Dec. 22, 2003
QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS (2-5) AT NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (4-3)
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Place: Joyce Center (11,418)
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)
Television: WCTX (New Haven, Conn.) – Glenn Conticello (play-by-play analyst) and Bill Mecca (color analyst)
Radio: Notre Dame Sports Properties (Jack Lorri, Jack Nolan) originates the Notre Dame Radio Network (includes WNDV 92.9 FM and 1490 AM in South Bend, Ind./Michiana Region, Elkhart, Michigan City, Gary and Hammond), ESPN 1000 AM) in Chicagoland Area), ESPN 950 AM (Indianapolis), WGL 1250 in Fort Wayne), WEFM 95.9 in Michigan City and Gary and WLUV AM 1520 (Rockford, DeKalb, Beloit, Janesville). All radio broadcasts can also be heard through the World Wide Web at www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for all home games, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
- The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of basketball at Notre Dame.
- Tonight’s game is the second in just over 48 hours for the Irish. Notre Dame is coming off of a 78-74 victory on Sunday afternoon against American. Following this evening’s game, the Irish will close out the month of December with a home game against Morehead State on December 28.
- Mike Brey earned his 70th win along the Irish sidelines on Sunday afternoon. He owns a 70-34 (.673) overall record as the Irish head coach in three-plus seasons. Brey coached in his 100th game on December 1 and in his 250th career game against Mount St. Mary’s on November 29.
- This will be the 20th time that Notre Dame will be playing on December 23. The Irish are 7-12 all-time when playing on this day.
- Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 16-1 all-time during the month of November and owns a 17-7 mark in the month of December. The Irish finished with a perfect 6-0 mark in December during the 2002-03 season.
- Notre Dame is 19-4 in its last 23 games at the Joyce Center. Before losses to Connecticut and Syracuse in the final two contests of the 2002-03 season, the Irish owned a 16-game homecourt win streak. Since that time, the Irish are 3-4 in their last seven home games.
- Following this late December homestand, which ends December 28 against Morehead State, Notre Dame will be off until January 7 when the Irish open up BIG EAST play against West Virginia at the Joyce Center.
- Tonight’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Quinnipiac. The Bobcats are one of three first-time opponents on the Irish schedule this season. Notre Dame played Mount St. Mary’s for the first time ever on November 30 and came away with a 78-74 victory. The Irish’s matchup with Morehead State on December 30 will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
- Notre Dame won for the second time in as many games with Sunday’s afternoon’s victory. The Irish had not played in seven days following an 82-69 victory over DePaul on December 21 which ended a three-game losing skid.
- Notre Dame’s three losses have been by a total of 18 points. It’s win at DePaul had been the first in the month December and the first in 15 days. Prior to that, the Irish had not been victorious in more than two weeks with their last victory coming at home against Mount St. Mary’s 78-64 on November 30.
- Notre Dame’s defense is allowing 68.3 points per game. The 74 points allowed by the Irish against American were the most scored by an opponent this season. Prior to the contest, no opponent had scored more than 71 points against Notre Dame. The Irish defense has held five of those seven foes to under 70 points.
- Quinnipiac owns a 2-5 mark entering tonight’s game and has suffered back-to-back road losses to Drexel (79-72) and Connecticut (88-55). This is the Bobcats first game since suffering the loss to the Huskies. Quinnipiac lost its first three games of the season before picking up its first two wins of the season against Dartmouth and Hawaii-Hilo at the Hawaii-Hilo Tournament. The Bobcats have yet to play a home game this season and will play their first home game on December 30 against Northern Arizona.
