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Irish Take Down Huskies In Big East Battle, 78-74
Torin Francis celebrates with students on the court following the Irish 78-74 victory over Connecticut.
 
Torin Francis celebrates with students on the court following the Irish 78-74 victory over Connecticut.

Jan. 30, 2005

Final Stats |  Quotes

By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - It was supposed to be a mismatch up front when Connecticut faced Notre Dame. It was - only it was the Irish who dominated.

Torin Francis had 19 points and seven rebounds and Dennis Latimore added 12 points as the Irish outscored No. 19 Connecticut 38-20 inside en route to a 78-74 victory on Sunday.

"Latimore and Torin Francis were a little too much to handle," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "They completely dominated our frontcourt."

Connecticut's game plan was to try to take away Notre Dame's outside game and make the Irish beat them inside. The Irish did.

"Everyone always talks about us as a shooting team and they question our frontcourt. After today, I don't think there's anything left to question," Francis said. "I think we have the best frontcourt. We haven't done much to show that yet, but this is a big step."

The game wasn't decided, though, until the closing seconds. After shooting 50 percent for most of the game, UConn missed its final five shots, including a breakaway layup by Marcus Williams that would have tied the game at 76 with 15 seconds left. Instead, Williams' shot came up short and he fouled Chris Thomas on the rebound. Thomas made two free throws to give the Irish the four-point lead.

"No excuses. I think I was going too fast," Williams said. "I thought he was going to foul me to make the free throws, but there's still no excuse."

UConn (12-5, 4-3 Big East) missed its final two 3-point attempts as time ran out, giving Notre Dame its first win over a ranked team since beating the ninth-ranked Huskies a year ago.

Thomas had 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Irish (13-5, 5-3), who had lost two straight.

 

 

The student section swarmed the floor to celebrate the victory.

"This is a huge win for us coming off of two losses," said Chris Quinn, who added 12 points for the Irish.

The Huskies led by an many as seven points early in the second half, but the Irish used a 9-3 run to tie the score at 61 when Thomas drove the lane for a layup midway through the second half. The game was close the rest of the way.

Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 4:36 left to give the Irish a 70-69 lead. Then Latimore scored inside to give the Irish a 72-71 lead.

Left unguarded, Williams hit a 3-pointer with 3:10 left to give the Huskies a 74-72 lead. But UConn didn't score again. Francis dunked over Charlie Villanueva to tie the score at 74.

Irish coach Mike Brey said he knew then the Irish would win.

"That's one that says to his teammates, `We're going to get this one,"' he said.

Latimore added a basket inside to give the Irish the lead, and Thomas put the game away with his free throws.

Denham Brown led the Huskies with 20 points, while Rudy Gay had 16. Williams had 10 points and tied the school record with 16 assists.

Josh Boone, UConn's leading scorer at 14.8 points a game, had six points on 3-of-6 shooting, and Villanueva, who averages 12.6 points, had six points on 2-of-8 shooting.

"We let it get away," Brown said. "We came out knowing this could happen and it did. This was a game that obviously got away from us."

Event Calendar

Delta

November 1
7:00 PM
Mercy
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 7
7:00 PM
Catholic
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 12
12:00 PM
Bryant University
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 16
7:00 PM
Seattle University
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 18
TBA
Loyola Maryland
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 21
TBA
Colorado
Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)

ESPN 2
November 22
TBA
Texas or Northwestern
Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)

ESPN 2/ESPNU
November 26
2:00 PM
Chicago State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 29
9:00 PM
Iowa
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN 2
December 4
TBA
North Carolina A&T
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 6
9:00 PM
Fort Wayne
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPNU
December 10
12:00 PM
Villanova
Newark, N.J. (Prudential Center)

CBS
December 17
2:00 PM
Purdue
Indianapolis, Ind. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

ESPN 2
December 19
7:00 PM
Colgate
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 28
7:00 PM
Saint Peters
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 31
TBA
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Petersen Events Center)

ACC Network
January 4
9:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
January 7
3:00 PM
Clemson
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
January 12
7:00 PM
Miami
Miami, Fla. (BankUnited Center)

ESPN/ESPN 2
January 14
2:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Cassell Coliseum)

ACC Network
January 18
7:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (Tucker Center)

RSN
January 21
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN/ESPN 2
January 24
8:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
January 28
12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (McCamish Pavillion)

ESPNU
January 30
7:00 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN
February 4
TBA
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Smith Center)

ESPN/ESPN 2
February 7
7:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPNEWS
February 11
2:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN/ESPN 2
February 14
7:00 PM
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Conte Forum)

ESPNU
February 18
12:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (PNC Arena)

ESPN/ESPN 2
February 26
6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPNU
March 1
8:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
March 4
2:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (KFC Yum! Center)

CBS

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