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Brother Rice's Ray Rubio scores on a fast break despite pressure from Marist'sLJ McIntosh Tuesday January 22, 2013 in Chicago. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

When host Brother Rice erupted for a 30-4 lead Tuesday night against Marist, it appeared the pregame hype leading up to the Battle of Pulaski Road would last longer than determining the victor.

But to Marist’s credit, it never wavered in its pursuit of victory.

In fact, the RedHawks did come back, clawing to within 48-43. It just wasn’t enough to extend their bragging rights over the No. 18 Crusaders to three games.

Brother Rice, behind seniors Jim Barista and Alex Majewski, downed archrival Marist 67-49 in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

Barista scored 25 points and Majewski 20 to key a balanced Crusaders attack.

“Jim kept hitting big shot after big shot, big free throw after big free throw,” Brother Rice coach Pat Richardson said. “He’s practiced only once since last Wednesday because of a shoulder injury. He was big (Tuesday).”

The RedHawks (13-6), behind a valiant effort by the 1-2 punch of L.J. McIntosh and Lexus Williams, cut the deficit to five with 6:39 remaining in the game. McIntosh (25 points) and Williams (20) combined for 45 of the RedHawks’ 49 points.

“It got me scared,” Barista said of Marist’s comeback. “I thought it was over when were up early. I was enjoying the crowd.”

Barista and Majewski combined for 16 of the Crusaders’ 23 points in the fourth quarter.

“We knew Williams and McIntosh could get them back in the game real quickly,” Richardson said. “We knew those guys were great.”

Rice hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, with Ray Rubio (10 points) nailing two and Barista and Quinn Niego one each. The Crusaders (16-2), however, didn’t convert another three the rest of the game.

Rice led 26-4 after one quarter and 32-14 at halftime.

Williams, though, scored 13 points in the third quarter, leading Marist back. McIntosh took over in the fourth quarter, recording 12 points.

“You have to believe and we did believe,” Marist coach Gene Nolan said of overcoming the 26-point deficit. “We didn’t play well. I was proud of our kids that they came back.”

Before the game, Brother Rice honored Andrew Weishar, a 2009 graduate who died of colorectal cancer in October. The administration presented the Weishar family with a framed jersey bearing the No. 45, Weishar’s number.

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