- Heading into the DePaul game, Notre Dame had struggled with its shooting from the field, hitting just 38.7 percent of their field goal attempts. The Irish, however, have seemed to regain their shooting form as they have connected on better than 50.0 percent of their shots the last two games. Against the Blue Demons, the Irish shot 50.9 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range, converting a season-high 11 field goals on 24 attempts. In the win over American, Notre Dame connected on 51.1 percent from the field, including an 11-16 shooting performance in the second half (68.8 percent). The Irish also connected on a season-best 54.5 percent from three-point range. This is the first time that Notre Dame has shot better than 50 percent in back-to-back contests since last season – at Georgetown in the regular season finale (26-51 – 51.0 percent) and against St. John’s in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament (28-56 – 50.0 percent).
- For the second straight game, and third time this season, Notre Dame had more assists (14) than turnovers (7). The seven turnovers by the Irish were a season-low and marked the second time Notre Dame had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game this season. In the season opener against Northern Illinois, Notre Dame dished off 14 assists and turned the ball over just eight times. In the last two games against DePaul and American, Notre Dame has committed a total of 17 turnovers (8.5 per game).
- Overall this season, Notre Dame owns a 1.14 assist-to-turnover ratio with 98 assists and 86 turnovers. The Irish are averaging 14.0 assists and 12.3 turnovers.
- The Irish have faced injury woes this season. Seniors Torrian Jones and TomTimmermans both did not dress for the Central Michigan game. Jones was bothered by a hip flexor and Timmermans has seen limited action (and missed four games – Mount St. Mary’s, Central Michigan, Indiana and DePaul) because of a back injury. Jordan Cornette’s play was been somewhat restricted in the first five contests due to a sore knee. Rick Cornett suffered a sprained ankle in practice on December 18 and did not dress for Sunday’s game against American.
- Three Irish players are netting double figures with Chris Thomas leading the team with an 19.9 scoring average. Torin Francis is averaging a double double with averages of 15.4 points and 10.6 rebounds. Chris Quinn is the third Irish player in double figures with an 12.3 scoring average.
- Chris Thomas scored a season-high 28 points, including 11 in the final 3:18 of the contest, against American. For the second straight game he had five assists and just one turnover. He has played 79 of a possible 80 minutes in the last two games and is averaging just one turnover every 39.5 minutes.
- Chris Quinn tossed in a career-high 19 points coming off the bench for the second straight game with a personal best five of his six field goals coming from three-point range.
- Colin Falls started his second straight game and made his third starting appearance of the season in Sunday’s win over American. He continued his hot shooting from three-point range as he scored all nine of his points from three-point range. Falls is 9-18 (.500) from three-point range in the last three games.
- Torrian Jones has started all six games he has played and is averaging 7.7 points as the team’s fourth-leading scorer.
- Jordan Cornette replaced Rick Cornett in the starting lineup agianst American. It marked the sixth start in seven games for Cornette. In his previous outing against DePaul, he finished with a career-high 17 points. Cornette was awarded the Wendell Smith Award, as the game’s MVP. Cornett shot 6-10 from the field and was 5-7 from three-point range. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 34 minutes.
- Chris Thomas has scored in double figures in 27 consecutive games (dating back to last season) and has netted 20-plus points on 29 occasions during his career.
- Torin Francis has registered three double doubles this season – Nothern Illinois (24 pts., 19 rebs.), Central Michigan (10 pts., 12 rebs.) and Indiana (13 pts., 14 rebs.). He has 13 career double doubles.
- Free throw shooting continues to be a bonus with 24.9 percent of the Irish’s points coming from the charity stripe. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 127-61 from the line and attempted 73 (161-88) more free throws.
- Five Notre Dame players are averaging better than 30 minutes per game – Chris Thomas (37.4), Torin Francis (35.4), Chris Quinn (34.4), Torrian Jones (31.5) and Jordan Cornette (30.7).
IRISH PLAYER TIDBITS:
- Chris Thomas continues to lead the team in scoring as he is averaging a career-best 19.9 points per game. He is coming off a 28-point performance in Sunday’s win over American. Thomas was key down the stretch for the Irish as he tallied 11 points in the final 3:18 of the contest. It marked the fourth time this season he has scored 20-plus points. Thomas has scored in double figtures in 27 straight games dating back to last season and has reached double digits in 62 of 74 career contests. The last time Thomas failed to score in double figures was against Pittsburgh on the road (January 6, 2003) when he netted just five points. He dished off seven assists against Northern Illinois which marked the 39th time in his career that he has dished out seven or more assists in a game. Thomas is one of just five players in Notre Dame history who has dished off 500-plus assists. He owns a career assist total of 523.
