Dec. 1, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. –
SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame (5-1) renews its rivalry with 13th-ranked Marquette (4-0) this evening in the 104th meeting between the two institutions. The Irish own a 74-29 advantage in the series and have faced the Golden Eagles more than any other opponent in their 97-plus year history. Tonight’s meeting is the first since Marquette’s 72-48 victory on November 21, 1997 in Milwaukee, Wis. The Golden Eagles have won three of the last four matchups in the series that was first played on January 31. 1920. The Irish enter the game coming off a 90-55 victory over Albany. Tonight’s game opens up a tough three-game stretch for Notre Dame this week as the Irish could face three ranked opponents in consecutive outings. Following tonight’s game, Coach Mike Brey’s squad heads to Washington, D.C. for the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center. Notre Dame is scheduled to meet 11th-ranked Maryland in first round action on Saturday, December 7 at 3:30 p.m. and then will play either third-ranked Texas or George Washington in a consolation or championship matchup. Tonight’s game is the fourth home game for the Irish and first road test on an opponent’s home floor for Marquette. The Golden Eagles defeated Villanova 73-61 in the season opener at Madison Square Garden and then earned wins over Coppin State (64-46), Texas-San Antonio (80-68) and Eastern Illinois (97-74). Notre Dame opened up the season by playing six games in the month of November, marking the second straight year the Irish played that many contests in the first month of the season. Last year, Brey’s squad finished with a perfect 6-0 slate during the month of November. Notre Dame is 14-1 under Brey during the month of November. Notre Dame’s defense has been the key this season in allowing just 53.3 points in the first six games of the season. The Irish have held five of their first six opponents to 55 points and under. Notre Dame began the season by allowing just 135 points in the first three games of the season which marked lowest three-game point total to start the season since the 1946-47 campaign when that Irish team held Franklin, Ball State and Indiana to a combined 129 points. It also was the first time since the 1983-84 season that Notre Dame held three opponents to under 50 points. Notre Dame is averaging 79.7 points per game and its average margin of victory is 26.4 points. The Irish held its first three opponents – Belmont, IUPUI and Bucknell – to under 30 percent shooting. Bucknell shot 21.1 percent from the field against the Irish, converting just 12-37 field goals attempts and made just five field goals in the second half. The 12 field goals are the fewest made by an Irish opponent since Fordham made 13 in a 60-45 Notre Dame victory January 2, 1994. Albany also shot just 30.6 percent from the field, converting just 19 of its 62 field goal attempts. Matt Carroll (Horsham, Pa.) leads the team in scoring with a 17.7 scoring average and is the third leading rebounder at 6.0 rebounds per game. He has scored 20-plus points in two games this season – versus IUPUI (26 points) and Creighton (20 points). Carroll closed out the 2001-02 campaign by scoring 20 points in Notre Dame’s final four outings, and with his 20-point outing against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, has now scored 20-plus points in six of his last 10 games in an Irish uniform dating back to last season. He also recorded his first double double of the season against Creighton after finishing with 10 rebounds. He also leads the team with 2.7 steals per game. Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) finished with 14 points (all in the second half) against Albany, but prior to that game, had scored 20-plus points in each of Notre Dame’s last three outings against Bucknell, Furman and Creighton. He is the second-leading scorer averaging 16.5 points per game. Thomas tallied a season-high 22 points against Creighton. In addition, Thomas is averaging 6.3 assists per contest and is second on the team with 14 steals. Senior Dan Miller (Mt. Holly, N.J.), who sat out last year after transferring to Notre Dame following three seasons at Maryland, also is averaging 15.