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Men’s Basketball: Irish fall in familiar fashion

Bobby Griffin | Thursday, February 2, 2006

Irish guard Chris Quinn missed a game-winning runner as time expired and Notre Dame fell 71-70 to West Virginia Wednesday night in Morgantown. The Irish have lost seven Big East games by a combined 23 points this season.

Quinn caught the inbounds pass with 3.4 seconds left and drove towards the basket. The Irish guard released a shot, leaning into West Virginia forward Kevin Pittsnogle, but no foul was called.

“That’s the guy we wanted taking the shot,” Irish coach Mike Brey told the Associated Press after the game. “He made all the plays for us, and he wanted the ball again. But we’re just not as old as some of the teams that have come in here and won.”

Quinn cut the lead to one point on a 3-pointer out of a Notre Dame timeout with less than 50 seconds remaining.

West Virginia guard Johannes Herber drove to the basket but missed a layup that would have made it a 3-point game.

Pittsnogle led West Virginia with 22 points and guard Mike Gansey added 13 points in the win.

West Virginia got out to a quick lead, leading by double digits for most of the first half. But like many of Notre Dame’s games as of late – the Irish came fighting back.

Irish guard Colin Falls hit a 3-pointer with 5:28 left in the first half and Notre Dame went on a 10-2 run from there – forcing West Virginia to call a timeout. Quinn hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut West Virginia’s lead to four at the half.

Brey said Monday the 3-point field goal could become a factor in the game with the way both teams play on the offensive end. He was right.

Both teams combined to attempt 56 3-pointers in the game, 27 of which came in the first half. The Irish were 14-of-26 in the game, compared to West Virginia’s 12-of-30.

Six players – Pittsnogle, Gansey, Herber, Patrick Beilein, Frank Young and J.D. Collins – all attempted 3s in the game for West Virginia.

Quinn led the Irish with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 6-of-10 from behind the arc. The senior guard added four assists and a steal. Falls added 18 for Notre Dame on 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.

Brey has said throughout Notre Dame’s slump the team needs to find some luck to get back on track. Wednesday night was no different.

“You need to hit a runner there,” Brey told the Associated Press. “You need to be a little lucky and hit that there.”

The win was West Virginia’s first against Notre Dame in its last 12 attempts. The last time the Mountaineers defeated the Irish was Feb. 14, 1999.

The loss drops the Irish to 1-7 in the Big East and 10-9 overall. Even though the Irish are at the bottom of the league, their close losses show they are competitive every game.

“There is no difference in Notre Dame and the top of the league,” West Virginia coach John Beilein told the Associated Press. “One shot makes, one shot misses. That’s the ball game.”

Irish forward Rick Cornett was impressive off the bench for Notre Dame. The senior added 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting after being used sparingly this season. He also grabbed 7 rebounds in 16 minutes.

Notre Dame outrebounded West Virginia 41-22. Both teams combined to attempt seven free throws.

The Observer was unable to contact Brey Wednesday night.