Dec 2, 2002
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame coach Mike Brey posted a list of this season’s upsets on the locker room wall. Villanova beating Michigan State, North Carolina over Kansas and Stanford defeating Florida were all included.
“I put up all of the so-called upsets and told them, ‘Why not us?”‘ Brey said.
The Irish not only beat No. 10 Marquette 92-71 on Monday night, it was the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent since an unranked Notre Dame beat No. 3 Missouri 98-67 on March 3, 1990.
Chris Thomas paced the Irish (6-1) with 32 points and 10 assists, driving the lane when he saw openings and hitting 3-pointers when he didn’t.
Thomas was 7-of-9 from the field in the second half, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. The three 3s came during a 17-6 run as the Irish regained control after the Golden Eagles cut the lead to 67-63.
“He continued to slice us up on every front today, whether it was his shooting, his penetration or the assists he had,” Marquette coach Tom Crean said.
The 32 points matched Thomas’s career high set last season against Rutgers. The sophomore guard also had five rebounds.
“He controlled the whole game,” Brey said. “He involved his teammates and took shots when he had them. He made a lot of contributions tonight.”
The Golden Eagles (4-1) made it 67-63 when Travis Diener made two free throws with 9:28 left to cap a 14-6 run that included three-point plays by Robert Jackson and Dwyane Wade.
Wade, Marquette’s leading scorer at 25.3 points a game, was just 2-of-8 from the field in the second half and finished with 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting.
Wade said the Irish, who had used mostly man-to-man defense so far this season, did a good job of switching defenses to keep the Golden Eagles off balance.
“They played great defense on me,” he said. “We’ve got to learn to get through that.”
Notre Dame, playing its seventh game in 16 days, showed no signs of being tired, outrebounding Marquette 44-30 and scoring 14 points off fast breaks while the Golden Eagles only had three.
Forward Dan Miller is grabbed by a Marquette player as he breaks down court during second half action.
Thomas, who averaged 38 minutes a game last season, had no trouble playing 39 minutes against the Golden Eagles. Wade, though, played 35 minutes and looked tired.
“He was just gasping for air because he played so long,” Crean said. “The problem was that he had to continue using all his energy to come back. It was almost counterproductive.”
Danny Miller added 20 points and seven rebounds for the Irish. Matt Carroll had 14 points despite going 1-of-11 from 3-point range, Chris Quinn had 12 points and Torin Francis added 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Diener had 18 points and Scott Merritt and Jackson each had 12 for Marquette. Merritt had nine rebounds and Jackson had eight.
The game was the first in five years between the traditional rivals, who played home-and-home series each season from 1927 through 1959 and 1985 through 1992. They played once annually the following three seasons but had played only once since, a 72-48 win by the Golden Eagles five years ago.
The Irish lead the series 75-29.