- Chris Quinn started the first five games of the season, but has come off the bench in each of the last two games against DePaul and American. He has averaged 15.0 points in the last two games, which included a career-high 18-point performance against the Eagles. Quinn is averaging career bests of 12.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in addition to 3.3 assists. In addition, he has played the third-most minutes of any Irish player (34.4 per game). In just his fourth collegiate start, he played all 40 minutes in Notre Dame’s loss to Central Michigan. Quinn has scored in double figures in five of seven contests this season and in seven career games overall.
- Torin Francis has posted a double double in three games this season. In 41 career outings (all starts), he has has 13 career double doubles. Francis is Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer (15.4 ppg.) and leading rebounder (10.6). In addition, he leads the team with 2.4 blocked shots per game. He has scored 20-plus points in two contests, netting 24 in the season opener against Northern Illinois and 23 in the December 1 loss at Marquette. In the season opener versus Northern Illinois, he scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Dating back to last season, he has had six doubles doubles in the last 13 games. Francis also has scored 20-plus points on six occasions and has registered 10 or more rebounds 15 times. He has scored in double figures on 26 occasions and in each of Notre Dame’s last eight outings.
- Torrian Jones has started all six games he has played. He missed the Central Michigan game with a hip flexor and did not dress. He is averaging 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. Jones has scored in double figures in two of the six games he played – 14 points versus Marquette and 12 against Mount St. Mary’s – and seven times during his career. His double-digit scoring efforts in both of those games marked the first time in his career that he has scored in double figures in consecutive outings. In addition to his 12 points against the Mountaineers, he had seven rebounds and career-high six assists.
- Jordan Cornette has started six of the season games. He started the Irish’s first five contests before coming off the bench in the sixth game of the season against DePaul. That outing proved to be his best in an Irish uniform as Cornette finished with 17 points against the Blue Demons which marked the second time in his career that he has reached double figures. He has 106 career blocks in an Irish uniform. His season-high 10 rebounds against Marquette marked the fifth time in his career with 10 or more rebounds. Cornette returned to the starting lineup in Sunday’s win over American. He replaced Rick Cornett in the starting rotation after he went down with an ankle injury in practice three days before the game.
- Tom Timmermans has seen limited playing time (two games) this season due to a sore back. He missed the Mount St. Mary’s game after playing 12 minutes in the season opener against Northern Illinois. He played just three minutes against Marquette and did not dress for both the Central Michigan and Indiana contests. Timmermans did dress for the game against American, but did not play.
- Rick Cornett averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in the first six games in 9.5 minutes per game. He missed the American game on Sunday after suffering a sprained ankle in practice on December 18. In his first career start in the win at DePaul on December 14, he played a career-high 16 mintues and finished with 10 points (on 4-6 shooting from the field) and grabbed five rebounds.
- Colin Falls is averaging 22.4 minutes per game while netting 6.4 points and grabbing 1.7 rebounds. He earned his first career start against Central Michigan and played 33 minutes. Falls has started each of the last two games versus DePaul and American. He made his second start of the season against the Blue Demons and finished with a career-high 12 points, the second time in his career that he has scored in double figures. Falls has averaged 10.0 points (40 points) in Notre Dame’s last four outings. He netted nine points in the win over the Eagles on Sunday and had 11 and nine points against Central Michigan and Indiana, respectively. Falls scored a combined five points in Notre Dame’s first three games.
- Russell Carter saw action for the first time in his career coming off the bench against Mount St. Mary’s and recorded the first collegiate points of his career when he hit a three-pointer at the buzzer right before the end of the first half. He has seen action in four games this season.
