Feb 28, 2004
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Chris Thomas, Tom Timmermans and Chris Quinn scored at least 20 points each and Notre Dame defeated UCLA 75-60 Saturday, sending the Bruins closer to completing their first back-to-back losing seasons in nearly 62 years.
Thomas had 21 points and Timmermans and Quinn added 20 each as the Fighting Irish (14-11) stopped a two-game losing skid and won at Pauley Pavilion for the first time since Jan. 14, 1989. They improved to 7-15 in the arena.
Last season, the Bruins were 10-19 and coach Steve Lavin was replaced by Ben Howland. They have next week's road trip to Oregon before the Pac-10 Conference tournament, which would be their only postseason action.
The last time UCLA had last consecutive losing seasons was 1940-41, when the Bruins were 6-20 and followed up with a 5-18 record, both under Wilbur Johns. He gave way to John Wooden in 1948, who guided the Bruins to 10 of their 11 national championships.
The teams were playing for the first time in eight years after meeting at least once a season from 1966-83. Among the series' memorable moments was Notre Dame's 71-70 victory that ended UCLA's record 88-game winning streak on Jan. 19, 1974.
There was nothing memorable for the Bruins on Saturday. Some fans chanted, "Let's go Irish!" in the final 1˝ minutes and the arena cleared quickly before the final buzzer.
UCLA trailed all the way, falling behind by 19 in the first half and getting no closer than 11 points in the second. The Bruins played the kind of passive defense that has disappointed Howland all season.
Notre Dame had shot 30.5 percent from the field in its two previous losses. The Irish hit 47 percent in the first half Saturday, when they had three players in double figures and made nine of their 12 3-pointers.
Thomas finished with five 3-pointers from all over the floor, and Quinn was 4-of-6 from long-range. Timmermans' points were a career high.
The Irish were even better in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the floor. The Bruins improved to 52 percent in the final 20 minutes, but it didn't make much of a dent.
Torin Francis, Notre Dame's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, missed his fifth straight game because of a lower back injury and probably won't play again this season.