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Brooks scores record 52 points, but Irish top Friars

Feb 24, 2011 - 4:25 AM Providence, RI (Sports Network) - Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis combined for 60 points to counter a record-setting game from Marshon Brooks, leading No. 9 Notre Dame over Providence, 94-93, in a rare Big East offensive showcase.

The Big East is best known for its hard-nosed defense and low-scoring slugfests, but Wednesday's meeting saw both teams shoot over 50 percent from the field.

Brooks was an unconscious 20-of-28 for a conference-record 52 points.

Despite Brooks' huge performance, the Fighting Irish (22-5, 11-4 Big East), backed by 32 points from Hansbrough and 28 from Abromaitis, fended off a late rally to rebound from Saturday's loss at West Virginia.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that ... Marshon Brooks was fabulous tonight and I'm just thrilled we withstood it and escaped with a win," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. "I'm thrilled we stayed in good position in the league."

Tyrone Nash filled the stat sheet with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to help send the Friars (14-14, 3-12) to their fifth straight loss.

The Irish scored seven of the first eight points of the second half, with an Abromaitis three-pointer yielding a healthy 55-39 cushion.

Brooks kept Providence in striking distance, hitting a three-pointer to pull within 74-67 with under nine minutes remaining. Six minutes later, the senior guard cut the deficit to six, 83-77, by banking in a tough turnaround.

After Carleton Scott missed a three-pointer, Brooks nailed two free throws with 2:21 to go to make it a four-point game.

Scott bricked another from long range, but Abromaitis secured a big offensive rebound and it was a free-throw contest from there.

Notre Dame stayed in front with suspect shooting from the line, and were only ahead 88-86 following two Brooks free throws with 32.8 seconds on the clock.

The Irish made their next six attempts from the line to stay in front by two possessions. Brooks nailed a three in the closing seconds to make it 94-93, and despite Abromaitis missing two free throws with one second to go, the Friars were unable to get a shot off to complete the unlikely comeback.

Abromaitis hit his first six shots from the field and netted 15 points in the opening six-plus minutes. Scott Martin followed the sharpshooter's third three-ball of the game with one of his own, giving the Irish a 21-10 lead early on.

Hansbrough caught fire a little later, scoring 10 points in less than two minutes, to keep the visitors in front by a comfortable margin.

The Friars held their own on the offensive end, hitting a respectable 17-of-35 from the field in the first half, but Notre dame made 58 percent and held a 48-38 advantage at the break.

Game Notes

Hansbrough's scoring output was a career-high...Brooks, who had 43 points in an 83-81 loss to Georgetown on February 5, single-handedly outscored DePaul on Wednesday. The Blue Demons lost to St. John's 76-51...Vincent Council added 13 points, six assists and five rebounds for Providence, which shot 54 percent from the field...The Irish made 56 percent of their shots and 21-of-30 from the foul line...Notre Dame next hosts Seton Hall on Saturday, while Providence looks to end its skid at Marquette on Sunday.