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14-11

Notre Dame-Providence Preview

AP - Sports

Two of the most important people on this two-game road trip for Notre Dame may be the chiropractor and massage therapist that coach Mike Brey says he is taking along.

The No. 21 Fighting Irish have gone past regulation in consecutive victories and will look to defeat a resurgent Providence team for the 10th straight time Saturday.

Notre Dame (20-5, 8-4) played the longest regular-season game in Big East history last Saturday, winning 104-101 at home over then-No. 11 Louisville, before needing one extra session to post an 82-78 home victory over DePaul on Wednesday.

The Fighting Irish's three wins this month have all needed overtime, and they have won nine of their last 11 OT contests. Now they must play twice in three days, visiting No. 16 Pittsburgh on Monday.

"You do Saturday what we did, five overtimes, overtime (Wednesday) and then we go Saturday, Monday on the road, too," Brey said. "I'm very concerned about it. We've really paced ourselves in terms of we're not going to practice long. We bring our chiropractor and a little bit of a massage therapist on the road with us."

Notre Dame has not lost to Providence (13-11, 5-7) since a 73-59 defeat Feb. 24, 2004, winning six straight road games in this series.

The Friars, however, are seeking to win four Big East games in a row for the first time since a six-game run in 2004. Providence shot 64.0 percent in a 51-point second half of Wednesday's 74-64 victory at South Florida.

"Providence is just really a good basketball team," Brey said. "Caught the second half of (the) game against South Florida and they just exploded down there in Tampa. They have beaten good people all year."

Providence opened the second half on a 23-2 run that erased an 11-point deficit. Kadeem Batts scored 16 of his 24 points after halftime and LaDontae Henton finished with 19.

"We're more of a second-half team, and we really battled back," Batts said. "We didn't really get down on ourselves. We just kept fighting all game."

Bryce Cotton, averaging a conference-high 20.5 points, has combined for 24 and shot 23.8 percent in the last two games. Batts has stepped up with 49 points in those wins.

Notre Dame took the lone meeting last season, 75-69 at home behind Jack Cooley's 27 points and 17 rebounds. Henton led the Friars with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Cotton made 2 of 11 shots for seven points.

Cooley has posted a career-best five straight double-doubles, averaging 16.0 points and 12.8 rebounds in that span. He tops the Big East in rebounding with 11.2 per game, with Henton is also among the leaders at 8.0.

The Irish are shooting a conference-best 38.6 percent on 3-pointers while the Friars lead the Big East in limiting opponents to 28.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Notre Dame's Jerian Grant is 14 of 31 (45.2 percent) from 3-point range over the last six games. He's totaled 40 points and 15 assists in the last two while backcourt mate Eric Atkins has 27 points and 11 assists.

The Friars ended a six-game slide against ranked opponents by winning 54-50 over then-No. 17 Cincinnati at home Feb. 6.

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