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He is coming off the best outing of his career after scoring a career-high 22 points in Saturday’s win over the Great Danes. It’s the second 20-point outing for the Miller who also finished with 20 points in Notre Dame’s win over Furman in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic. He recorded the first two double doubles of his career in the first two games of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against Belmont, followed by a 17-point and 11-rebound effort against IUPUI. Prior to his first two contests in an Irish uniform, Miller did not record a double double in his previous 104 career outings. Miller’s 20-point performance against the Paladins equalled a previous career best while he was at Maryland. He has scored in double figures in five of six games already this season. While at Maryland, he scored in double figures 19 times. Freshman Torin Francis (Roslindale, Mass.) leads the team in double doubles this season with three following his recent 15-point and 15-rebound outing against Albany. He is averaging 9.0 points and a team-best 10.0 rebounds. Francis grabbed 20 rebounds in Notre Dame’s win over Bucknell – the most rebounds ever by an Irish rookie. He also had 11 points in the contest for his second double double of the season. Francis registered his first career double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds versus IUPUI. Tom Timmermans (Driehuis, Netherlands) will make his first career start in tonight’s game. The Irish center, who was bothered by a lower back strain to start the season, has played well off the bench in Notre Dame’s last two games. Timmermans logged a season-best 21 minutes against Creighton and finished with six points and six rebounds. In the Albany game, he played 18 minutes and finished with five points and four rebounds. Timmermans is averaging 3.7 points and 4.0 rebounds. Jordan Cornette (Cincinnati, Ohio) started the first five six games of the season. He has had a real impact for the Irish on the defensive end of the floor. Cornette is averaging 3.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, in addtion to 4.2 blocked shots. In the Belmont game, Cornette registered his first career double double with an unlikely combination of 13 rebounds and a Notre Dame and Joyce Center record 11 blocked shots. Against the Jaguars, he continued his blocked-shot assault with eight. His 25 blocked shots this season already surpasses the 17 he had all of last year. Junior swingman Torrian Jones (Fairless Hills, Pa.) scored a season-high 13 points on six-for-eight shooting from the field against Bucknell. He is averaging 6.0 points and 2.2 rebounds. He has come off the bench in all six games and is averaging 18.5 minutes. Against Furman, he equalled his season-high playing 21 minutes and scored nine points on three-of-four shooting from the field. In addition, he made a career-best four steals. Rookie Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio) has been an offensive spark for the Irish. He is averaging 4.8 points in 15.5 minutes off the bench. Quinn played a career-high 21 minutes in the loss to Creighton and scored netted a personal best nine points. In 18 minutes of action against Albany, he finished with six points and season bests of five assists and five steals.
GUARDIANS CLASSIC RECAP (Kanas City, Mo.) – vs. Furman (semifinal): Chris Thomas and Dan Miller scored 20 points each to lead the Irish to lead the Irish into the championship game with a 75-50 victory over Furman in the semifinals. Notre Dame its fourth straight opponent to 50 points and under as the Paladins shot 40.0 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from three-point range. The Irish connected on 26-60 from the field (43.3 percent) and shot 66.7 percent (8-12) from three-point range. Matt Carroll, who finished with 15 points and six reboudns, was three-of-six from beyond the arc. Torin Francis grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Notre Dame held an 18-14 advantage with 9:44 remaining in the first half, but used a 21-9 run to close out the half for a 39-23 halftime advantage. Furman outscored the Irish 8-0 to begin the second half to close the lead to eight (39-31) with 17:20 remaining, but Notre Dame countered with a 12-2 run of its own to break open the game. The final 25-point outcome was the largest point differential of the contest. vs. Creighton (championship): The Irish fell to the Blue Jays 80-75 in the championship game. Chris Thomas and Matt Carroll, both named to the Guardians Classic All-Tournament Team, scored 22 points and 20 points, respectively, as the only two Irish players in double figures. Creighton shot a blistering 62.0 percent from the field (31-50) and 58.8 percent (10-17) from three-point range. Its the best that any team has ever shot against a Mike Brey-coached Irish team. In addition, the Blue Jays owned a 36-29 advantage on the boards. Creighton led for most of the first half before the Irish grabbed used a 21-10 to grab a seven-point lead (35-28) with 3:02 remaining before halftime. The Blue Jays, however, outscored the Irish 10-0 to close out the first half and grab a three-point halftime advantage (38-35). The Blue Jays led by as many a 10 in the second half (54-44) with 14:01 remaining. Notre Dame grabbed its first lead of the second half (75-74) with 1:35 remaining on Thomas’ three-pointer, but the Irish were held scoreless in the final minute of the game. Creighton tied the game at 75-75 with 24 seconds remaining and then nailed a three-pointer and a free throw which sealed the victory.
