March 3, 1999
NEW YORK (AP) - The first two times Seton Hall played Notre Dame this
season, the Pirates lost and Duane Jordan and Rimas Kaukenas were not factors.
In the game that meant the most, though, each scored 18 points to lead Seton
Hall to a 79-69 victory Wednesday in the opening round of the Big East
"With our good defense came good offense. They were looking for me today
and the shots were falling," said Jordan, who also had 13 rebounds. "This is
my senior year and we needed to win this one because we didn't want fate to
control the destiny of our NIT chances."
The reason the talk about future postseason play for the ninth-seeded
Pirates (15-13) went directly to the NIT rather than the NCAA tournament was
that their next opponent is top-seeded and third-ranked Connecticut in
Seton Hall, which had lost in the first round the past two years, had two
decent outings against the Huskies this season, leading at halftime both times
"Everyone talks that we played them tough but we lost to them twice,"
Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker said. "They'll be better. This is the showcase
for our league and they're the best in our league. It will be an unbelievable
battle just to stay on the court with them."
Eight-seeded Notre Dame (14-16) has never won a Big East tournament game,
dropping to 0-4 since joining the league, but this was the closest of the four
"Seton Hall did a real good job of changing defenses and forcing turnovers
and created a lot of problems for us," Notre Dame coach John MacLeod said.
"The other two times we kept Kaukenas under wraps and that's the biggest game
Jordan has had against us."
Jordan had a total of eight points against Notre Dame in the regular season
and Kaukenas had 16.
Seton Hall matched its biggest lead of the game with an 11-0 run that put it
up 66-52 with 5:12 remaining. The last four points were scored by Kaukenas and
his driving basket with 5:39 left was the Pirates' final field goal of the
Notre Dame closed within 69-64 with 2:05 left on a 3-pointer by Paul Rainey,
but Seton Hall went 10-for-10 from the foul line the rest of the way.
"We scored against their zone for the lead but they fought back," Amaker
said. "Our perimeter defense was pretty good and we forced them out further
than they wanted."
Ty Shine had 17 points and six assists for Seton Hall.
Troy Murphy, the conference's rookie of the year and leading rebounder, had
28 points and 15 rebounds for the Fighting Irish.
"It's disappointing for the season to end today. We were hoping to make a
run in the tournament and probably earn an NIT bid," said Murphy, who averaged
18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds. "I learned a lot this year and had a lot of fun
but it's still disappointing to lose."