Colin Falls and the Irish host Villanova this Saturday.

Notre Dame Opens Season Against Lafayette

Nov. 18, 2005

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The 101st season of Notre Dame basketball tips off with Sunday afternoon with the season opener against Lafayette … The Irish begin the 2005-06 campaign by playing eight of its first 11 games at home … The game begins a six-day stretch in which Notre Dame plays three games in the next six days … Following this afternoon’s matchup, the Irish take on Hofstra on Tues., Nov. 22 and then travel to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the John R. Wooden Tradition where they will face North Carolina State on Sat., Nov. 26 …

Notre Dame won both of its exhibition tuneups with wins over Lewis (59-40) and Quincy (80-53) … Notre Dame returns three starters from last season’s squad that finished with a 17-12 overall record and was sixth in the BIG EAST play with a 9-7 mark … Irish head coach Mike Brey begins his sixth season along the Irish sidelines … Brey has guided Notre Dame to posteason appearances in each of his five seasons along the Irish sidelines (NCAA in 2001, ’02 and ’03 ad NIT in 2004 and ’05) …

Notre Dame’s top returning scorer from a year ago is senior guard Chris Quinn … Quinn was second on the team in scoring and assists in ’04-’05 with averages of 12.6 points and 3.1 assists … Another returning double-figure scorer is junior Colin Falls, who also averaged 12.6 points … Falls was Notre Dame’s leading three-point shooter as a sophomore as he connected on 93 three-point field goals, marking the most ever by an Irish sophomore and third-most in a single-season … Quinn and Falls combined for 159 of the team’s 251 three-point field goals last season …

Three-year starter Torin Francis returns after averaging 9.3 points and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds … Francis led the Irish in rebounding for the third straight year, but his point and rebounding totals from last season marked career lows … Also returning is senior Rick Cornett, coming off of a junior year in which he averaged 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds … Junior Russell Carter is coming off of a sophomore season in which he saw increased playing time, will look to see even greater time in the lineup … Carter averaged 3.5 points and 1.5 rebounds a year ago …

Sophomore Rob Kurz also appears ready to challenge for significant playing time after seeing action in 14 games and averaging 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds … The Irish welcome four freshmen – Ryan Ayers, Zach Hillesland, Kyle McAlarney and Luke Zeller.

Exhibition Recaps:
vs. Lewis: Chris Quinn scored 14 points and Russell Carter added 11 to lead Notre Dame to a 59-40 win in its first exhibition game … The Irish got off to a slow start, shooting just 25.0 percent in the first half (9-36), and holding just a 22-21 lead at the break … In the second half, Notre Dame outscored Lewis 37-19 in the second half and shot 52.2 percent from the field, while limiting the Flyers to 26.7 perecent accuracy (8-30) in the second half … Torin Francis finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots, while Colin Falls and Russell Carter scored eight and seven points, respectively … The Irish owned a 42-36 advantage on the boards and shot 92.3 percent (12-13) from the charity stripe … In addition, Notre Dame blocked 15 shots in the game. vs. Quincy: Chris Quinn scored 20 points to lead four Irish players in double figures as Notre Dame rolled to an 80-53 victory over Quincy in its second and final exhibition test … In addition to his 20 points, Quinn finished with five rebounds and eight assists … Forwards Torin Francis and Rob Kurz combined for 14-15 shooting from the field as the frontcourt duo totalled 30 points and 10 rebounds … Francis scored 16 points as he connected on all seven of his shots from the field, while also grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots … Kurz finished 7-8 from the field in scoring 14 points and grabbing three rebounds … Colin Falls netted 11 points and dished off a game-high eight assists … Freshman Ryan Ayers was 3-6 from the field and finished with seven points … Notre Dame shot 55.9 percent from the field overall and was 16-25 (.640) in the second half … The Irish also dished off 23 assists as a team on 33 baskets made … Notre Dame’s defense limited Quincy to just 34.9 percent accuracy from the field and fored 16 turnovers in the game.

Irish In Season Openers:
Notre Dame owns an all-time record of 82-18 (.820) all-time in season openers and have won all five of its season openers under head coach Mike Brey … Since the opening of the Joyce Center in 1968-69, Irish teams are 31-6 (.838) in home openers … The last time Notre Dame lost a season opener was to Miami (Ohio) at home (76-65) on November 13, 1998.

Irish Roll Under Brey In November:
Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish are 19-1 (.950) all-time in games played during the month of November … The lone November loss was to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002.

Series Record vs. Lafayette:
Today’s game will be the seventh meeting between the two schools with the Irish holding a 5-1 advantage in the series … Five of the six meetings have been played at the Joyce Center with Notre Dame winning all five of those contests … The last time a Lafayette team visited the Joyce Center was on Dec. 22, 1989 with Notre Dame earning an 86-71 victory … Notre Dame’s only loss in the series in Easton, Pa., on Jan. 4, 1988 (83-68).

Notre Dame vs. Patriot League:
Notre Dame is 39-4 (.907) all-time versus Patriot League opponents.