GUARDIANS CLASSIC RECAP (NOTRE DAME REGIONAL) – vs. Belmont: Dan Miller recorded his first double double of his career in his debut in an Irish uniform as he scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Jordan Cornette blocked a school and Joyce Center record 11 blocked shots. In addition, he grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds. Cornette broke the school record of eight blocked (set by LaPhonso Ellis in 1992) and Joyce Center mark of 10 (set by Bill Walton of UCLA in 1973). Several of his blocked shots came in a decisive 30-5 run. Notre Dame was leading 26-21 with 2:57 remaining before halftime and closed out the first half with a 14-0 run that gave the Irish a 40-21 halftime lead. Notre Dame held Belmont to just eight points in the first 12:30 of the contest in building a 37-point advantage (66-29). The Irish held the Bruins to just 28.1 shooting accuracy from the field and forced 17 turnovers. Matt Carroll and Chris Thomas each finished with 15 points each. Thomas also had eight assists in the game. Notre Dame’s 19 blocked shots also established new school and Joyce Center records.
vs. IUPUI: Matt Carroll scored 26 points as he hit four-of-eight three-point attempts, while Dan Miller registered his second straight double double as he netted 17- points and grabbed 11 rebounds in leading the Irish to an 89-45 victory over IUPUI. Torin Francis registered his first career double double as he tossed in 16 points and grabbed 10 boards. Chris Thomas finished with 11 assists and eight points. Notre Dame used a late first-half run to finish off the Jaguars. The Irish ended the first half with an 18-5 run and then opened the second half with a 20-6 run to the put the game out of reach. The Jaguars shot 24.3 percent for the game and made just seven baskets (on 36 attempts), while shooting 19.4 percent in the second half. Notre Dame forced 17 turnovers and blocked 13 shots in the game. Notre Dame finished the game by shooting 54.6 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from three-point range.
HEAD COACH MIKE BREY – Mike Brey is in his third year as the Notre Dame head coach and eighth 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. Brey owns a 47-22 mark (.681) with the Irish. He is the first coach in Notre Dame history to lead his teams to consecutive 20-win campaigns and NCAA tournament appearances in his first two seasons. Last year, he led his team to a 22-11 record and 10-6 mark in BIG EAST play after guiding the 2000-01 Irish to the 2000-01 BIG EAST West Division crown with an 11-5 record and finishing with a 20-10 overall record. Five of his eight teams have advanced to postseason competition (four NCAA and one NIT appearances). Since his arrival, he has led Notre Dame to a 21-11 mark in BIG EAST play during the regular season for a .656 winning percentage. In the two-year period from 2000-02, the Irish’s BIG EAST wins are matched only by Boston College and Connecticut. His 21 wins after only two seasons rank as the third-best total in conference history. Only four other BIG EAST coaches, including St. John’s mentor Mike Jarvis, have ever posted a better winning percentage in their first two seasons in the league. Brey has an overall record of 146-74 (.663) as a head coach. Among active BIG EAST coaches, Brey’s 22-13 record (including regular season and championship contests) for a .629 winning percentage ranks him fourth behind Jarvis, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun and sixth all-time.
THE CAPTAINS – Matt Carroll, Jere Macura and Dan Miller are serving as captains for the 2002-03 campaign. It marks the second straight year that the Irish will have had tri-captains. Carroll, a three-year starter owns a 12.0 career scoring average in 99 games played. As a junior, he finished with a 14.0 career scoring average and ended the 2001-02 campaign by registering four straight 20-point outings in BIG EAST and NCAA tournament competition. Macura has played in 76 career games and owns a 3.7 scoring average. This is Miller’s first season of competition with the Irish.
SERIES RECORD VS. MARQUETTE – Notre Dame plays its oldest rival tonight in the 104th meeting between the two teams. The Irish lead the series 74-29. The two schools have not played each other since November 21, 1997 in Milwaukee, Wis., as the Golden Eagles defeated the Irish 72-48. Marquette has won two straight and has been victorious in three of the last four games. Notre Dame’s last win in the series was on Feb. 17, 1994 as the Irish earned a 68-58 decision. The Irish own a 42-10 record at home against Marquette and have won 12 of the 18 meetings at the Joyce Center. The Golden Eagles’ picked up a 65-63 victory on their last visit to the Joyce Center (Feb. 25, 1995). The first game between the two teams was played on January 31, 1920 (a 23-22 Marquette victory). Notre Dame’s longest win streak has been 12 games (on two occasions – 1927-32 and 1983-89).
IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS – With its win over Belmont, Notre Dame is 80-18 (.816) all-time in season openers and has won four straight. The last time an Irish team lost a season opener was prior to the start of the 1998-99 campaign as the Irish dropped a 76-65 decision to Miami of Ohio at home. Notre Dame is 3-0 in season openers under Mike Brey.
