Dec. 11, 2004
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - DePaul made it look easy against Notre Dame.
The Blue Demons scored layup after layup, pulling away for an 84-73 victory Saturday to end a three-game losing streak to the Irish.
Four DePaul players scored in double digits - Quemont Greer with 20 points, Drake Diener, 19, Sammy Meija, 18, and Jamal Nichols with 12. Greer added 14 rebounds and DePaul (5-2) shot 60 percent from the field.
"It's the same shots we've been taking all year," DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. "When you take high-percentage shots and they come off good passes, it adds to your confidence."
The Blue Demons scored on three straight layups during a decisive 15-5 run that ended with four minutes left in the game, giving DePaul its biggest lead at 73-57.
Nichols started a string of three straight layups by the Blue Demons, running down the lane, taking a left-handed pass from Cliff Clinkscales and scoring despite being fouled.
He missed the free throw, but Nichols rebounded and hit a layup.
Then Diener scored on yet another layup with 3:46 left to give the Blue Demons the 16-point lead. DePaul outscored the Irish (4-2) 34-24 in the paint.
"When you watch teams play confidently, they play with a swagger. We are trying to develop that," Leitao said.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he warned his team that DePaul would be tough.
"They play very well as a team," he said. "They were getting around our zone, they shot the ball well and overall just played an outstanding game."
"They really executed their game plan. They got great shots. That's why they shot well," Thomas said.
It marked the second straight game the Blue Demons shot 60 percent and scored more than 80 points. DePaul's shooting percentage was the best against the Irish this season, bettering the 46 percent that Harvard shot.
The 84 points were also the most points the Irish have given up.
Thomas scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half for the Irish, and Colin Falls had a career-high 20 points, eight more than the 12 he scored against DePaul last season. Falls sat out the last 10 minutes after injuring his ankle.
DePaul scored the game's first six points and never trailed, leading 39-35 at halftime.
The Blue Demons had an answer every Notre Dame run, including one that cut DePaul's lead to 49-48. But Diener hit a 3-pointer to end the 7-0 scoring drought.
"Our big guys were out of rhythm a bit, I think, and that hurt a bit," Brey said. "We had trouble getting the ball inside, but they did not, they got through our zone."
That surprised Diener.
"I wasn't expecting us to win going away like that," he said. "I was expecting a dog fight."