Dec. 28, 2004
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - No matter how close he gets, senior Chris Thomas
can't quite duplicate his first game at Notre Dame, when he recorded the only
triple-double in Irish history.
Thomas narrowly missed reaching the milestone again for the second straight
game - coming up one rebound and one assist short - as he scored a game-high 21
points to lead Notre Dame to a 78-61 win against Western Illinois Tuesday
"I was able to make players around me better tonight, especially in the
first half," said Thomas, who had all nine of his assists before the break.
Against Marist on Dec. 22, Thomas missed a triple-double by two rebounds and
an assist. He is averaging 17 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists over his
last three games.
Dennis Latimore tied his season high with 18 points. Colin Falls, who shot
5-for-9 from 3-point range, added 17 points for the Irish, and Chris Quinn
chipped in 11.
"This is probably the best group of guards we played against because they
know their roles," Western Illinois coach Derek Thomas said. "They were the
difference to me."
The Irish, who never trailed, opened the game with a 12-2 run over the first
3:40 and led 45-32 at the half.
Western Illinois closed to within 54-46 early in the third quarter on a Baez
layup, but Thomas scored the game's next seven points to give Notre Dame a
15-point lead and put the game out of reach.
"He just kept the game so simple," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "He
has not felt like, 'Uh-oh, I've got to jump-start us."'
Eulis Baez scored a team-high 13 points for Western Illinois. Will Lewis was
the only other Leatherneck in double figures with 11.
The Irish, who have won their last three games, conclude their five-game
homestand Thursday against Samford before beginning Big East play Jan. 5 at