Brooks leads Providence to slump-busting win in overtime, 81-79 over Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Marshon Brooks scored four points in overtime Sunday and had a key block in the closing seconds, leading Providence to a slump-breaking 81-79 victory over Cincinnati.

The Friars (14-14, 5-11 Big East) blew a 10-point lead in regulation before rallying to only their second road victory of the season. They’d lost five in a row and nine of their last 10 overall.

Brooks made a leaning bank shot with 2 seconds left in regulation, tying it at 73. In overtime, he had a tip-in, two free throws and the decisive block, swatting away John Williamson’s driving shot from behind with about 4 seconds to go. The freshman guard finished with 15 points, matching his career high.

Cincinnati (13-15, 8-8) clinched a berth in the Big East tournament earlier in the week, a breakthrough for the rebuilding program. Then, the Bearcats went out and lost their third straight game.

Coach Tim Welsh juggled his lineup during the Friars’ week off between games, and it paid off. Brian McKenzie led Providence with 18 points, one of five players in double figures. Geoff McDermott moved to point guard and had 13 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Williamson had 19 points for Cincinnati, and freshman guard Larry Davis added a career-high 16.

The Friars opened the game with a 12-2 run set up by their defense. Cincinnati was only 1-for-8 with a pair of turnovers during the spurt.

During a 73-67 loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Bearcats were reduced to a two-man offense: Williamson had 27 points and Deonta Vaughn added 24. With the Friars guarding those two closely, Davis got open shots and kept Cincinnati close.

The freshman guard scored 12 in the first half—three shy of his career high—and turned it into a back-and-forth game.

Providence made four of its first five shots in the second half, stretching the lead to 48-38. That’s when Williamson started asserting himself inside, scoring three consecutive baskets while the Bearcats got the lead down to two.

Marcus Sikes’ putback put Cincinnati up 73-71 with 21 seconds left in regulation, but Brooks banked in the leaning jumper that sent it to overtime.

Providence played its third straight game without sophomore Dwain Williams, sidelined by a sprained ankle. The reserve guard averages 11 points, one of five Friars in double figures.

Freshman forward Alex Kellogg made his first career start for Providence and scored two points. Kellogg grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where his father, Clark, played for Ohio State.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Providence
Geoff McDermott Geoff McDermott
4-10,  13 Pts
14 Rebs, 9 Assists
 Cincinnati
Deonta Vaughn Deonta Vaughn
4-9,  13 Pts
4 Rebs, 7 Assists

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Sunday, Mar 2