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Falls leads Notre Dame past DePaul

Feb 21, 2007 - 5:21 AM SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- DePaul watched Colin Falls and Notre Dame shoot a hole in its NCAA Tournament dreams Tuesday night.

Falls scored 19 points to lead five players in double figures as the 23rd-ranked Fighting Irish avenged an earlier loss to the Blue Demons, 78-54, in a Big East Conference matchup.

Notre Dame (21-6, 9-5 Big East) won its third straight game and improved to 17-0 at home as it looks to shore up a spot in the NCAA Tournament and grab a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament.

"They (Notre Dame) are a good team and you don't go 17-0 at home unless you're comfortable in your own arena," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright said.

The Fighting Irish took control of the game in the first half when Falls knocked down two 3-pointers during a 13-4 run over six minutes which stretched the lead to 31-14 with 5:07 left.

"Here is a senior coming down the stretch playing his best basketball," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of Falls.

"They landed the first punch, and they followed it up," Wainwright said. "Sometimes there are nights like this where you just have it, and tonight, they had it."

Notre Dame went into the half with a 40-22 lead after holding DePaul to just 27 percent (9-of-33) shooting.

The Irish defense did not let up in the second half, especially from the perimeter, as DePaul managed just 2-of-19 shooting from the arc on the game. Sammy Mejia led the Blue Demons with 17 points.

DePaul (16-12, 7-7) had beaten Notre Dame just 12 days ago, 67-66, in Chicago as Wilson Chandler scored 25 points and blocked a shot at the buzzer to preserve the win.

"I think that was our motivation and our hunger," Falls said. "That was what was driving us, we weren't going to lose this ball game."

The Irish didn't allow Chandler to be a factor on Tuesday, holding him to just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting.

Rob Kurz scored 15 points Tory Jackson added 13 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame.

"We're undefeated at home, that's impressive," Falls said. "We now have a chance to do something really impressive. If we can stay undefeated that is just a great emotion booster."

    --- --- -----
    DEPAUL 22 32 54
    NOTRE DAME (23) 40 38 78 FINAL

    Feb 20 8:50 PM

    DEPAUL 22

    Feb 20 7:49 PM