TOUGH STRETCH – Tonight’s game against No. 13 Marquette begins a tough three-game stretch for the Irish over the next six days. Following tonight’s game, Notre Dame plays in the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C., and is set to face No. 11 Maryland in first round action on Saturday, December 7 and then will take on either No. 3 Texas or George Washington the following day in the consolation or championship game.
REMEMBER NOVEMBER – For the second straight year, Notre Dame played six games during the month of November and finished up the first month of the season with a 5-1 record. Last year, the Irish completed the first month of the season with a perfect 6-0 slate. It marked the most wins ever by a Notre Dame team in the month of November and the third time in the program’s history that the Irish played six games during that month. Notre Dame also 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. Under Irish head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame owns a 14-1 mark in November.
HOME SWEET HOME – Since the inaugural season (1968-69) playing in the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 410-122 record all-time for a .771 winning percentage. The Irish are 25-8 (.756) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s two seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, own a 75-27 mark for a 73.5 winning percentage.
THE IRISH ALL-TIME – The 2002-03 campaign marks the 98th season of men’s basketball at Notre Dame. Irish teams have posted 1510-829 record all-time for a .646 winning percentage.
RECORDS FALL AGAINST BELMONT – Notre Dame’s win over Belmont in the season opener, produced several new Irish records. * The 19 blocked shots the Irish had as a team set the school and Joyce Center mark, eclipsing the old mark of 12. The team total ties for third all-time on the NCAA blocked shots list with Seton Hall (November of 2000). * Jordan Cornette’s 11 blocked shots broke the school record of eight set by LaPhonso Ellis in 1992 in an NIT game versus Kansas State. He also established a new Joyce Center record, breaking the record of 10 set by UCLA’s Bill Walton on January 27, 1973.
IRISH SPELL SUCCESS – D-E-F-E-N-S-E – Notre Dame’s strong defensive showing in its first six games has resulted in five Irish wins. In the first four games of the season, the Irish held Belmont, IUPUI, Bucknell and Furman to 50 points and under, while Albany scored just 55. Notre Dame opponents are shooting just 33.1 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from three-point range. Notre Dame held its first three opponents – Belmont, IUPUI and Bucknell – to just 45.0 point per game and a 24.6 field goal percentage accuracy after making a combined 48 of 195 field goal attempts. The Irish held those those three opponents to a three-game point total of 135 – that’s the fewest points allowed by an Irish team to start the season since the 1946-47 campaign when Notre Dame first three opponents – Franklin, Ball State and Indiana – were held to a combined 129 points. The last time an Irish team held three opponents in consecutive outings to under 50 points was during the 1983-84 season when Notre Dame lost to Northwestern (40-36) and then defeated Lehigh (68-46) and Cornell (55-48). The last time a Notre Dame team began the season by holding three straight opponents to under 50 points was the the 1944-45 campaign.
KEEPING IT CLOSE – Under Irish head coach Mike Brey (spanning 69 games), Notre Dame teams have never suffered a loss greater than 16 points. The Irish’s 11 losses last season were by a combined total of 49 points for an average margin of defeat of 4.45 points. Only one loss (versus Georgetown – 83-73) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five points or less. In the 22 losses the Irish have suffered under head coach Mike Brey over the course of the last two-plus seasons, only four have been by a double-digit margin. In his first season (2001-01), Brey’s squad lost 10 games by a combined 85 points with its biggest loss coming against Connecticut (16 points) in a 75-59 setback.
IRISH SET TO MEET DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS – Notre Dame will play defending national champion Maryland in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 7 at 3:30 p.m. Texas and George Washington will meet in the first game of the tournament at 1:00 p.m. The consolation game will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, followed by the championship tilt at 3:30 p.m. Raycom/Comcast will televise all four games of the tournament. Notre Dame’s matchup with Maryland will mark the 30th time an Irish squad has faced a team that had won the national title the previous year.
THOMAS NAMED TO WOODEN AND NAISMITH LISTS – Sophomore point guard Chris Thomas is one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2003 John R. Wooden Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s top men’s basketball player. He also was named as a preseason candidate (one of 30) for the 2002-03 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Thomas is among five sophomores chosen to the Wooden Award list and is one of five BIG EAST players selected to the Naismith List.
