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Men’s Basketball: Set for Seton

Andrew Gastelum | Friday, February 25, 2011

Heading into its final home stand of the season, home court advantage seems to take on a new meaning for No. 9 Notre Dame.

After surviving a scare from a struggling Providence team — mostly due to a 52-point eruption by senior guard Marshon Brooks — the Irish (22-5, 11-4) look to go undefeated at home this season with their final two home games this week, starting with Big East foe Seton Hall on Saturday night.

“That [was] just a great team win,” Irish coach Mike Brey said in a post-game radio interview after his team’s 94-93 win at Providence (14-14, 3-12) Wednesday night. “We can’t simulate these [close-game situations] in practice so it is good to have them down the stretch.”

The all-around team effort and 56 percent shooting night was led by Irish leading scorer senior guard Ben Hansbrough, who netted a career-high 32 points as Brooks’ went on his scoring tear. The Irish had four players score in double figures, including a season-high 28 points by fourth year forward Tim Abromaitis.

“I thought for [Abromaitis], he was in a rhythm and we did a good job of finding him,” Brey said.

However, the Irish will have another dazzling Big East senior to defend in Pirates (11-16, 5-10) guard Jeremy Hazell, who has averaged 21.8 points per game in the past four contests while only being held under double-digits twice this season.

In Seton Hall’s 73-64 loss to Marquette last Saturday, the senior sharpshooter went for 23 points, passing Notre Dame’s Colin Falls for the most 3-pointers made in Big East history with 192.

Notre Dame will also have to find a way around a stalwart Seton Hall defense, which held then- No. 10 Syracuse to 68 points in a 90-68 win at the Carrier Dome in January. This season, the Pirates have held teams to only 65.2 points per game while forcing 14.5 turnovers per game.

“They are going to press us and come after us,” Brey said. “They have shot freely on the road, putting up 90 points

against Syracuse and they are going to come in here loose.”

Meanwhile, the Irish will honor their all-time leading scorer at halftime, 1970-1971 All-American guard Austin Carr. Carr scored 2,560 points in three years of varsity basketball at Notre Dame (1968-1971) and averaged 34.6 points per game while breaking the 40-point mark 23 times in his collegiate career. The Naismith winner eventually went on to a 10-year career in the NBA with the Cavaliers, Mavericks and Washington Bullets and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

“What a special night [it will be] as we put Austin Carr in our ring of honor,” Brey said. “The production he had before [the institution of] the 3-point line in college basketball is kind of unheard of.”

The Irish will welcome Seton Hall to the Purcell Pavilion Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a late-season Big East matchup.