College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 23, 2011
When the NCAA tournament begins in about three weeks, the Providence Friars won't be there, nor will their superstar forward, Marshon Brooks, but Brooks will have left an indelible mark on this season already, as the most talented player in the country, but without much of the accolade.
In their 94=93 home loss to Notre Dame, Brooks set a season-high NCAA scoring mark that isn't likely to be broken, scoring 52 points on 20-for-28 shooting, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc and 6 of 10 from the foul line.
Not only did Brooks single-handedly keep the Friars in the game, but he shattered the Big East single game all time record of 48, set by another Friar from 1991, Eric Murdock and tied the school record with the most points ever scored against the Fighting Irish.
For Brooks and the Friars, however, the game will go into the books as another narrow defeat, their sixth loss by four points or fewer. Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough scored a season=high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis pumped in 28, but neither of them were sure they'd be leaving Providence's Dunkin' Donuts Center with a win until the final second of the game. Brooks had kept the Friars close with a dazzling array of shots - scoring 15 points in the final 2:39 - and Abromaitis, after missing the first of two free throws, intentionally missed the second with one second left, leaving Brooks with nothing but a desperation heave from three-quarter court that sailed over the far-off backboard.
When the awards come out for college player of the year, Brooks won't be mentioned, because his team has a poor record (14-14, 3-12 Big East), but his numbers speak for themselves: 25.4 points per game (49.6%), good for second in the nation behind BYU's Jimmer Fredette. Maybe, on a better team, with more scoring options, he'd score less. But then again, he might score even more.
Notre Dame's win made them 22-5 on the season and 11-4 in the Big East, a game and a half behind front-running Pitt, over whom the Irish already have a win. This team is ready for tourney time.
NOTABLE: #1 Duke didn't falter in their first game as the new top dog, dropping #23 Temple, 78-61, at Cameron Indoor. There were, however, two Tp 25 upsets. #11 Georgetown lost at home to Cincinnati, 58-46, and #22 Kentucky lost in overtime at Arkansas, 77-76. Both Georgetown and Kentucky look like shoo-ins for the tournament, but the win by Cincinnati (22-6, 9-6) probably punched their ticket to March Madness.