THERE’S NO SLOWING HIM DOWN – Matt Carroll ended the 2001-02 campaign by scoring 20 points in Notre Dame’s two BIG EAST and two NCAA tournament games. Carroll has continued that streak by scoring 20-plus points in two of the first six games of the season. He had a 26-point outing against IUPUI and then scored 20 points in loss to Creighton which marked the sixth 20-point effort that he has had in his last 10 games in an Irish uniform. Carroll has scored 20-plus points 12 times during his career.
MILLER TIME – After sitting out the 2001-02 campaign following his transfer to Notre Dame from Maryland in the summer of 2001, Dan Miller has made the most of first six games in an Irish uniform. He has recorded double doubles in the Belmont and IUPUI contest and has scored in double figures in all but one contest (Creighton). Miller also has registered 20-point outings in two of the last three games – 20 points versus Furman and a career-high 22 points versus Albany. Against Belmont, he had 19 points and 10 rebounds and came back against the Jaguars to score 17 points and grab 11 rebounds. In his three seasons with the Terrapins (104 career games), he did not record a double double and never grabbed more than seven rebounds in a game; he also had scored in double figures just 19 times and had only finished with 20 or more points on one occasion.
CARROLL CLOSING IN ON IRISH THREE-POINT RECORD – Former Notre Dame standout David Graves (1998-2002) set the Irish three-point mark last season with 259, but it is likely that Matt Carroll will break that record at some point durng the 2002-03 campaign. Carroll is third on the all-time list with 217, needing just 43 to break the record. Ryan Hoover (1992-96) currently is second with 248. In 105 career games played, Carroll has averaged 2.07 three-pointers per game.
FANTASTIC FRANCIS – Rookie Torin Francis is averaging 9.0 points and a team-leading 10.0 rebounds through Notre Dame’s first six games and has registered a team-high three doubles – versus IUPUI, Bucknell and Albany. Against the Jaguars, Francis scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first career double double, and followed that with 11 points and 20 rebounds against the Bison. The 20 rebounds were the most ever by an Irish freshman and the most since former Irish All-American Troy Murphy grabbed 20 rebounds against Seton Hall on January 8, 2001. In the win over the Great Danes on Saturday, he had 15 points and 15 rebounds.
BREY SHOWS IRISH THE WAY ON THE ROAD – Notre Dame played just 13 homes games during the 2001-02 campaign, but found life on the road to be rather friendly. The Irish were 8-4 in contests played on the opponent’s home floor and were 5-3 in neutral site contests for an overall record of 13-7 away from the Joyce Center. In Brey’s first season, Notre Dame was 6-4 on the road and 2-2 in neutral site games for an overall record of 8-6. In two-plus seasons under Brey, Notre Dame has a 14-8 (.636) road mark and 8-6 (.571) mark in neutral site contests. Over the past two-plus seasons, Irish teams have compiled a 22-14 (.611) record playing away from home.
IRONMAN – Matt Carroll played in his 100th career game in Notre Dame’s win over Belmont and has seen action in 105 career games in an Irish uniform. He has started all but eight of those games and has missed just one contest (Miami (Fla.) on the road last season) because of an ankle injury in 106 career games. It is likely that he will break David Graves’ (1998-02) games played career mark of 130.
119 AND COUNTING – Heading into tonigh’s game against Furman, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 119 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, 2002, 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, 2002.
ONE OF JUST 12 – Getting back into the NCAA tournament the last two seasons has put Notre Dame in rather elite company as the Irish were one of just 12 schools to win at least one NCAA game in both 2001 and 2002. The list also includes: Arizona, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kent State, Kentucky, Maryand, Missouri, Stanford and UCLA.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION – Head coach Mike Brey and the Irish once again will receive tremendous exposure with 10 nationally-televised games on CBS, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. Notre Dame was featured on national television 16 times in the regular season during the past two seasons. THE NATIONAL LINEUP Mon., Dec. 2 vs. Marquette (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN2 Mon., Jan. 6 at Pittsburgh (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN Sat., Jan. 18 at Kentucky (2:00 p.m.) – CBS Sat., Jan. 25 at Boston College (2:00 p.m.) – ESPN Sun., Feb. 9 vs. Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m.) – ABC Sat., Feb. 15 at Syracuse (1:00 p.m.) – ESPN Mon., Feb. 24 vs. Connecticut (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN Sat., Mar. 1 at Rutgers (4:00 p.m.) – ESPN2 Tue., Mar. 4 vs. Syracuse (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN2
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL – During the 2000-01 and 2001-02 campaigns (63 games), Notre Dame averaged 18.3 assists and just 13.7 turnovers for a 1.34 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish ranked third last season with a 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio and ninth in ’01-’02 with a 1.23 ratio. Notre Dame’s 629 assists last season were second-most in school history – the 1999-2000 team had 643 assists in 37 games for a 17.4 assist per game average. Against Bucknell and Furman, Notre Dame had more turnovers than assists, which marked just the third and fourth time that has happened in the last 39 contests. During the 2001-02 season, only twice did the Irish have more turnovers than assists. Notre Dame had 23 assists and turned the ball over just 14 times against Albany. This season, Notre Dame owns a 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio.
