Irish Rewind: Chris Quinn, Notre Dame fall shot short at Pittsburgh

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

PITTSBURGH -- Head bowed and a sweat-soaked jersey hanging loose, Notre Dame senior co-captain Chris Quinn stalked away staring at the Petersen Events Center floor Wednesday after nearly leading the Irish back from the brink time and time again.

Having trailed by seven points on four different occasions over the final 10:35 of play, including the final 35 seconds of regulation and again with 1:08 left in the first overtime, the Irish found ways to force extra sessions, but ran out of time and fresh players as the clock expired on a 100-97 double-overtime loss to Pittsburgh in front of 12,508.

"It's a tough one to handle," said Quinn, who scored a career- and game-high 37 points in 49 minutes. "It's very tough to take. We gave ourselves a chance to win."

It was Notre Dame's first double-overtime game since a 93-92 victory over Georgetown on Feb. 1, 2003.

"I've lost track, there were so many plays," said a drained Irish coach Mike Brey, who shed his suit coat after a Quinn layup tied the game at 93 to send it to double overtime. "It feels like we've played seven league games. It was a great college basketball game."

One that was not decided until Notre Dame freshman Luke Zeller's 3-pointer from the wing, which would have produced a third five-minute period, rolled off the top of the rim as the horn sounded. In the end, all the Irish had to show for it was an effort that saw their seven-game win streak snapped. Notre Dame is 9-3 overall, 0-1 in the Big East.

Pittsburgh, which placed five players in double figures led by 25 points from Aaron Gray and 21 from guard Carl Krauser, improved to 12-0 overall, 1-0 in the league.

Heckled by the home crowd late in regulation and hounded by a host of defenders all night, Quinn was actually having a quiet, but efficient evening before getting going late in the second half. At one point during a 3:27 stretch, he scored 16 consecutive points, including a four-point play. That helped the Irish slice a nine-point deficit to three with 33 seconds remaining in regulation.

It got to a point where everything he tossed up -- runners down the lane, floaters from the baseline and 3-point shots well behind the NBA line -- found the net.

"Oh, man," Gray said afterward when asked of Quinn's 13-of-23 shooting display. "You've just got to marvel at him."

It was, Quinn said afterward, a feeling and a focus he had not had since high school back in Dublin, Ohio. Every time he rose up, whether he had a hand in his face or not, Quinn felt the ball was going to drop.

"The only way we were going to get back in it was if we forced some stuff and score pretty quickly," said Quinn, who scored 30 of his 37 in the second half and the extra sessions. "I didn't pay attention (to the fans). Everywhere you go, you're going to hear stuff from the fans.

"I just continued to play my game."

With little working for the Irish in the low post, Brey finally decided to put four perimeter players around Quinn and let the senior guard go for it.

"I wish we could get him a win in here because he's played so well in here," Brey said. "He was carrying us. That's one unbelievable performance."

Quinn tied his previous career best of 25 last season in this building. He had that many at the end of regulation. His 37 points set a new Petersen Events Center record, breaking the previous mark of 31 set by former Irish guard Matt Carroll.

A Quinn floater gave the Irish a 95-93 lead in the second overtime. He then found Zeller rolling down the lane for a dunk following a Sam Young free throw to make it 97-94 Irish with 2:18 to play. Young, just a freshman, responded with another jumper before an empty offensive trip for the Irish set up the decisive score. Ronald Ramon's 3 from the corner gave the home team the lead for good before Quinn's fifth foul sent him out of the game with six seconds left.

Quinn had pulled the Irish back with big shot after big shot. The Irish trailed by seven with 68 seconds remaining in the first five-minute extra session before his 3 made it 90-86. A five-point deficit became three after a Russell Carter rebound and lay-in. Trailing again by five with 21.8 seconds to play in the first overtime, Quinn scored five unanswered, the final two off a layup, and the teams played on.

Many in the building felt that this one would be over early as Pittsburgh led by eight with less than three minutes left in regulation. But when Krauser fouled out, the complexion of the whole contest changed. As one senior leader went to the bench, another, this one in a No. 2 Irish jersey took over. Late in regulation, perhaps sensing the Panthers would key on him in the closing seconds, Quinn found junior Colin Falls for two critical shots.

