Thomas scored 22 of his season-high 31 points in the second half
and Quinn added 17 points to lead the Irish to an 80-74 victory
over the Huskies on Monday, ending a three-game losing streak.
Thomas had been in a slump for six games before scoring 23 in a
loss to No. 4 Pittsburgh on Saturday, when Quinn went 0-for-8.
Against Connecticut, though, everything changed.
"We've been hearing that Chris Quinn and I can't play good
together on the same night, so we figured this is our last stand,"
Thomas said. "We couldn't take it anymore. We put it together and
the whole team put it together."
Torrian Jones added 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for
the Irish (11-9, 5-5 Big East).
"Their perimeter guys dominated the basketball game," UConn
coach Jim Calhoun said. "They dominated us in every which way.
That's a pretty good indication they kicked our butts."
Thomas, who was averaging just 11 points in the six games before
Pitt -- four of them losses -- was 6-of-10 from 3-point range and
It marked the second time in less than a month that an Irish
team upset a highly ranked UConn team. On Jan. 13, the unranked
Notre Dame women beat No. 4 UConn 66-51. Just as they had at that
game, the Irish students flooded the court to celebrate.
What made the victory even more surprising was that UConn (19-4,
7-2) had won five straight, while the Irish had lost five of seven.
"Tonight was a special night, not only for myself, but the team
and the program," Thomas said. "The guys in here worked so hard
and come in the locker room after three or four straight games and
just felt empty inside. This was huge."
"We didn't play well enough for a win," Okafor said.
Notre Dame held the Huskies to five fast-break points in the
game, none in the second half, but Calhoun thought that statistic
"But we probably didn't have 10 points on the fast break," he
said. "We weren't running the fastbreak. We had seven points on
the fast break to start the game, then we didn't run."
Thomas and the Irish slowed the pace down by repeatedly shooting
with five seconds or less left on the shot clock in the second
"Chris Thomas really quarterbacked the tempo offensively,"
Irish coach Mike Brey said.
The game was close throughout, with the Huskies leading by six
twice and the Irish leading 60-53 when Thomas hit a 3-pointer with
10:42 to go. The Huskies tied the score at 69 when Okafor scored
inside with 3:06 left.
But Thomas answered with a 3-pointer 18 seconds later, and the
Irish never trailed again.
"Chris had a tremendous game," Calhoun said. "He was big,
really big. He made big shots. When it was 69-69 he made a super
big shot -- one of our players decided it was not a good time to go
after him. You're not going to win basketball games that way."
Quinn made a free throw and Tom Timmermans hit a pair of free
throws with 49 seconds left to make it 75-69.