JONES PROVIDES THE SPARK – Torrian Jones has been a spark for Notre Dame off the bench this season; its been his defensive presence that has ignited the Irish. Against Bucknell, it was his offensive play that helped produce the win as he scored 13 points (on 6-8 shooting from the field) while playing a season-high 21 minutes. Against Furman, he also played 21 minutes and scored nine points, while making a career-high four steals. He is averaging 6.0 points and 2.2 rebounds.
IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING – Chris Thomas continues to be one of Notre Dame’s most unselfish players. As a freshman, he ranked fifth nationally with a 7.64 assist average. Already this season, Thomas is averaging 6.3 assists in the first six Irish games. His 11 assists against IUPUI marked the 10th time in 39 career games that he dished off 10-plus assists in a game.
TWENTY SOMETHING – Chris Thomas has scored 20-plus points in three of Notre Dame’s last four games. He had three straight 20-point outings for the first time in his career against Bucknell, Furman and Creighton. Thomas had 20 points against the Bison and Paladins and then tossed in a season-high 22 points in the loss to the Blue Jays in the championship game of the Guardians Classic. Last season, he began his career by registering 24 and 22 points in the first two games of the season versus New Hampshire and Cornell. He also had back-to-back 20-plus point outings against Rutgers (32) and Georgetown (22) and West Virginia (26) and Miami (32). Thomas has scored 20-plus points in 12 of his 39 career games.
MAKING THE “QUINN”-ESSENTIAL POINT – Freshman Chris Quinn has played in all six games for the Irish and had his best outing of the season in Notre Dame’s loss to Creighton as he came off the bench to play 20 minutes (tying a personal high) to score nine points as he connected on three-of-four shots from three-point range. Against Albany, he finished with six points, five assists and five steals in 18 minutes. He is averaging 15.5 minutes and 4.8 points. In addition, he is shooting 52.6 percent from the field (10-19) and 56.3 percent from three-point range (9-16).
TOM TERRIFIC – A lower back problem forced Tom Timmermans to miss three games this season, but the junior center has been impressive for the Irish in the last two outings. His strong play will earn him his first career start tonight against Marquette. After missing the first two contests against Belmont and IUPUI, he played nine minutes against Bucknell and finished with two rebounds. He did not see action against Furman, but played 21 minutes in the loss Creighton and had six points and six rebounds. In the win over Albany, he played 18 minutes off the bench and finished with five points and four rebounds.
DECISIVE FIRST-HALF RUNS – In the first four games of the season – Belmont, IUPUI, Bucknell and Furman – it was runs in the final eight minutes of the first half that were the catalysts for the rest of the game in leading the Irish to victory. * Against Belmont, Notre Dame led 26-21 with 2:57 remaining and closed out the half with a 14-5 run for a 40-21 halftime advantage. * In the IUPUI game, Notre Dame trailed 23-22 with 6:34 left before the game, but used a 18-5 run to gain a 40-28 haltime lead. * Leading by seven (23-16) with 4:41 remaining in the first half, Notre Dame outscored Bucknell 17-5 for a 40-21halftime lead. * Notre Dame leads Furman 23-17 with 7:49 remaining in the half before a 16-6 run breaks it open as the Irish grab a 16-point (39-23) halftime advantage.
BROTHERLY LOVE – Three members of the Notre Dame squad have brothers playing at other Division I schools. Matt Carroll’s brother Pat is a sophomore at St. Joseph’s (Pa.); Jordan Cornette’s brother Joel is a senior at Butler; and Jere Macura has a brother Petar who is a freshman at IUPUI. Jere and Petar both saw action on the floor at the same time in Monday night’s matchup.