SERIES RECORD VS. QUINNIPIAC:
This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
NOTRE DAME VS. NORTHEAST CONFERENCE:
This is the second time Notre Dame will be facing a team from the Northeast Conference this season. The Irish faced Mount St. Mary’s in the second game of the season and defeated the Mountaineers 78-64. Notre Dame teams are 20-0 all-time versus teams from the NEC. The conference school that has shown up most on the Irish schedule is St. Francis (Pa.) as Notre Dame has won all 10 meetings between the two institutions.
For the first time in the 99-year history of the Notre Dame men’s basketball program, four players will be serving as team captains. Seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans and juniors Jordan Cornette and Chris Thomas will serve as the Irish captains for the upcoming 2003-04 campaign.
Notre Dame played host to 10 sellouts at the Joyce Center during the 2002-03 season – the most since the 1985-86 campaign when 14 of the team’s 17 games drew a record capacity crowd. Three games last season – Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Syracuse – produced the largest crowds to ever witness a Notre Dame basketball game – 11,480. Already this season, seven games are already sold out – Indiana, Kentucky, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Georgetown. Student tickets (2,800 to students, 400 to band and Notre Dame student-athletes) were sold out in 5-1/2 hours. Last season, student ticket packages were sold out in 36 hours.
IRISH IN NOVEMBER UNDER BREY:
Notre Dame played just two games in the month of November. Each of the past two campaigns, the Irish have played six games during the first month of the season. Notre Dame owns a 16-1 record during the month of November under head coach Mike Brey. In 2001-02, the Irish completed November with a perfect 6-0 slate. It marked the most wins ever by a Notre Dame team in the month of November. The only loss suffered by the Irish during the month of November under Brey was an 80-75 setback in the championship game of the Guardians Classic in Kansas City, Mo., last season.
HOME SWEET HOME:
Since the inaugural season (1968-69) at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 423-126 record all-time for a .776 winning percentage. The Irish are 38-12 (.760) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s three seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own an 88-31 mark for a .739 winning percentage. Notre Dame was 14-2 at home in 2002-03, winning 10-plus games for the sixth time in seven years. The Irish have won 19 of their last 23 games at home, but have dropped four of the last seven on their homecourt dating back to last season.
THE IRISH ALL-TIME:
The 2003-04 campaign marks the 99th season of men’s basketball at Notre Dame. Irish teams have posted a 1532-841 record for a .646 winning percentage.
Notre Dame begins the 2003-04 campaign by playing eight of its first 10 games at home. That’s an advantage the Irish did not enjoy two years ago (2001-02) when they were on the road for eight of their first 11 contests.
Over the course of the last three-plus seasons, Notre Dame teams have played well in its non-conference tuneups before the start of the BIG EAST regular season during the months of November and December. Irish teams own an impressive 32-8 (.800) combined record. Six of the 38 games have been against ranked opponents and have included wins against Cincinnati (2000), Marquette (2002), Maryland (2002) and Texas (2002).
NEW BIG EAST LOOK:
The BIG EAST Conference will play under a new league format in which every team will play each other at least once and three other schools twice during the regular season. Notre Dame is slated to play Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Syracuse twice as part of its 16-game conference slate.
The past three seasons have seen the 14-team league play under a two seven-team divisional format. Under the former system, the teams were broken down into the East and West divisions. Each school played 12 divisional contests on a home-and-home basis and crossover opponents against teams from the other divsion (two at home and two on the road), but did not face three schools from the opposite division.
In addition to its home-and-home series with the Huskies, Panthers and Orangemen, Notre Dame’s conference home slate this season also includes matchups against Georgetown, Miami, Providence, Seton Hall and West Virginia. The Irish are scheduled for road games at Boston College, Rutgers, St. John’s, Villanova and Virginia Tech.
Twelve teams will once again advance to the ’04 BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden, March 10-13, with the top four finishers during the regular season receiving a first-round bye.