The Irish All-Time:
Notre Dame begins its 101st season of basketball and 11th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference … In 100 seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1565-863 record for a .645 winning percentage … In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 84-84 record all-time in conference regular-season play.

The Captains:
Guard Chris Quinn and forward Torin Francis have been named captains for the 2005-06 season, marking the second straight year that the two have served as captains. The duo becomes the 11th and 12th players to serve as two-time captains.

Postseason Trend:
Since 2000, Notre Dame has appeared in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments each of othe last six years … The Irish played in the 2000 NIT and then earned three consecutive NCAA tournament berths – 2001, ’02 and ’03 – followed by NIT appearances in ’04 and ’05 … This is the longest stretch of postseason appearances for Irish teams since making six straight from 1983-90 – (NIT in 1983 and ’84 and NCAA from 1995-90).

Home Sweet Home:
Since the inaugural season in 1968-69 at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame owns a 444-135 record all-time for a .769 winning percentage … The Irish are 59-21 (.738) at the Joyce Center during Mike Brey’s five seasons, and since the 1996-97 campaign, they own a 107-37 mark for a .743 winning percentage … Notre Dame’s 13-5 mark a year ago at home marked the seventh in time in eights years that the Irish won 10 or more home games.

Approaching 1,000:
Heading into the season seniors Chris Quinn and Torin Francis are each less than 100 points away from becoming the 44th and 45th players in Notre Dame history to reach the 1000-point plateau … Quinn has 941 career points in 94 career outings for a 10.0 scoring average, while Francis has scored 931 points in 83 career contests for an 11.2 average … The time two players from the same class scored 1,000 points was Notre Dame’s Class of 2002 – Troy Murphy and David Graves … Murphy had reached the 1,000-point mark in his sophomore season and finished his career with 2,011 points before leaving after his junior year for the NBA … In 94 career games, he averaged 21.4 points per game … Graves finished his career with 1,746 points and reached the 1,000-point mark in his junior year (2000-01), the same season that Murphy topped the 2,000-point mark.

Tough Enough:
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule features five teams – Connecticut (2), Louisville (8), Alabama (14), West Virginia (15) and Syracuse (16) – ranked in the top 25 … In addition, Notre Dame will take on eight teams that played in the 2005 NCAA Tournament – North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville and Connecticut.

Irish Set For Three Repeat Games In BIG EAST Play:
Notre Dame will play DePaul, Marquette and Providence twice (both home and away) as part of its BIG EAST Conference regular-season 16-game slate during the 2005-06 campaign … Playing under a straight divisional format with 16 teams this year, Notre Dame will play 10 opponents once, but will not face either Cincinnati or St. John’s during the regular season.

Road Warriors:
In Mike Brey’s five seasons, his Irish teams have compiled a road record of 43-33 (.566) … That includes a 28-24 mark (.538) in true road games and a 15-9 (.625) record in neutral site contests.

BIG EAST Road Warriors:
Over the past five seasons, four teams haves compiled winning road records in BIG EAST league games. Pittsburgh is the leader with a 24-16 mark, Connecticut and Syracuse at 22-18, while Notre Dame is 21-19.

“B” Is For BIG And BIG EAST:
With its membership of 16 teams, The BIG EAST Conference is the largest Division I conference in the nation … The new additions are Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida.

BIG EAST Distinction:
Notre Dame and Syracuse are the only two schools to post winning conference records in BIG EAST play each of the last five seasons … Notre Dame has gone 11-5 (2000-01), 10-6 (2001-02), 10-6 (2002-03), 9-7 (2003-04) and 9-7 (2004-05), while Syracuse has posted marks of 10-6 (2001-01), 9-7 (2001-02), 13-3 (2002-03), 11-5 (2003-04) and 11-5 (2004-05).

BIG EAST Formula For Success Under Brey:
Since his arrival at Notre Dame, Brey has led Notre Dame to a 49-31 (.605) record in BIG EAST regular-season games and a 2-5 mark in tournament play for an overall record of 51-36 (.586) against league foes … In Brey’s first season, the Irish posted their first-ever winning record in BIG EAST play and won the BIG EAST West Division title with an 11-5 mark … Prior to Brey’s arrival at Notre Dame, Irish teams has a 35-53 (.398) regular-season record since joining the league in 1995-96.

Down To The Wire:
Five of Notre Dame’s 28 games in 2004-05 were decided by a single point … The Irish were 3-2 in those contests … Notre Dame teams are 9-4 overall during Mike Brey’s tenure in one-point games … 13 of Notre Dame’s 17 BIG EAST contests last season were decided by less than 10 points.

Not So Lucky:
Notre Dame is the only team from one of the six major conferences to have a winning record in league play each of the past two seasons yet fail to make the NCAA Tournament … 20 teams from the Big Six (ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) had a winning record in both 2003-04 and ’04-05, while 19 other schools made the Tournament both seasons.

