March 4, 1998
NEW YORK--Junior forwards Jamel Thomas and Justin Farley combined for 34 points to help lead the Providence College Friars to a 72-55 win over Notre Dame in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament. The win puts the Friars in the quarterfinals on Thursday against the #1-seeded University of Connecticut.
The Friars and Irish played for the second time in five games and again the Friars' defensive pressure was a key to the Friar attack as the PC guards John Linehan, Corey Wright and Kendrick Moore force Notre Dame into 19 turnovers.
The win improved Pete Gillen's young team to 13-15 overall while Notre Dame's season ends at 13-14. PC faces Connecticut at 12 noon on ESPN2 on Thursday.
Providence jumped out to a 10-4 lead after seven minutes paced by three point shots by Linehan and Farley. Notre Dame would get the first half lead as close as five points at 20-15 when Pat Garrity scored on a slam dunk with 4:55 left in the half to make it 20-15.
The Friars went on a 9-2 run and when Llewellyn Cole burried a three pointer from the left corner with 00.6 seconds left, PC went into the intermission with a 32-22 lead.
Notre Dame made a run at the Friars in the second half cutting the lead to 38-32 with 14:42 left in the contest before Farley and Thomas heated up again. Thomas hit a three-pointer, Farley added a pair of 15-foot jumpers and Corey Wright nailed a three at 10:50 and PC had a ten point lead at 48-38.
Notre Dame's All-America candidate Pat Garrity, the game's high scorer with 18 points, did his best to keep Notre Dame in the game, but it wasn't enough. Two jumpers cut the lead to six at 48-42, but that was as close as the Irish would get.
PC went on an 18-7 run over a six-minute and 20 second span to take their biggest lead of the game at 66-49 with 1:40 left in the game. Providence shot 44.1% (26-59) for the game while Notre Dame shot 33.3% (18-54) in the game.
Besides Garrity's 18 points, Antoni Wyche was in double figures with 11 points for the Irish. Erron Maxey had ten points for Providence while Linehan scored seven, had eight assists and grabbed five steals for the Friars.
NOTES....The Friars were 0-2 on the season with Connecticut, losing 63-56 in Providence and 77-68 on February 23 at Hartford...Jamel Thomas has now scored in double figures in 28 games this season...He and Pat Garrity are the only BIG EAST players to do that in every game this season...The Friars have won at least one BIG EAST Tournemant game since Pete Gillen took over as head coach in 1995...He owns a 5-3 record in the tournament....Thomas' triple double was his sixth this seasonn...The Friars eight turnovers was a season low for the Friars...The Friars have faced the number one seeded team seven times in the past and own 2-5 record in those games.