Jan. 15, 2005
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - A concussion couldn't stop Chris Thomas. Neither could St. John's.
Thomas, who missed the first 8 minutes of the second half with a concussion, faked out St. John's Daryll Hill and hit a 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds left to give Notre Dame a 67-66 victory over the Red Storm on Saturday.
"It was a broken play. But that's how it was going the whole game," Thomas said. "I got up a good pass fake and Hill lost his footing."
Hill, who had a career-high 30 points for the Red Storm, drove the length of the court in the closing seconds and had a chance to win the game, but his last-second shot was blocked from behind by Jordan Cornette.
"I was driving, I saw Cornette come over, I tried to throw my body at him to draw the foul, but it didn't work," Hill said.
Colin Falls led Notre Dame (11-3, 3-1 Big East) with a career-high 23 points, making 6-of-13 3-pointers. The Irish were 13-of-34 from 3-point range, making just one 2-point field goal in the second half as St. John's outscored the Irish 32-10 in the paint.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he didn't mind the Irish repeatedly shooting from the outside.
"We'll trade 2s for 3s anytime," he said.
Chris Quinn added 13 points for the Irish.
Lamont Hamilton scored 17 points as the Red Storm lost their 10th straight Big East road game. Hill said it should have been a win.
"But Chris Thomas just hit a great shot," he said.
Brey said he was surprised to see Thomas return to the bench in the second half, saying it looked as if there was no chance at halftime. Thomas said he was feeling nauseated, lightheaded and needed an escort back to the locker room.
Thomas said the team physician, Dr. James Moriarty, told him he wasn't going to play.
"I was like `Are you serious?' This is Big East, my senior year," Thomas said.
Thomas said Moriarty told him to wait 20 minutes, and he would test him. Thomas said he drank some fluids, went to Notre Dame's practice court and ran some wind sprints. He was checked out again and cleared to play.
Thomas, who has started a school-record 113 games, returned with 11:36 left. The game-winning basket was his only shot after being injured, and he didn't have an assist after the injury.
"I don't think anybody in the locker room or this building was surprised he hit that shot," Brey said. "He's a fearless young man."
His teammates were impressed.
"The next person I see out there that has something negative to say about Chris Thomas, I'm going to tell them to watch that game and watch that shot," Cornette said.
Hill said he wasn't surprised to see Thomas return.
"I know he's a tough player," Hill said. "If he sees his team needs help, he's going to play, no matter what condition he's in."