Irish Knock Eagles From Undefeated Ranks

The Irish hosted the undefeated and fourth-ranked Boston College on Tuesday before a packed house and a crowd that was on its feet from the opening whistle. The hot hand of Colin Falls and the play of Chris Thomas pushed the Irish over the edge to their important victory on Tuesday.

Irish fans showed up in a frenzy on Tuesday in anticipation of upsetting unbeaten Boston College. The fan support paid off as the Eagles were defeated 68-65 by the Irish . Notre Dame improves to 14-6 and 6-4 in the BIG EASTt while the Eagles are now 20-1 and 9-1 in the conference.

The game started with the teams trading buckets in the first three minutes, but the Irish quickly went cold from the field and the Eagles had a nine-point lead with just over 14 minutes to go in the half.

Sophomore Colin Falls led the first period scoring with 11, followed by seniors Chris Thomas and Dennis Latimore with eight each.

The Irish shot 53.6 percent (15-of-28) in the first half, which included 50 percent from three-point range.

The Irish kept a hot hand to start the second half, and after the first six minutes held an 11 point edge, 49-38. However, the visitors weren't about to give up and cut the lead to three with 1.43 remaining.

But senior Chris Thomas went 4-of-4 from the foul line and guard Chris Quinn and center Torin Francis each scored from the line to insure the victory.

The Irish had four players in double figures. Falls was the leading scorer for the game with 23 as he hit on seven from beyond the arc. Thomas was next in scoring with 19 and added nine assists. The senior point guard did not have any turnovers in 38 minutes of play. Latimore and Quinn each contributed 10 points.

For the game the Irish hit for 51 percent (25-of-49) and ended up shooting 55 percent(11-of-20)from three-point range.

Irish head coach Mike Brey was happy with his team's play in this important victory.

"It was a great win for us," said Brey. "They're very good, and I'm really proud of our group.

"I thought we were very businesslike how we prepared for this. We stayed poised even though they jumped on us early and stayed poised when they made runs. We obviously did a very good job on our zone once we rotated into it and made that work. That's probably the longest we've played it since down in Bloomington and we did a very good job with it.

Brey also said he was impressed with how Thomas ran the point all game.

"I thought Chris Thomas was fabulous orchestrating the game, leading, and keeping us poised when they made runs," said Brey. "He set the whole tone. He took a lot off me. He kept everybody calm and loose.

"We really respect Boston College and they are really good, but it's a good league win for us. But we have Pittsburgh coming and our kids have done a great job--win-lose--kind of staying pretty steady and understanding and we've got to prepare for the next one."

Chris Thomas struggled in the loss to Syracuse but came up big tonight and was pleased with the win.

"I tip my hat to the other guys in this locker room," Thomas said. "We had full confidence even after Syracuse, even after Georgetown and Nova, the games we have given away and let teams come back.

"But this is a great win for our resume' and that is the bottom line. We felt good about our preparation coming into the game, and we continue to play big game after big game. So it is always going to help our RPI, and it is always going to help us get pumped up for games."

Senior captain Jordan Cornette was proud of the team for the way it bounced back tonight and also the support of the students.

"We have been in this situation before where we came off a tough loss," Cornette said. "I think you just have to have a veteran ball club and captains that know how to keep everybody loose and not get too down. Now we face another challenge and we can't get too excited with this win but we have another big one on Saturday.

"I'll probably go to sleep with that 20-1 chant in my head. It was great. The students are very deserving and that is why we hung around out on the floor after the game because they helped us through it tonight. They deserve credit because they created a heckuva environment and made it fun to play out there."

The Irish next travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers Saturday, Feb. 12 at noon EST.


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