Marshon Brooks Breaks Big East Scoring Record, But Notre Dame Still Beats Providence

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Notre Dame was extremely lucky to escape the Dunkin Donuts Center with a win over Providence. And it took Ben Hansbrough’s career-high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis’ season-high 28 to get it done. That’s because 6-5 senior swingman Marshon Brooks scored a Providence and Big East-record 52 points.

Besides leading the conference and his team in scoring and rebounding, Brooks is also first on the team in 3-pointers made. He was named to the 30-player national midseason watchlist for the 2011 John R. Wooden Award.

It was his second 40-point game of the season and one of the best individual performances in college basketball this season. He had 43 in an 83-81 loss at Georgetown on February 5. Still No. 9 Notre Dame hung on for a 94-93 win over struggling Providence on Wednesday night  The Irish (22-5, 11-4 Big East) are off to their best start ever in 11 seasons under coach Mike Brey.

By Paul M. Banks

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Brooks’ 52 points was the most ever scored against Notre Dame, which hadn’t allowed a 40-point scorer since Danny Manning in 1987. Brooks, only the third player in Providence history to score 40 points or more twice in a season, surpassed the previous high of 45 by Michigan State’s Julius McCoy on Dec. 21, 1955.

“I’m thrilled that we escaped with a win,” said coach Mike Brey after Brooks also set a single-game record for points allowed by the Irish. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a performance like that by a young man. That was outstanding.”

The Irish hadopened an 81-70 lead on Tyrone’s Nash’s layup with just under 6 minutes to play. Then, Brooks started an incredible run to cap his 35-point second half. He scored 15 of his points in the closing 2:57, narrowing the deficit to two points on three occasions and to the final margin with a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. Providence (14-14, 3-12) has lost six of seven after beating then-No. 19 Louisville and No. 8 Villanova four days apart in late January.

The Irish, who led by 10 at halftime, pushed it to 55-39 on Abromaitis’ fourth 3-pointer 2 1/2 minutes into the second half. They maintained a double-digit advantage until the Friars closed to 72-64 on Duke Mondy’s 3 from the left corner with 9:22 to play. Notre Dame, which lost 72-58 at West Virginia on Saturday, shot 58.2 percent, including 9 of 21 on 3-point attempts. The Irish won their eighth straight against the Friars.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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