-time against Ivy League opponents with the only losses coming to Cornell, Pennsylvania (twice) and Princeton. Cornell is the only Ivy League foe on the Irish schedule this season. The last Ivy League the Irish faced was Yale on Nov. 15, 1998 and earned a 64-62 victory.
THE FRESHMAN CAN PLAY – 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 his 10-of-16 shots from the field and was three-of-six from three-point range.
MACURA FINDING HIS COMFORT ZONE – Irish head coach Mike Brey made the decision to have forward Jere Macura become more of an inside player this season which seems to have benefitted his play. The junior made the most of his third career start against New Hampshire on Friday night as he scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Macura connected on six-of-nine shots from the field in the contest.
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 GETS INTO THE ACT – While freshman Chris Thomas certainly made his mark his first collegiate, Notre Dame’s other rookie, Jordan Cornette, played well in his first collegiate contest. The 6-9 forward logged 29 minutes against New Hampshire on Friday night and had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. His playing time increased in when Harold Swanagan went out of the game with a knee injury, which left the Irish with just two frontline players – Macura and Cornette. He is expected to start in place of Swanagan tonight as the Irish will feature two rookies in the starting lineup.
SWANAGAN EXPECTED TO SEE ACTION – Senior tri-captain Harold Swanagan is expected to see action in tonight’s contest against New Hampshire, but probably will not start. Swanagan has played in all 98 games during his collegiate career and made 52 starts in those contests. He played only nine minutes against New Hampshire after sustaining an injury to his right knee.
CARROLL DOES THE LITTLE THINGS AGAIN – While he may not have had one of his better night’s shooting the basketball against New Hampshire as he hit only four of his 12 shot attempts, junior guard Matt Carroll was impressive in other areas as he came up with eight points, eight rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes. Carroll was Notre Dame’s most consistent performer all-around a year ago and is expected to continue that sort of play against this season.
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 last season 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. Expect to add freshman Chris Thomas to the Irish three-point threats as the rookie was five-for-nine from beyond the arc in his first game.
IRONMEN – David Graves and Harold Swanagan have played in all 98 contests during their Irish careers – neither one has missed a game. They saw action in 30 games as freshmen and juniors and played in 37 contests in their sophomore season. Graves has earned 82 starting appearances during his three seasons, while Swanagan has made 53 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.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE – 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, while four teams – Indiana (53.3), Miami of Ohio (45.3), Rutgers (49.1) and Connecticut (49.2) – shot better than 45.0 percent from the field against the Irish last season. Notre Dame held New Hampshire to just 31.5 percent in the season opener. Last season, the Irish limited six opponents to under 35 percent from the field.
RISING SOPHOMORE – Sophomore Torrian Jones is clearly Notre Dame’s most improved player from a year. Jones played a career-high 23 minutes against New Hampshire and had six points (tying a career-high) and grabbed a personal best five rebounds. He also had three steals in the game which also tied his personal best.
MARKW0OD IN THE FOLD – Chris Markwood played 13 minutes in his first game in an Irish uniform after sitting out all of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery in September of 2000. Markwood finished the game with two rebounds and an assist.
HUMPHREY TO MISS FIRST TWO REGULAR-SEASON CONTESTS – Ryan Humphrey will sit out his second and final game of an NCAA-imposed two game suspension tonight as the result of a secondary violation of the NCAA’s outside competition rule for men’s basketball.
TIMMERMANS OUT TWO TO THREE WEEKS – Tom Timmermans is out with a sprained right knee and is expected to miss the first two to three weeks of the season. He sustained the injury in a practice.
A BIG EAST MOMENT FOR THE IRISH – Notre Dame’s eight consecutive BIG EAST wins last season against Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Syracuse, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Rutgers and Virginia Tech marked the first time since the Irish joined the league in 1995-96 that they posted eight straight wins over league foes. Notre Dame also finished the season six games above the .500 mark for the first time since becoming a league member.
BIG EAST MOMENT II FOR THE IRISH – Notre Dame’s five straight road wins at Georgetown (78-71 on Jan. 27), Pittsburgh (75-67 on Feb. 3), West Virginia (69-66 on Feb. 11), Rutgers (81-59 on Feb. 14) and Virginia Tech (85-61 on Feb. 24) marked the first time since the Irish joined the BIG EAST they had won five consecutive road games in the league.
BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT CONTINUES – For the second consecutive year, every team in the BIG EAST Conference will not advance to the league’s postseason tournament. The top six teams in each division will qualify for the 2002 BIG EAST Championship in Madision Square Garden on March.
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 following final examinations for the ’01 fall semester.
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 he 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.
NOTRE DAME-DePAUL TO RENEW STORIED RIVALRY – Notre Dame and DePaul will renew its historic basketball rivalry in the first annual Dell Classic 4 Kids men’s basketball doubleheader at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. on Sat., Dec. 1. The first game features a matchup between Texas and Stanford at 11:00 a.m. (CST) with the Irish and Blue Demons tipping off at approximately 1:30 p.m. (CST). Both games will be shown live on Fox Sports Net.
NOKIA SUGAR BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC – The 2001 Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La., on Thur., Dec. 27 features two BIG EAST Conference opponents – Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.) – and two Southeastern Conference foes – squaring off against each other. Notre Dame will meet Alabama in the first game of the doubleheader at 7:00 p.m. (CST), while the matchup between Louisiana State and Miami will follow at 9:30 p.m. (CST). Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
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 on Friday night.