Dec. 5, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. –
SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame (5-1) faces its second top 10 team in as many games in this afternoon’s matchup with Maryland (3-1) in the first round of the BB&T Classic. The Irish are coming off a 21-point win (92-71) against 10th-ranked Marquette at the Joyce Center on Monday night. It was Notre Dame’s first win over a top 10 team since Irish head coach Mike Brey’s first season when that Irish squad defeated Boston College (10th in AP and 9th in ESPN/USA Today polls).
The 91 points were the most scored by an Irish team over a ranked opponent since a 101-98 victory over Syracuse (ranked 10th at the time) on Feb. 15, 1992 at the Carrier Dome and the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent since Notre Dame beat then third-ranked Missouri 98-67 on March 3, 1990.
The Irish last played two top 10 teams in consecutive outings during the 2000-01 campaign against Syracuse and Georgetown. Notre Dame defeated both the Orangemen (74-60) at home and then posted a 78-71 victory over the Hoyas at the MCI Center. It marked the first time in school history that an Irish team registered back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents.
Notre Dame has experienced much success at the MCI Center in recent outings as the Irish own a 3-1 record in the building. Since a 76-56 loss to Georgetown on February 7, 1998, Notre Dame has won three straight, including last year’s four-overtime 116-111 victory over the Hoyas – the longest game in Irish and BIG EAST history. Mike Brey is 2-0 coaching in the MCI Center.
Today’s game will be the 17th meeting between the two teams with the series tied at 8-8. Maryland has been victorious the last two times the schools have played each other. The Irish and Terrapins last faced each other on Nov. 26, 1999 in the consolation game of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square as Maryland came away with a 72-67 victory. Prior to that contest, the two schools had not played each other since a February 2, 1988 meeting at Notre Dame (a 78-75Terrapin victory).
This weekend’s two games at the BB&T Classic will be the only two road games Notre Dame will play until a January 4, 2003 meeting with Valparaiso at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. Following the two contests, the Irish will have three home games remaining during the month of December – DePaul (Dec. 14), Canisius (Dec. 22) and Vanderbilt (Dec. 30). That’s a stark contrast from last year when Notre Dame played just one home game (vs. Colgate) during the entire month of December.
Notre Dame had a season-high five players in double figures in its win over Marquette on Monday night. Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) matched his career-high with 32 points against the Golden Eagles. He also recorded his ninth career double double as he finished with 10 assists. In addition, Thomas grabbed five rebounds and made two steals in 39 minutes. Dan Miller (Mt. Holly, N.J.) scored 20 points, which followed a career-high 22-point performance two days earlier. Matt Carroll (Horsham, Pa.) finished with 14 points, while Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio) added a personal best 12 minutes and Torin Francis (Roslindale, Mass.) added 11 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth double double of the season.
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 55.9 points in the first seven games of the season. The Irish have held five of their 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 the 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 81.4 points per game and its average margin of victory is 25.5 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 goal 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 shot just 30.6 percent from the field, converting just 19 of its 62 field goal attempts.
Thomas’ leads the team in scoring with an 18.7 points per game average, and 6.9 assists per game. He has scored 20-plus points in four of Notre Dame’s last five games. Prior to the Albany game one week ago, he had scored 20-plus points in each of Notre Dame’s previous three outings against Bucknell, Furman and Creighton. He is the second-leading scorer averaging 16.5 points per game. In addition to leading the team in scoring and assists, Thomas is tied with Carroll as the team leader in steals (2.3).
Carroll owns a 17.1 scoring average (second best on the team) and is averaging 6.1 rebounds. He has scored 20-plus points in two games this season – versus IUPUI (26 points) and Creighton (20 points). Carroll has been the only Irish player to score in double figures in all seven gams this season; he was held to a season-low 13 points in the win against Bucknell. 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, has now scored 20-plus points in six of his last 11 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.
Miller, who sat out last year after transferring to Notre Dame following three seasons at Maryland, also is averaging career bests of 17.0 points and 7.4 rebounds. He produced his second straight 20-point outing (a first in his career) in finishing with 20 points against Marquette, which came off of his career-high 22-point outing against Albany. 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. He has scored in double figures in six of seven games already this season. In three seasons at Maryland, he scored in double figures 19 times.
Francis leads the team in double doubles this season with four following his 11-point and 13-rebound outing versus Marquette. That came after scoring 15 points and grabbing 15 rebounds against Albany. He is averaging 9.3 points and a team-best 10.4 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.
Quinn has gotten significant playing minutes in Notre Dame’s last three games as he has averaged 21.3 minutes and 9.0 points. Quinn hit five-of-eight shots from the field against Marquette on Monday night in registering his career-high 12 points. He is shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 55.0 percent three-point range.
Tom Timmermans (Driehuis, Netherlands) made his career start in Monday night’s game against the Golden Eagles, but played just six minutes. Prior to that game, the Irish center had played well off the bench in Notre Dame’s two outings against Creighton and Albany. Timmermans logged a season-best 21 minutes against the Blue Jays 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 3.3 points and 3.5 rebounds.
