Notre Dame Heading to 2006 Big East Tournament

Notre Dame, Ind ( — With a 66-61 win over DePaul Saturday afternoon on Senior Day, Notre Dame solidified its place in the first Big East Tournament after off-season expansion to a 16 team league. After a season of losing close game after close game, the Irish finally came out on top of one of them and will now move onto the Big East Tournament after starting league play with a 1-8 record.

Russell Carter led three Irish players in double figures with a game high 22 point performance as he continued his last season surge. Seniors Chris Quinn and Torin Francis added 11 and 10 points in the regular season home finales.

While it was Quinn and Francis’s day, Carter stole the show in the 2nd half and paced the Irish offense with his third straight and 4th overall 20 point performance of the season. Said coach Mike Brey, “”He played fabulous. He maybe the most improved player in all of college basketball over the last six weeks and we need him to keep doing what he’s doing.”

Quinn however ended his last home game with his second career double, adding 10 assists to go along with his 11 points. Fellow senior Torin Francis also had a good send off with a 10 point, 8 rebound performance in which Francis played well down low and commanded the ball at times.

This is the kind of game Notre Dame lost all year long, but a clutch three and a couple of free throws by Collin Falls in the closing moments of the game sealed the deal for the Irish. Ironically, the points Falls scored to seal the game were the only points the junior who was averaging just under 14 points a game scored all game.

Next up for the Irish will be Georgetown in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Tip off is set for 2:00 PM on Wednesday and the game will be aired nationally on ESPN. Georgetown won the regular season contest with the Irish in a double overtime thriller 85-82. A win for the Irish would give them another crack at Marquette who also beat the Irish in a close won 67-65 back in January.

At 15-12 the Irish will almost need to win the entire Tournament to make it into the Field of 64. While the Irish have numerous close calls with some of the nation’s elite, their record severely hinders their “resume.” If there is one thing the Irish have shown this year though, its that they can play with anyone in this league and won’t be an easy out for anyone.

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