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
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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