WASHINGTON – Marshon Brooks was sitting on 43 points, the fifth highest total ever in a Big East game. He also had the ball and was dribbling downcourt in the final seconds, needing one more basket to tie or win.
Chris Wright poked and came away with the steal at the midcourt line, cradling the ball as he hit the floor — and almost calling a timeout that Georgetown didn't have. Brooks also fell, hitting his head to add some pain to the misery as the final horn sounded.
While Brooks was grimacing, the No. 13 Hoyas were celebrating an 83-81 win over Providence on Saturday, a game that will be most remembered for the one-man show that wasn't quite enough.
"He's a special player who had a special day," Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "It's as simple as that. We put a lot of different people on him. He scores in every way possible."
Georgetown (18-5, 7-4) won its sixth straight despite nearly blowing an 18-point, second-half lead against a team that hasn't won on the road this season. Austin Freeman scored 23 points, Jason Clark had 18, Wright added 16 and Julian Vaughn put in 14 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds for the Hoyas, who went 0 for 11 from 3-point range in the second half and also missed seven free throws in the final nine minutes.
While Georgetown was spreading the joy around, the Friars (14-10, 3-8) were all Brooks and reserve guard Duke Mondy (19 points). The pair accounted for all but 19 of Providence's points and combined to go 22 of 39 from the field, while the rest of the team was 7 for 32. Vincent Council was 0 for 10 and Gerard Coleman just 3 for 13.
Brooks went 17 of 28 from the field and 7 for 10 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and played all 40 minutes. His point total was the second highest all-time by a Providence player in a Big East game, behind Eric Murdock's conference-record 48 against Pittsburgh in 1991. And it just so happened to match the career high set by Georgetown Hall of Fame coach John Thompson when he played for the Friars in the 1960s.
"He single-handedly kept us in the game," Providence coach Keno Davis said.
The final sequence was set up when Wright made 1 of 2 free throws with 5.5 seconds to play, giving Georgetown a two-point lead. Both teams were out of timeouts — "I would have loved to purchase a couple more," Davis said — so Brooks caught the inbound pass in the backcourt and was on his way, shadowed by Clark and then Wright.
"Everybody in the gym knew he was going to shoot the ball," Wright said, "so I kind of left my man and I just had my eyes on the ball and tried to make a play."
Wright made the steal and initially appeared to try to call timeout just before the horn sounded, which would have resulted in a technical foul and two free throws for Providence. Asked if calling a timeout was his intention, Wright smiled and coyly said: "I don't remember."
Brooks, meanwhile, said the steal was clean. He sat on the floor long after the whistle had sounded and afterward sported an ice pack on his forehead.
"Nothing serious," he said. "I got kind of woozy, fell on top of my head, lost the ball."
Brooks, the only senior in the starting lineup, is now averaging 24.1 points for a team that is 0-7 on the road and hasn't won an away game since Jan. 14, 2010.
"I wouldn't say it's frustrating," he said, "because we're such a young team, and it's tough to win in this league with one senior playing a lot of minutes. I can't feel sorry, man. Just got to keep fighting."
Brooks' performance was so extraordinary that the superstitious Thompson broke with his usual postgame ritual and cracked a joke at the start of his news conference.
"I'll start off with a statement this time: I felt we did an outstanding job guarding Council," Thompson deadpanned to a room full of laughter. "We held that kid to three points."
More seriously, Thompson said of Brooks: "He's getting his, now let's see if we can take everyone else away. If you can take everyone else away when one player's having a special day, there's not too many people that can beat you by themselves. He was close."