Notre Dame forward Torin Francis (34) drives the lane against Marquette forward Ousmane Barro (41). (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

Notre Dame Falls To Marquette, 80-72

Feb. 25, 2006

Notre Dame Marquette Box Score

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Steve Novak scored 21 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers during a key 9-0 run, and Dominic James added 18 points to lead Marquette to an 80-72 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.

Notre Dame (13-12, 4-10 Big East) opened a 56-51 lead when Chris Quinn hit a 3-pointer to cap a 7-2 run. The Golden Eagles (19-8, 9-5), who lead the league in 3-point field-goal percentage, responded with three straight 3-pointers, one by Dan Fitzgerald and two by Novak to move ahead 60-56. They extended the lead to five points 50 seconds later on another 3-pointer by Joe Chapman.

After Russell Carter made a pair of free throws for Notre Dame to cut the lead to 63-60, the Golden Eagles went on a 10-2 run – making 6-of-6 free throws.

The Irish managed to cut the lead to 75-70 on a 3 by Colin Falls, his first basket of the game after missing his first nine shots. But Notre Dame couldn’t get any closer.

Novak added 11 rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who were 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the second half after going 3-for-14 in the first half. Chapman had 11 points and Fitzgerald had 10.

Carter led the Irish with 20 points. Torin Francis finished with 16 points and a season-high 15 rebounds after posting 10 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. Kyle McAlarney added 14 points and Quinn had 12 – almost seven points below his season average. Falls, Notre Dame’s second leading scorer at 14.6 points a game, had five points, all scored in the final 35 seconds.

Notre Dame, which trailed 38-35 at halftime, fell into a tie for second-to-last place in the league. With only 12 of 16 teams making the Big East tournament, the Irish probably need to beat Providence and DePaul in their final two games to become eligible.