Cincinnati, No. 9/9 Notre Dame and No. 23/25 St. John’s all notched wins on Wednesday night, making the 3 through 8 spots in the conference standings separated by just one game with a little over a week remaining in the regular season.
Wednesday also saw a record-breaking performance from Providence swingman Marshon Brooks, who set a new BIG EAST single game scoring mark after torching Notre Dame for 52 points. The previous record was held by former Friar Eric Murdock, who scored 48 points against Pittsburgh in 1991. Brooks shot 20-of-28 (71.8 percent) from the floor. The 20 field goals also were the most made in a BIG EAST game, breaking a record set by Miami’s Steve Rich in 1996. The senior helped Providence (14-14, 3-12) score 55 points in the second half, the most points scored in a half by a BIG EAST team this season.
Notre Dame’s Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points in the victory, as Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis combined for 60 points. The Irish (22-5, 11-4) led by 10 (48-38) at halftime, shooting 58.1 percent in the first frame including draining eight 3-pointers. Notre Dame was able to hold on at the end, with PC coming as close at one with one second remaining. Abromaitis missed a pair of free throws but Brooks’ full-court heave was no good as time expired. The Irish have won eight of their last nine games and eight-straight in the series against Providence.
Cincinnati (22-6, 9-6) defeated No. 11/11 Georgetown 58-46, marking the first time in seven years that the Bearcats have defeated a ranked opponent on the road. The nine BIG EAST wins are also the most by Cincinnati since joining conference. The Bearcats showed why they have the No. 1 ranked scoring defense in the BIG EAST, holding Georgetown (21-7, 10-6) to 25 percent shooting for the game and just 4-of-23 in the second half. The Hoyas went without a field goal for the first 10 minutes of the second half. Cincinnati was led by Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon who had 17 points apiece, while Gates also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. The win was the third-straight for Cincinnati and gave the squad back-to-back wins over top 25 opponents. Georgetown got 19 points from Austin Freeman. Guard Chris Wright was injuring in the game, playing just 24 minutes and scoring two points.
Playing their first game as a rnaked team in more than 10 years, St. John’s ( 18-9, 10-5) defeated DePaul 76-51 at Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm were led by Dwight Hardy, who scored 21 points and grabbed five rebounds. D.J. Kennedy had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. St. John’s has won eight of its last nine games. It was a 12-0 run midway through the first half that gave the Red Storm control, taking a 33-14 lead with 3:08 remaining. DePaul (7-20, 1-14) was led by Cleveland Melvin, who scored 16 points.
Thursday night has a double-header of BIG EAST action on ESPN. The first game has Connecticut hosting Marquette at 7 p.m. Eastern, followed by West Virginia at Pittsburgh at 9 p.m.