SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Ben Hansbrough scored 12 of his career-high 26 points from 3-point range, and No. 14 Notre Dame beat St. John's 76-61 on Saturday night, ending the Red Storm's five-game winning streak and handing them their first Big East loss.
Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin added 12 each for the Irish (14-2, 3-1 Big East), and Abromaitis had nine rebounds. Notre Dame improved to 11-0 at home, delighting the Joyce Center crowd that turned out despite a storm that dumped nearly 3 feet of snow on the South Bend area.
Justin Brownlee led St. John's (10-4, 3-1) with 17 points and seven rebounds. But unlike the last five games, when four players averaged double figures, he didn't get much help. Dwayne Polee II (12 points) was the only other player in double figures, and St. John's shot just 38 percent, well below the 52 percent it shot during its winning streak.
St. John's showed glimpsed of the team that was once a Big East powerhouse with its winning streak, taking two straight on the road and knocking off a ranked team, Georgetown, for the first time in two years. But Notre Dame quickly squelched any hope the Red Storm had of extending the run as Hansbrough made three 3-pointers in 2½ minutes to give Notre Dame an 18-7 lead with 11:45 left.
Brownlee got St. John's within single digits on a hook shot, but Atkins responded with the shot of the night. With the shot clock ticking down, Notre Dame couldn't get an open look around the basket and the ball got kicked out to Atkins, who coolly drained a 3 as the buzzer sounded.
Brownlee answered with a 3 of his own to pull St. John's within 29-20 with 6:11 left. But the Irish finished the half with a 15-5 run and the Red Storm never got within single digits again.