Irish Win Second of Young Season

Chris Thomas' 22 points led four Irish players in double figures as 19th-ranked Notre Dame defeated Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers 78-54 Saturday afternoon at the Joyce Center. Chris Quinn added 15 points followed by Torin Francis with 13 and Torrian Jones with 12 points.

Mount St. Mary's set the tempo in the opening minutes and led 4-0 before Torrian Jones dumped in a lay-up at the 18.19 mark. The visitors hung onto the lead until Jordan Cornette slammed home a dunk with 16 minutes to go in the opening stanza making the score 9-8. The Irish were never behind from this point in the game. They outscored the Mountaineers 31-19 the rest of the way and took a 40-27 lead at halftime.

The Irish shot 48 percent--going 12-25 in the first half. They also were 11-11 from the foul line and 35.7 percent from three-point range, 5-14. The visitors shot 35.5 percent from the floor, and were led in scoring by Landy Thompson with 15.

Notre Dame came out in the second half and took complete control of the game by outscoring Mount St. Mary's 13- 7 in the first five minutes to increase their lead by 19. The Irish had their largest lead of the game, 66-37, with just over ten minutes remaining.

The Irish totals for the game showed they shot 54 percent from the floor, 25-46, and 39.1 percent from 3-point range, 9-23. They also did an outstanding job from the foul line by hitting 19-20 for 88.9 percent. A couple of key factors in the game, which won't show up in the stats, were the defensive play of Jordan Cornette and Torrian Jones. Jordan's efforts helped keep the Mountaineers' Kiel Butler to only two points. Butler had been averaging 18 points a game and had scored a career high 26 against Virginia recently. Jones did an excellent job of defending Landy Thompson in the second half, holding him to a total of two points after he had scored 15 in the first half.

Regarding the Mountaineers, Coach Brey said, "I like their team. I know the league they play in from my Delaware days. Their quickness and speed can bother you probably more on the defensive end than the offensive end. Every time we put the ball on the floor, it seemed like three guys were there. I think Milan has done a good job. It's a tough act to follow Coach Phelan. I kind of like their group. It's tough they haven't played at home yet."

"For us, I thought it was a good afternoon overall; something for us to build on for Monday," Brey continued. "We looked at this as a stretch with this game through Monday night with Marquette. I thought we did some good things. Certainly, when you make 19 of 20 foul shots, that is a heck of a weapon, but I think we will be a pretty good free-throw shooting team all season. I thought Chris Thomas did a great job of being patient as he was being faced guarded the whole night. I told him when I took him out once in the second half, you know you are going to see this all the time now. So you might as well get ready to be mentally tough and not to force anything. I don't think he did and he played within himself even though there was a guy on him the whole time."

Torrian Jones commented on today's game by saying, "After looking at the second half of the last game when we didn't really take care of the ball, and didn't make smart decisions, and weren't our normal offensive explosive team, this whole game we concentrated on sharing the ball, moving it around, being selfless, and making smart plays, and it showed as we had 18 assists tonight. This keeps us well balanced. It makes it harder to scout us as you can't concentrate on one guy. This was a great win not to take anything from Mount Saint Mary's, but Monday is a big opportunity for us to jump start our season. We are in a similar situation as last year when we played them (Marquette) early in the season and it gave us a springboard for the rest of the season."

Chris Quinn had this to say about the game. "Torin had such a good game last game. We knew they would be focusing on him. When they did start doubling down on him so fast, Torin had to make a good decision out of the post, and he did a great job of finding us. We have an unselfish group here. Once they key on some of our main guys, other guys are ready to step up and knock down some shots. That's one of the things I think we have this year because a lot of guys can hurt a team on the offensive end."

Post-game notes :

* The Irish are now 16-1 in November during the four-year Mike Brey era, with the lone loss coming against Creighton on November 26, 2002 (75-80).

* The Irish are now 68-31 (.687) in the Brey era, with Monday's game at Marquette slated to be ND's 100th game under Brey. Since losing three straight games in 2002, the Irish are now 32-11 in their last 43 regular-season games (.744).

* Junior forward, Jordan Cornette, posted 4+ blocks for the sixth time in his ND career, but for the first time in 20 games (since blocking eight against Rutgers on January 14, 2003).

* Sophomore forward, Torin Francis, scored double-digits (13) for the 21st time in 36 career games with the Irish.

* Notre Dame now has made at least one 3-point basket in 149 consecutive games, dating back to a game vs. UConn on January 12, 1999, at the Hartford Civic Center.

The Irish return to action Monday, December 1, at Marquette with game time set for 8:00 pm (CST). The next home game is Saturday, December 9, at 9:00 pm, against Central Michigan. Top Stories