Nov. 10, 2004

NOTRE DAME, IND. – Solid defense and good shooting were the story as the 20th-ranked Notre Dame men’s basketball team cruised to an 80-61 victory over Quincy University in exhibition play at the Joyce Center on Wednesday night. Junior guard Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) led the Irish in points with a game-high 25 to go along with five assists and four steals. Senior Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) scored 16 points and grabbed a team-high tying six rebounds.

Notre Dame got off to a slow start, falling behind 10-7 with just over 15 minutes left in the opening half. That would be the end of the Irish deficit as they picked up the defensive intensity en route to a 16-0 run. Quinn ignited the surge with a three-pointer and Dennis Latimore (Halstead, Kan./Halstead) made it nine straight points with a slam-dunk after stealing the ball at mid-court. Latimore, who tallied 12 points and four rebounds, capped off the uprising with a jumper on an assist from Quinn at the 11:36 mark. The Irish would maintain a comfortable double-digit lead the rest of the half and take a 19-point advantage (49-30) into the locker room at intermission.

“In the locker room at halftime I was very disappointed with our drop-off in intensity level,” stated Quincy head coach Marty Bell. “I don’t like to blame guys, it’s a team effort, but that portion of the game we had a letdown. We certainly have to work at getting better at that.”

The Irish opened up a 24-point advantage (60-36), their largest of the game, at the 13:31 mark of the second half. The Hawks chipped into the lead and cut it down to 12 (62-50) behind solid play from Phil Gettinger and Jordan Roth, who both scored a team-high 11 points. Notre Dame regained its form of good shooting and tight defense to post a 19-point win.

“I think it’s a step forward from last week (against Saint Joseph’s), which is what we were looking for,” commented Irish head coach Mike Brey, whose team forced 22 turnovers and dished out 19 assists. “I thought we were better defensively. It was nice to see the defense give us a spurt. I thought Dennis (Latimore) really sparked us with some contesting and hustle plays that gave us that spurt. Our guards were really good. Chris (Thomas) and Chris (Quinn) are going to set the tone for us. They are going to be the keys for us. I was glad to see both of them get into a pretty good rhythm.”

Notre Dame shot 50-percent from behind the three-point arc (11-22) with most of that coming from Quinn and Thomas, who shot a combined 9-for-15 from long range. Senior Jordan Cornette (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and junior Torin Francis (Boston, Mass./Tabor Academy) each hauled in six boards for the Irish. Francis scored eight points, while sophomore Russell Carter (Paulsboro, N.J./Paulsboro) chipped in six points off of the bench. Freshman forward Rob Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa./Penn Charter) led the Irish with four blocked shots.

The Fighting Irish open up the regular season on Friday, Nov. 19 as they play host to Harvard. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. at the Joyce Center.

— ND –