Feb 14, 2004
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Chris Thomas had 26 points and seven rebounds and Torrian Jones had 13 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots to lead Notre Dame to a 71-68 win over Seton Hall on Saturday.
The Irish (12-9, 6-5 Big East) used a 9-2 run that started in the first half and stretched into the second to take a lead they never surrendered. The Pirates (16-6, 6-4) cut the lead to one point twice, but could never pull even.
Tom Timmermans and Chris Quinn added 10 points each as the Irish won their second straight. Andre Barrett led the Pirates with 20 points and Kelly Whitney added 18 points as Seton Hall lost for just the second time in its last seven games.
Despite being without leading-rebounder Torin Francis, who the school announced Friday is out indefinitely with a disc injury in his back, the Irish outrebounded the Pirates 37-25.
Both teams were coming off upset wins on Monday – the Irish beating No. 5 Connecticut 80-74 and the Pirates beating No. 4 Pittsburgh 68-67 in double overtime. Both started the game slow, shooting below 25 percent early.
The teams traded the lead 13 times in the first half, with neither team leading by more than four points. Thomas scored on a layup and added a free throw with 19 seconds left to give the Irish a 32-28 halftime lead.
The Irish opened the second half with a 6-2 run and never trailed again. The Pirates had a chance to tie the score on a free throw by Whitney after a layup, but he missed. The Irish pulled back ahead 55-49 when Thomas hit a 16-foot jumper.
The Irish moved ahead 68-61 when Jones hit a pair of free throws with 40 seconds left. The Pirates managed to close to three at the end because the Irish made only 3-of-6 free throws down the stretch.