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Irish cut down third straight ranked opponent

©Associated Press
December 9, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Notre Dame won't be sneaking up on any more opponents this season.

The unranked Fighting Irish won their third straight game over a ranked team, upsetting No. 2 Texas 98-92 on Sunday in the championship game of the BB&T Classic.

"We came into Washington off the radar screen," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We are going to be all over the radar screen now."

In a matchup of two of the nation's best point guards, Notre Dame's Chris Thomas got the better of Texas' T.J. Ford down the stretch.

Thomas finished with 19 points and eight assists and made two free throws with 25 seconds left to give Notre Dame a 96-92 lead.

The Longhorns erased a 13-point second-half deficit and led by five with three minutes left, but Thomas' 3-pointer with 2:06 left gave the Irish an 85-83 lead they never relinquished.

"I guess if you didn't care who won, it was a great game," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "It certainly was a game of runs."

Ford, who led the nation in assists last season as a freshman, had 21 points and 11 assists and was named tournament MVP, but down the stretch he had a driving layup blocked, turned the ball over and missed a 3-pointer that could have brought the Longhorns within a point in the final seconds.

"We just had to make shots and that's what we didn't do toward the end, especially me," Ford said.

The Irish made 13 of 27 3-pointers and the Longhorns fared even better, going 14-for-25. Sydmill Harris, who scored a career-high 25 for Texas, and Brian Boddicker shot a combined 10-of-11 from 3-point range.

"I didn't think they could shoot at that level," Brey said of the Longhorns, who had shot 30 percent from 3-point range this season. "When one guy gets going, it gets contagious."

NO. 9 MARYLAND 93, GW 82: When Gary Williams demanded an emotional performance to end a rare losing streak, Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas delivered.

Blake had career highs of 27 points and five 3-pointers, and Nicholas added 27 points to lead the Terrapins in the third-place game of the BB&T Classic.

Blake didn't score until he made his first 3-pointer with 9:29 left in the first half and the Colonials ahead 31-24. That started a streak of 10 points by the senior guard.

"We were struggling a little bit and I wanted to get things going," Blake said. "I told myself there was no way we were going to lose this game. I wanted to make things happen."

The Terrapins, who were 4-for-17 on 3-point attempts in a loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, were 12-for-17 against the Colonials.

NEBRASKA 80, NO. 20 MINNESOTA 60: Andrew Drevo had career highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead the host Cornhuskers.

Drevo, a transfer from Division II Morningside, scored 10 as Nebraska took a 16-0 lead. The Gophers, playing their third game in five days, missed their first five shots from the field and committed five turnovers before Scott Bauer scored 5:59 into the game.

The Cornhuskers scored on seven of their first 10 possessions to start the rout, with Drevo hitting two 3-pointers and dunking two putbacks.

NO. 21 MICH. ST. 79, CLEVELAND ST. 47: Slovenia native Erazem Lorbek scored a career-high 16 and didn't miss a shot as the host Spartans rolled.

Lorbek, a 6-foot-10 reserve freshman, made all four of his field-goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, and was 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Michigan State held the Vikings without a field goal for the final 7:30 of the first half during an 18-1 run that gave it a 37-14 halftime lead.

ACC

N.C. STATE 76, S. CAROLINA 64: Julius Hodge scored a career-high 26 and Marcus Melvin added 18 as the host Wolfpack found its offense in the nick of time. North Carolina State trailed for all but one possession of the first 30 minutes before Hodge and Melvin keyed a 17-3 run that helped put away the Gamecocks.

SEC

AUBURN 82, RUTGERS 70: Marco Killingsworth scored 23 and Marquis Daniels had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists for the host Tigers. Derrick Bird scored 19, including 9 of 10 free throws, and Kyle Davis added 10 for Auburn, which shot 57.1 percent to 38.2 for the Scarlet Knights.

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