Jordan Cornette (Cincinnati, Ohio) started the first five games of the season. He has had a real impact for the Irish on the defensive end of the floor. Cornette is averaging 3.0 points and 5.1 rebounds, in addition to 3.6 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 IUPUI, 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 5.3 points and 2.0 rebounds. He has come off the bench in all seven games and is averaging 17.7 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.
GUARDIANS CLASSIC RECAP (Kanas City, Mo.) – vs. Furman (semifinal): Chris Thomas and Dan Miller scored 20 points each to lead the Irish into the championship game with a 75-50 victory over Furman in the semifinals. Notre Dame held 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 rebounds, 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 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 as 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 48-22 mark (.686) 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 147-74 (.665) 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.
BREY VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS – As a head coach at both Notre Dame and Delaware, Mike Brey has coached in 23 games against ranked opponents. The Irish were 3-6 and 4-3 during the 2001-02 and 2000-01 campaigns, respectively. Overall, in his seven-play seasons as a head coach, he owns an 8-15 record all-time against ranked opponents.
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. MARYLAND – The series between the two schools is tied at 8-8 with Maryland having won the last two matchups. The Terrapins and Irish last played each other in the consolation game of the Preseason NIT as Maryland came away with a 72-65 victory. That had been the first meeting between the two institutions since February 2, 1988 at Notre Dame as the Terrapins prevailed 78-75. The last time and Irish defeated Maryland was December 31, 1986 in College Park, Md., 63-50.
NOTRE DAME VS. ACC – Notre Dame owns 22-55 mark all-time versus teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, but has lost 11 straight to ACC foes. The last time an Irish team defeated an ACC foe was on January 11, 1992 at Madison Square Garden against North Carolina as Notre Dame posted an 88-76 victory. Mike Brey is 0-6 all-time against ACC teams.
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.
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 411-122 record all-time for a .771 winning percentage. The Irish are 26-8 (.765) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s two seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, own a 76-27 mark for a 73.8 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 1511-829 record all-time for a .646 winning percentage.
IRISH FIND SUCCESS AT THE MCI CENTER – Notre Dame is 3-1 all-time in games played at the MCI Center. All four of its games have been played against Georgetown. The 1997-98 Irish squad dropped a 76-56 decision the first time a Notre Dame squad took to the floor of the MCI Center on February 7, 1998. The first win came on March 4, 2000 in a 77-54 victory. The following year, Notre Dame earned a 78-71 on January 27, 2001. Last season the two teams played an epic four-overtime contest with the Irish prevailing 60 minutes later with a 116-111 victory.
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 six 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 34.5 percent from the field and 32.2 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 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’s 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 70 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 MEET DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS FOR 31st TIME – Notre Dame’s matchup against Maryland will mark the 31st time an Irish team has faced a team that had won the national title the previous year. Notre Dame owns a 7-23 mark in the 30 previous times it has played against a team which won the NCAA crown the year before. Last year, the Irish played Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Greenville, S.C., and dropped an 84-77 decision. Notre Dame’s 1999-00 squad beat Connecticut twice – 75-70 at the Harford Civic Center and 68-66 at the Joyce Center – the season after the Huskies claimed the ’99 NCAA title.
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.
HE’S IRISH NOW – The last time Notre Dame and Maryland played each in the consolation of the Preseason NIT, Dan Miller was wearing a Terrapin uniform. Miller started the game and played 32 minutes, while finishing with 12 points and four rebounds. Current Irish players Matt Carroll and Jere Macura played in the game. Maryland won the game 72-67 to claim third-place in the tournament.
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 seven 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 11 games in an Irish uniform. Carroll has scored 20-plus points 12 times during his career. He is the only Notre Dame player who has scored in double figures in all seven games.
MILLER TIME – After sitting out the 2001-02 campaign following his transfer to Notre Dame in the summer of 2001, Dan Miller has made the most of first seven games in an Irish uniform. He has recorded double doubles in the Belmont and IUPUI contests and has scored in double figures in all but one contest (Creighton). Miller also has registered 20-point outings in three of the last three games – 20 points versus Furman and Marquette 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 during the 2002-03 campaign. Carroll is third on the all-time list with 218, needing just 42 to break the record. Ryan Hoover (1992-96) currently is second with 248. In 106 career games played, Carroll has averaged 2.06 three-pointers per game.
FANTASTIC FRANCIS – Rookie Torin Francis is averaging 9.3 points and a team-leading 10.4 rebounds through Notre Dame’s first six games and has registered a team-high four doubles – versus IUPUI, Bucknell, Albany and Marquette. In Monday night’s win against the Golden Eagles, he scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Against the Jaguars, Francis scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first career double double, and finished 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 seven days ago, 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 106 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 107 career games overall. It is likely that he will break David Graves’ (1998-02) games played career mark of 130.
120 AND COUNTING – Heading into todays’s game with Maryland, Notre Dame has hi