During the last twelve minutes of the half, the Irish came alive and outscored the Hoyas 22-12 to take a 14-point lead, 30-16, into the locker room.
The first half stats were not impressive for both teams as the Irish shot 33.3 percent and the visitors a weak 21.9 percent. The combination of Chris Quinn and Chris Thomas led the way in scoring with 10 points each. Rick Cornett had an impressive half, scoring four points and hauling down six rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
The second half belonged to the Irish as they continued to play well on the defensive end and took charge offensively. They increased the lead to as many as 21 on a couple of occasions, and the Hoyas could not get any rhythm going all might. The closest the visitors could get was 38-26 with about fourteen minutes remaining, but the Irish were not about to fold and held a commanding 20-point edge, 59-39, with just under two minutes to go in the game.
hris Thomas led the the Irish in scoring with 19, followed by Chris Quinn at 18. Jordan Cornette had 10 rebounds including three blocks to go along with his five points. The Irish ended up hitting for 37.5 percent on 21-56. The Hoyas were held to 28.1 percent, 18-64. Once again the Irish were impressive handling the ball as they committed just five turnovers and dished out 16 assists.
Senior Night greeted Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans who were recognized before the start of the game for their contributions to the program. When they departed the game with one minute remaining, they received a thunderous standing ovation. Both of these quality young men will receive their degrees in May.
Coach Mike Brey was pleased with tonight's results, "I thought we were really good defensively to hold them to 48, and I told our guys I think we are really playing well offensively together - sixteen assists and five turnovers," Brey said. "I think we are playing better as a group defensively. Our position defense has been good, and it certainly is nice when your two seniors can win. I'm proud of those two guys."
The Coach knows he has something special with the two Chris's, "They are awesome. That is what I want out of those two guys - aggressiveness. Those two guys taking the most shots; the way we are playing now offensively is the way it should be. I think the key tonight was that Chris Quinn was aggressive from the start like he was when he came off the bench at UCLA. We need him aggressive right away, not just in the second half. When Chris Quinn is being aggressive it makes Chris Thomas a more patient player."
The personable Torrian Jones spoke about the season winding down, "We are definitely finishing the season the way we wanted to," Jones said. "We went out to UCLA and played well and tonight we played our last game on this floor this year, hopefully. We played a great forty minutes. We never let up on defense, and we held them to under 50 and under 30% shooting."
Fellow senior, Tom Timmermans, was all smiles following the game, "I have been working four years and Torrian and I have been waiting for our chance and I think we are taking full advantage of the opportunity we are getting our senior year. I don't think anybody can hold us back, and we are going to try and go as far as we can with this team, and we are focusing on Saturday. It's like a pre-game before the Big East tournament."
Coming off two straight impressive wins the Irish could be headed for a letdown, but not according to Chris Quinn, "This team can't even think of a letdown just because of the situation we are in. We need each and every game and right now it is so important for us to stay focused on our goals."
The Irish travel to Madison Square Garden this Saturday to take on St. John's in the final game of the regular season. Big East Tournament action will take place in the Garden, March 10-13.