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ND MEN’S BASKETBALL: Close losses tell story of ND conference games

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Notre Dame won five straight non-conference games prior to the new year, but the Irish have gotten off to a rocky 1-3 start in the Big East.

Though all three losses were by six points or fewer, the Irish have surrendered an average of 84.5 points per game thus far in conference, dead last in the 16-team Big East.

Notre Dame has averaged an identical 84.5 points in those four games and ended its conference-opening 3-game skid on Saturday with a 92-77 win over Providence at the Joyce Center.

Irish point guard Chris Quinn led all scorers with 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Guard Colin Falls added 24, combining with Quinn to make 10-of-16 shots from behind the arc. Quinn is tied for second with Villanova’s Randy Foye in scoring average, netting 24 points per game in the team’s first four conference appearances.

Syracuse 88, Notre Dame 82

Syracuse relied on steady scoring from guards Gerry McNamara and Eric Devendorf to beat Notre Dame at the Joyce Center Jan. 11. It was the fifth consecutive time Syracuse defeated Notre Dame.

McNamara scored 25 and Devendorf added 22 for the Orange, who led by five points at the half.

Quinn’s 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining in the second half cut the Syracuse lead to four points, but McNamara and Devendorf were 4-of-4 from the line in the final 1:21 to seal the victory.

Falls finished with 18 points to lead all Irish scorers.

DePaul 73, Notre Dame 67

The Irish could not overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, as they dropped their second Big East game of the year at Allstate Arena Jan. 7.

Notre Dame tied the game at 53 with 10:54 remaining in the second half when Quinn nailed a 3-pointer, but DePaul guard Sammy Meija responded on the next possession with his own 3-point play.

Falls led all scorers with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He was 6-of-11 from 3-point range.

Pittsburgh 100, Notre Dame 97

Quinn scored 37 points and led the Irish back from a nine-point deficit with less than a minute remaining to force overtime, but Pittsburgh guard Ronald Ramon hit a game-winning 3-pointer in double overtime to keep the Panthers undefeated Jan. 4.

Thirty of Quinn’s 37 points came after halftime, as the Irish point guard hit big shots down the stretch to keep his team in the game. He scored 16 consecutive points during the second half.

Pittsburgh forward Aaron Gray scored 25 points, and guard Carl Krauser scored 22 in front of a Peterson Events Center crowd.

Notre Dame 74, Wofford 71

In Notre Dame’s final game before Big East play, the Irish escaped with a win after Torin Francis hit two free throws with 12.6 seconds remaining at the Joyce Center Dec. 30.

Wofford had a chance to tie the game when it moved the ball up the court following Francis’ free throws. Wofford forward Howard Wilkerson had a look from 3-point range, but his shot hit off the front rim. Wilkerson led all scorers with 27 points.

The Irish were well balanced on the offensive end with four players finishing in double figures. Guard Russell Carter led Notre Dame with 16 points, Falls and Quinn each had 12, and freshman guard Kyle McAlarney finished with 10.

Notre Dame 85, Fordham 49

Notre Dame outplayed its opponent from the tip, dominating Fordham at the Joyce Center Dec. 28 and earning its sixth consecutive victory in the process.

Leading by 12 at halftime, the Irish exploded in the second half, outscoring the Rams 44-20.

The Irish had five players in double figures. Quinn led the Irish with 14 points, freshman forward Luke Zeller had 11 and Carter, McAlarney and forward Rob Kurz had 10.

Notre Dame shot 55 percent from the field while limiting Fordham to 28 percent shooting.

Notre Dame 75, Columbia 68

Despite being outscored 44-16 in the paint by the Lions, the Irish escaped with a victory led by their impressive free throw shooting Dec. 23 at the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame outscored Columbia 28-6 from the free throw line.

The Irish trailed the Lions for much of the first half, but managed to take a 34-33 lead into halftime.

Quinn led the Irish with 18 points – 15 of which came in the second half. McAlarney added 14 points in the victory.

Notre Dame 80, Niagara 59

Notre Dame shot 55 percent from the field and made a season- high 12 shots from 3-point range to defeat Niagra Dec. 21 at the Joyce Center.

Falls scored 19 points for the Irish and McAlarney added 16. The two Irish guards were 5-of-10 and 4-of-6 from being the arch, respectively.

Francis played strong inside, scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. The Irish forward also grabbed nine rebounds.

Notre Dame 65, IPFW 63

Notre Dame narrowly avoided a big upset at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, but Francis’ 24 points and 11 rebounds saved the game Dec. 18.

Francis scored the final six points for the Irish.

Freshman forward Ryan Ayers came up with a big defensive stop when IPFW had the ball with 3.3 seconds left, knocking the ball loose at the buzzer.

Notes:

u Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese announced Wednesday that the Big East Tournament, to be held March 8-11 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, has sold out in advance for the first time ever. The Big East has played its postseason conference tournament at the Garden for 24 years. All tickets were sold to “fans and constituents” of the 16 member institutions, Tranghese said.