Thomas carries Irish to upset over No. 2 Texas

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Notre Dame won't be sneaking up on any more

opponents this season.

Notre Dame's Matt Carroll, left, Chris Thomas, center, and Dan Miller celebrate after the final buzzer.
Notre Dame's Matt Carroll, left, Chris Thomas, center, and Dan Miller celebrate after the final buzzer.

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


Thomas finished with 19 points and eight assists and made two

free throws with 25 seconds remaining to give Notre Dame (8-1) a

96-92 lead.

The Longhorns (5-1) erased a 13-point second-half deficit and

led by five with three minutes remaining, but Thomas' 3-pointer

with 2:06 left gave the Irish an 85-83 lead they never


''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 game's final seconds.

''We just had to make shots and that's what we didn't do towards

the end -- especially me,'' Ford said.

The Irish were 13-of-27 from 3-point range, and the Longhorns

fared even better, going 14-of-25. Sydmill Harris, who scored a

career-high 25 points 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.''

Despite the hot outside shooting from both teams, Barnes said

freshman forward Torin Francis made the difference for the Irish,

scoring 21 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking eight shots.

He credited Francis with shutting down Texas' big men, particularly

center James Thomas, who was 1-of-6 from the field and scored six


''We had the game won, but we gave it away because of

rebounding,'' Barnes said.

''Torin has taken a huge step forward,'' Brey said.

Texas trailed 57-44 with 18:54 remaining, then went on a 30-11

run that gave it a 76-70 lead with 8:45 remaining.

But the Irish, trailing 83-78 with three minutes left, responded

with a 12-0 run, capped by Dan Miller's 3-pointer with 1:20

remaining to make it 90-83.

Miller, heckled throughout the tournament by Maryland fans upset

that he transferred from the Terrapins to the Irish, scored 20


''I heard the boos, but it wasn't a problem,'' Miller said.

Notre Dame's victory follows wins over No. 13 Marquette and No.

9 Maryland, the latter on Saturday in the first round of the


''I can't quite digest this week yet,'' Brey said. ''It's been a

fabulous stretch. In the three games this week we did a lot of

growing up.''

The last time an unranked team beat ranked teams in three

consecutive games was last year when Arizona opened the season with

victories over No. 2 Maryland, No. 6 Florida and No. 23 Texas.

The loss will probably drop the Longhorns in the Top 25 and ruin

the chance of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup as Texas visits top-ranked

Arizona next Sunday.

The teams played a tight, up-tempo game in the first half, with

five lead changes in the first 14 minutes, but the Irish were able

to open a 51-44 halftime lead. Notre Dame then opened the second

half with long 3-pointers by Thomas and Carroll to take a 57-44


In the tournament's third-place game, Maryland beat George

Washington 93-82.