Jan 12, 2003
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame wasn’t about to lose another physical game.
Chris Thomas scored 22 points, Matt Carroll had 19 points and eight rebounds, and the fifth-ranked Irish put together a workmanlike effort to beat Seton Hall 74-64 Sunday, six days after their worst loss in three seasons under coach Mike Brey.
“We moved on,” Carroll said. “We learned from it. We knew what had to do.”
The Irish (13-2, 1-1 Big East) were outmuscled by No. 6 Pittsburgh in a 17-point loss on Monday. Against the Pirates (5-7, 0-3), the Irish held their own.
More importantly, the Irish drove to the basket continuously and forced fouls. They shot 22-for-29 from the line, while the Pirates shot 8-for-9.
The disparity angered Seton Hall coach Louis Orr.
“It’s discouraging for our guys to go in, night in and night out, with the officiating and have to deal with what they’re dealing with every game,” Orr said.
“Tonight, they shoot 29 free throws, we shoot nine. It’s a joke. Does it take 20 wins or being a ranked team to get the same calls? It’s just frustrating. I’m not saying that’s why we lost the game, but it’s discouraging to our guys.”
Brey called the foul line “a great weapon.”
“You can go to the good old, boring foul line and just stick them,” he said.
Andre Barrett, who led the Pirates with 22 points, said his teammates failed to take advantage, even after realizing the officials were calling a tight game.
“We should have went to the basket a little bit more. We settled for too many jump shots,” he said.
Thomas made up for a 2-for-15 shooting performance against Pitts. He was more patient against Seton Hall and, helped by his drives to the basket, shot 7-for-16 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line.
Notre Dame center Torin Francis drives the lane for two of his 10 points.
“He was kind of a stabilizing force for us,” Brey said.
After losing to the Panthers, Thomas didn’t talk to the media the rest of the week, saying he was focusing on the Pirates.
“I had to get back into my rhythm again. I did that this week,” he said.
Torin Francis added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Irish. Kelly Whitney and John Allen each had 12 points for Seton Hall, and J.R. Morris added 11. Whitney also had 14 rebounds.
The Pirates, who trailed by 10 at halftime, cut Notre Dame’s lead to 48-45 when Barrett capped a 9-0 run with a layup with 14:48 left. Carroll countered with a 10-foot jumper, sparking a 9-2 run by the Irish. The Pirates never got closer than six again.
The Irish used a 14-4 run late in the first half en route to a 46-36 halftime lead. Carroll started the spurt, faking two defenders and hitting an 8-footer to give Notre Dame a 30-29 lead.
Francis and Thomas scored five points each and Carroll capped the drive by hitting two free throws to give the Irish a 42-31 lead. The Pirates had three turnovers during the run, including a shot clock violation.
“We had a little spurt, then it was kind of grind the rest of the way,” Brey said. “I thought we did what we needed to do to win the game.”