March 2, 2002
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Ryan Humphrey scored five of his 21 points as Notre Dame ended the game with a 19-4 run to beat Providence 77-68 Saturday, holding the Friars without a field goal the final 7:09.
Providence (15-15, 6-10 Big East), which led 41-38 at halftime, led by seven points four times during the second half, the final time when Tuukka Kotti hit a 14-foot jumper in the lane with 7:10 left to move ahead 64-57.
David Graves answered with a three-point play as he drove for the basket, and almost had a chance for another but his shot bounced out. He made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 64-62 with 6:19 to go.
The Irish tied it at 64 on a 10-foot jumper by Chris Thomas, but the Friars went ahead 65-64 on a free throw by Rob Sanders. Humphrey scored on a rebound and Matt Carroll hit a 3-pointer as the Irish began to pull away.
The Friars missed their last 11 shots, shooting 38.9 percent for the game, and turned the ball over three times during their basketless run.
The victory gives Notre Dame (20-9, 10-6) its third straight 20-win season, the first time that’s happened in 13 years. The Irish can earn a first-round bye in the Big East tournament for finishing second in the West Division if Syracuse loses to Boston College on Sunday.
Providence has lost five of its last eight.
Humphrey added 13 rebounds for his seventh consecutive double-double, and had seven assists and three steals. Matt Carroll scored 16 points and Graves had 14 points and eight assists. Thomas had 13 points and three assists, giving him 217 for the season. That breaks the school record of 214 set by Jackie Meehan during the 1970-71 and tied by Jimmy Dillon two years ago.
Abdul Mills led Providence with 14 points. John Linehan added 10. The Irish held him to three points in the second half.