Trailing by four with 20.3 seconds remaining, Quinn drove the lane, then spied Falls in the corner. Falls, who to that point had been 1-of-9 from the floor, drained a 3 to make it 75-74. Following a Levon Kendall dunk, Falls forced overtime, again off one of Quinn's nine assists.

"I was wide-open on both shots; (Quinn) just got me good looks," Falls said. "We kept fighting back. We've just got to finish it out."

Carter added 16 points, which tied his career high while Zeller tied his career-best with 11 points in his first conference contest. Eight Irish all logged at least 14 minutes as Brey scrambled to field five guys on the floor after four players fouled out, which help Pittsburgh finish 30-of-46 from the foul line.

"Different guys made plays when you play that long," Brey said.

Yet when the night started, way back at 7:06 p.m., nobody had any idea exactly how long. Nearly three hours later, it was over. Finally. The Irish remain on the road in league play with a game Saturday in suburban Chicago against DePaul.

"We've got to somehow get our legs back under us," Brey said.




min fg ft rb pf tp

29 Torin Francis 3 3-7 9 1 7

39 Luke Zeller 4 0-0 5 3 11

50 Chris Quinn 13 5-5 6 5 37

40 Colin Falls 3 0-0 5 5 9

41 Russell Carter 4 7-10 6 4 16

13 Rick Cornett 4 0-2 4 5 8

18 Kyle McAlarney 1 0-0 1 5 3

14 Rob Kurz 2 2-2 2 3 6

1+ Zach Hillesland 0 0-0 0 0 0

6 Ryan Ayers 0 0-0 0 1 0

Team 5

250 TOTALS 34 15-23 43 32 97

3-point fg-fga included in totals above: (Zeller 3-10, Quinn 6-9, Falls 3-10, Carter 1-5, McAlarney 1-2). TOTALS: 14-36 (38.9 percent).


min fg ft rb pf tp

17 John DeGroat 0 0-0 5 0 0

26 Levon Kendall 3 2-2 6 3 8

35 Aaron Gray 11 3-5 11 2 25

35 Ronald Ramon 3 4-6 3 4 12

34 Carl Kauser 5 8-10 4 5 21

5 Keith Benjamin 0 0-0 1 0 0

27 Levance Fields 1 8-14 3 0 11

9 Tyrell Biggs 2 0-0 1 4 4

1 Doyle Hudson 0 0-0 0 0 0

33 Antonio Graves 1 2-4 3 3 4

30 Sam Young 6 3-5 12 0 15

Team 2

250 TOTALS 32 30-46 51 21 100

3-point fg-fga included in totals above: (Levon 0-2, Ramon 2-4, Krauser 3-4, Fields 1-4, Graves 0-1). TOTALS: 6-15 (40.0 percent).

Halftime score: Pittsburgh 34, Notre Dame 30; Regulation: 77-77; First Overtime: 93-93. Shooting: Pittsburgh 32-65, 49.2 percent, Notre Dame 34-83, 41.0 percent. Assists: Pittsburgh 30 (Krauser 6, Fields 5, Graves 7), Notre Dame 19 (Quinn 9). Turnovers: Pitsburgh 15 (Gray 4), Notre Dame 10 (Quinn 3, McAlarney 3). Officials: Ed Corbett, J.D. Collins, Tony Greens. Attendance: 12,508.

Each week during the college basketball season, NDI takes a look back at a memorable Irish game with a reprint of the story that appeared in the South Bend Tribune.

This week's Irish Rewind jumps back nearly 11 years ago when Notre Dame opened conference play at Pittsburgh - exactly what this year's Notre Dame team will do with a visit to Petersen Events Center on New Year's Eve.

On Jan. 4, 2006, Notre Dame looked down and out again and again, only to come racing back behind guard Chris Quinn, who had himself a career game.

Quinn scored a career-high 37 points in a double-overtime loss to Pittsburgh. At the time, it was the most points for an opponent at the place locals call "The Pete."

This story appeared in the Jan. 5, 2006 edition of the Tribune.

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