for this game

Notre Dame edges Rutgers, earns bye in conference tourney

Mar 4, 2007 - 3:30 AM PISCATAWAY, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Thanks to Colin Falls, Notre Dame will have a day off next week at Madison Square Garden.

Falls made five 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead the 17th-ranked Fighting Irish to a 73-66 Big East Conference triumph over Rutgers.

It was the fifth straight victory for Notre Dame (23-6, 11-5 Big East), which secured the fourth overall seed and a first-round bye in next week's Big East Conference Tournament.

A 6-5 senior, Falls was outstanding in his final regular-season game, shooting 5-of-10 from the arc and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line to pace four players in double figures.

Russell Carter scored 17 points, Rob Kurz chipped in 13 off the bench and Luke Harangody added 10 for the Fighting Irish, who shot just 39 percent (24-of-61) from the floor but made 10 3-pointers.

Adrian Hill scored 16 points for the Scarlet Knights (10-19, 3-13), who closed out the season with 12 losses in their last 14 games.

"Adrian Hill gets a chance to go out with 16 points and 18 rebounds," Rutgers coach Fred Hill said. "You can't ask for a better way to go out besides winning the ballgame."

After a sluggish first half in which they fell behind 35-26, the Scarlet Knights closed within 57-53 after a dunk by Hamady N'Diaye capped a 16-9 burst with 8:41 remaining.

However, Kurz came back with a three-point play and Russell Carter added a jumper and a dunk to make it 64-57 with 4:05 left.

Rutgers would not get any closer than five points thereafter as it missed six of its last nine shots over the final 3:41.

"I'm very proud the way the guys have played through adversity," Hill said. "That is all you can ask for when you are building, that you compete and get better."

Senior Marquis Webb scored 13 points and Courtney Nelson added 12 for the Scarlet Knights, who lost despite holding an impressive 34-5 advantage in bench points.

    --- --- -----
    NOTRE DAME (17) 35 38 73
    RUTGERS 26 40 66 FINAL

    Mar 3 6:07 PM

    NOTRE DAME (17) 35

    Mar 3 4:51 PM