Feb. 4, 2001
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IRISH ITEMS FOR THE ST. JOHN'S GAME:
After two consecutive road games, Notre Dame (14-5, 6-2) returns to action this
evening at the Joyce Center for tonight's ESPN Big Monday game against St. John's (12-8,
6-3) in the only regular-season meeting between the cross-divisional rivals scheduled
for this season. The Irish have won five straight against BIG EAST opponents and
have not lost since Jan. 13 when they dropped an 82-71 non-conference test at
Notre Dame's current five-game league win streak is its longest in school history since
the Irish joined the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Head Coach Mike Brey's squad is coming off of a
75-67 victory at Pittsburgh on Saturday night which marked the first time the Irish have won
back-to-back conference road games after posting a 78-71 victory at Georgetown seven
days prior to its matchup with the Panthers. Notre Dame defense has been a key in the
five-game win streak as the Irish are allowing just 63.4 ppg. Brey's squad has only allowed
70-plus points in one game and have held opponents to 67 points and under in four
of the last five contests.
The Irish return home tonight before heading back on the road for another pair of
games away from the Joyce Center, which will complete a stretch of playing four of its
last five games on the road. Notre Dame's upcoming road trip has stops at West Virginia
(Sun., Feb. 11) and Rutgers (Wed., Feb. 14).
The 6-2 start in conference play for the Irish is the best since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-
96. Also, Notre Dame is four games above the .500 mark in BIG EAST play for the first time in school history.
Tonight's game will be the 25th meeting between the two schools with Notre Dame holding a
13-11 advantage in the series. This will be the eighth time the Irish and Red Storm have played
each other since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST. Notre Dame holds a slim 4-3 lead in the
seven-game conference series. The Irish won the only meeting last season, taking a 73-60
decision in the Joyce Center. In that game, the Irish shot 63.0 percent in the second half to
outscore the Red Storm 47-35 in the final period en route to the victory. Troy Murphy led Notre
Dame with 30 points and 18 rebounds. This will be the third straight meeting between the teamsat Notre Dame and the sixth in the Joyce Center in the last seven games. The teams have alternated
victories in each of the last nine games at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is ranked 23rd in the Associated Press ranking and is 23rd in the ESPN/USA
Today Poll. The Irish returned to the top 25 ranking of the AP Poll last week after a two-week
hiatus and is in the ESPN/USA Today following a three-week absence. Notre Dame was ranked
in the first 10 polls of the season after starting the preseason ranked for the first time since the
1989-90 campaign. Notre Dame started the preseason tied for 15th in the preseason AP Poll and
were 17th in the ESPN/USA Today ranking. Notre Dame climbed as high as 10th in both polls on
Dec. 4, but dropped from the top 10 after suffering back-to-back setbacks to Indiana and Miami
RECAP OF PITTSBURGH:
After Pittsburgh opened up an 11-point lead (21-10) early, the Irish responded with a 13-0 run to
go on top and the Irish lead the entire second half on their way to a 75-67 victory over the Panthers at Fitzgerald Field House on Saturday. The win gave Notre Dame its first-ever five-game
win streak in the BIG EAST and marked just the second time the Irish won back-to-back road
conference games since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 and the first time they had accomplished
the feat since 1998-99.
All-American Troy Murphy played the entire game and led the Irish with 24 points, while David
Graves shared scoring honors with 24 points on eight-of-14 shooting from the field. Ryan
Humphrey added 16 points and a grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
The Panthers scored the first six points and opened up a 21-10 lead with 13:05 remaining in the
first half before the Irish rallied to take the lead for the first time at 22-21 with 7:49 remaining in the half on a Humphrey dunk. After three ties, Pittsburgh led again, 29-27, with 2:55 to go in the first stanza before Graves converted a three-point play to give Notre Dame a lead it would not relinquish.
In the second half, the Irish led by as many as 11 on the way to their fifth victory in as many
Notre Dame shot 54.0 percent from the field and hit 80 percent of its free throws (20-25), while
also holding a decided edge on the glass, outrebounding Pittsburgh 37-23.