Keeping It Close:
In the 56 losses suffered by Irish teams in Mike Brey’s four seasons, only 15 have been by 10 or more points and have been by a combined 398 points for an average of 7.1 points … Notre Dame’s biggest losses have been on the road at Pittsburgh (72-55 on January 6, 2003) and against Arizona (88-71 on March 27, 2003) in the West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif…. Prior to those setbacks, the worst defeat was a 16-point decision at Connecticut during Brey’s first season … Notre Dame’s 11 losses during the 2001-02 season were by a combined 49 points for an average margin of defeat of 4.5 points … Only one loss that season (versus Georgetown at the Joyce Center) was by double figures, while eight of those setbacks were by five or less points.

208 And Counting:
Heading into the tonight’s game against Holy Cross, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 208 straight games, a mark that dates back to the 1998-99 campaign … The last time an Irish team failed to hit a three-pointer was a 101-70 loss to Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on January 12, 1999 as Notre Dame finished 0-7 from beyond the arc in the game.

Irish Among Best In Wins Average:
Over the last six years, Notre Dame is one of 25 teams nationally that has averaged better than 20 wins per season … The Irish have compiled a 123-71 record for a .634 winning percentage after finishing 22-15 (1999-2000), 20-10 (2000-01), 21-11 (2001-02), 24-10 (2002-03), 19-13 (2003-04) and 17-12 (2004-05).

Over The Century Mark:
Notre Dame has scored 100-plus points five times during the Mike Brey era … The last 100-point effort by an Irish team was in a 101-96 overtime decision at Boston College on Jan. 25, 2003.

McDonald’s All-Americans:
Notre Dame’s 2005-06 team features two McDonald’s High School All-Americans – Torin Francis and Luke Zeller … A total of 15 players who have donned an Irish uniform have been McDonald’s All-Americans … Zeller, a freshman from Washington, Ind., is the most recent McDonald’s All-American, following Francis who earned McDonald’s accolades in 2002 … Francis also was named the recipient of the Morgan Wootten Award as the McDonald’s National Boys Player of the Year … Zeller played his McDonald’s All-American game at the Joyce Center on March 30, 2005 … Former Irish players who were also McDonald’s All-Americans include: Tim Andre (1979-83), Ken Barlow (1982-86), LaPhonso Ellis (1988-92), Ryan Humphrey (2000-02), Tracy Jackson (1973-77), Tim Kempton (1982-86), Dan Miller (2001-03), John Paxson (1979-83), David Rivers (1984-88), Keith Robinson (1986-90), Tom Sluby (1980-84), Barry Spencer (1980-84), Chris Thomas (2001-05), Torin Francis (2002-present) and Luke Zeller (2005-present).

Mr Indiana:
When former standout Chris Thomas (2001-05) entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2001, he became the first Mr. Indiana Basketball to play for the Irish. Thomas, who graduated in May of 2005 and finished as the school’s career leader in nine categories, earned the honor in 2001, History repeated itself four year later when current freshman Luke Zeller copped the state’s top honor in 2005.

Irish Sign Two In Early Signing Period:
Irish head coach Mike Brey signed two players during the early signing period on Wed., Nov. 9 – Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) and Tory Jackson (Saginaw, Mich.), Harangody, a 6-8, 250-pound forward attends Andrean High School in Merriville, Ind. As a junior, he led his team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.2 points and 12.3 rebounds. He ranked 11th and third, respectively, in scoring and rebounding among all Indiana players in his junior season. Named the 2005 Post Tribune Northwest and The Times Northwest Player of the Year, led Andrean to a 21-3 record and to the Gary (Ind.) Class 3A sectional championship. Jackson, a 5-10, 175-pound guard, was named the ’05 Michigan Class C Player of the Year and was a unanimous all-state selection. He paced his Buena Vista High School team to a 17-6 record in ’04-’05 while averaging 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals. This past summer, he played for the Blue Team which garnered the silver medal at the ’05 Youth Development Festival as his squad finished with a 3-1 mark.

All In The Families:
Sophomore Rob Kurz’ sister Laura is a sophomore on the Duke women’s basketball team … Freshman Ryan Ayers’ father Randy is currently an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic … He formerly was the head coach at Ohio State and with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Omari Isreal Leaves Program:
Junior forward Omari Isreal left the Irish basketball program on November 11 and will transfer to another school … As a sophomore last season, he averaged 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds … He missed the 2003-04 campaign, his freshman season, while recovering from knee surgery for an ACL injury suffered in the final season of his prep career.

Kevin White Radio Show:
Look for the Kevin White Radio Show on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago … The hour-long show, which debuted on Sept. 4, is in its sixth season and will run for 30 weeks throughout the year.

Guests regularly will include familiar names from all facets of college athletics … The show features White, Notre Dame’s director of athletics, and ESPN 1000’s Dave Juday … It can be heard regularly at 11:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday evenings … ESPN 1000 in Chicago can be heard in more than 30 states around the country.

Sponsors of the show include Gatordade, Xerox, adidas, Comcast, McDonald’s, Chase, Coca-Cola, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jordan Industries and Sayers Computer Source.