LUSTIG ADDED TO IRISH ROSTER – Senior Dan Lustig has joined the Irish as a walk-on for the 2002-03 campaign. The 6-5, 195-pound guard hails from Alexandria, Ind., and attended Alexandria Monroe High School. He led his high school prep team to the 1998 Indiana Class II-A state championship and an appearance in the semifinals in 1999. A member of the Irish Guard, he is the sixth family member of nine children to attend Notre Dame. He will wear No. 24 this season.
ND-DEPAUL GAME TIME MOVED – The Notre Dame-DePaul game, originally scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Saturday, December 14, has been pushed up to a 5:00 p.m. start. The game will be televised by WGN in Chicago and will be the 90th meeting between the two schools.
KEVIN WHITE RADIO SHOW – A weekly half-hour talk show featuring Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White airs on Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000 (1000 AM in Chicago, www.espnradio1000.com). In its third season, “The Kevin White Show” can be heard in 35 states Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. Central time. White welcomes to the show a series of guests and prominent figures associated with college athletics, including administrators, coaches and media members.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED RANKS NOTRE DAME 15TH – In the October 7, 2002 issue of Sports Illustrated, Notre Dame was ranked the 15th best Sports College among Division I schools for the 2001-02 school year. Texas and Stanford finished first and second, respectively. SI combined a variety of factors in arriving at its 2002 rankings, which included performance during the school year in five sports (baseball, football, hockey and men’s and women’s basketball); position in the ’01-’02 Sears Cup NCAA all-sports standings; number of varsity, club and intramural sports; range of recreational facilities; and whether or not spirit-boosting events like Midnight Madness were held.
USA TODAY/NCAA ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Notre Dame received a 2002 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Award for graduating 90 percent of its freshmen student-athletes who enrolled in 1995. Now in its second year, the awards were presented in late September of 2002 to 10 institutions with the highest overall graduation rates for scholarship student-athletes who began college in the 1995-96 academic year. Rice University finished with a rate of 91 percent, one percentage higher than Notre Dame, Stanford and Duke.
IRISH INK TWO IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD – Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey signed two players to national letters of intent during the early signing period – Colin Falls, a 6-4, 200-pound shooting guard out of Park Ridge, Ill., and Omari Isreal, a 6-8, 210-pound forward from Rockville, Md. Falls averaged 24.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists during his junior season at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill. In addition, he captured first-team all-Chicago Catholic League honors for the second consecutive year, while also earning second-team all-state accolades. Isreal averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in his junior season at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Wheaton, Md. An all-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) second-team selection each of the last two years, he earned first team all-county honors from both the Montgomery County Journal and Montgomery County Gazette.
BASKETBALL LUNCHEON SET FOR JANUARY 28, 2003 – The second of two Notre Dame basketball luncheons will be held on Tues., January 28 at noon. Mike Brey and several Irish players will be featured at the event. Tickets are $16.00 each and can be ordered by writing to the Notre Dame Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, Ind., 46556. Checks may be made payable to the University of Notre Dame. Reservation forms are also available at the Joyce Center ticket windows. Telephone reservations are not accepted. For information call 574-631-5031.
TOUGH TICKET AT THE JOYCE CENTER – Notre Dame’s first official sellout of the season was against Bucknell. Before the start of the 2002-03 campaign, it was announced that six of Irish’s 16 home games had already sold out. In addition, all 3,150 student ticket packages sold out in a record 36 hours after being put on sale. The six sellouts already equalled the total number at the Joyce Center during the entire 2001-02 campaign. The last time Notre Dame has seven or more sellouts in a season was during the 1994-95 season when nine game drew a capacity crowd of 11.418 at the Joyce Center. The upcoming games already sold out are: Marquette (Dec. 2), DePaul (Dec. 14), Georgetown (Feb. 1), Pittsburgh (Feb. 9), Virginia Tech (Feb. 22) and Connecticut (Feb. 24). There are a limited number of bleacher seats remaining for the Syracuse contest on March 4.
DRAFT ANALYSIS – Former Irish standout Ryan Humphrey was chosen as the 19th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, marking the second straight year Notre Dame has had a player chosen in the first round. In 2001, former two-time consensus All-American Troy Murphy was tabbed as the 14th pick overall. Humphrey became the 12th Irish player in the program’s history to be chosen in the first round. Notre Dame is one of just four schools (the others include Duke, Indiana and Stanford) to have had at least one player chosen in the first round of each of the last two NBA drafts.