Month: November 2013

Friars Upend Stags to Move to 7-1

The Friars led from start to finish Friday afternoon, in a 78-69 win over Fairfield.

Coming off of a disappointing loss to Maryland in the Paradise Jam final, Providence looked rejuvenated, taking a 40-30 lead into the break.

The most significant points in the first half came on a pair of LaDontae Henton free throws that allowed Henton to reach and then surpass the 1,000 point plateau for his career.

Senior Bryce Cotton scored 16 of the Friars’ 38 points in the second half and led all scorers with 24 points, making 18-of-19 free throws in the game.

Although Providence only shot 27 percent from the field in the second half, their big first half was enough to lift them past Fairfield.

More importantly, the Friars were able to pull out a win and avoid the woes of a trap game, as the Friars tipped off with the Stags just two days before facing Kentucky at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Another positive was that all five Friar starters were in double figures for the first time this season.

Tyler Harris kept up his impressive play as well, finishing second on the team in scoring with 16 points.

The Stags were led by Marcus Gilbert, who chipped in with 23 points.

The Friars (7-1) will tip off with Kentucky at 830 on Sunday night. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

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Friars Overcome Slow Start to Top La Salle

After falling in a 10-0 hole early, the Friars ended the first half on a 30-16 run and never looked back in a 71-63 win over La Salle Sunday night to punch their ticket to the championship of the Paradise Jam.

Taking some time to adapt to the play of La Salle, Providence switched from zone to man after early defensive woes, paying instant dividends.

Although battling foul trouble, Kadeem Batts sparked Providence in the first half with a much needed 11 points, establishing a presence inside.

In the second half, it was the Tyler Harris show. Harris finished with a game high 22 points, including some big buckets and free throws down the stretch.

Batts added seven second half points to chip in with 18 points.

Despite a 3-for-15 shooting performance, Bryce Cotton finished the game in double-figures with 11 points.

La Salle was led by Jerrell Wright and Tyreek Duren, who each netted 16 points.

The Friars will look for their first 7-0 start since the 1988-89 season Monday night, when they take on Maryland at 10pm for the Paradise Jam championship.

Friars Upend Vanderbilt With Late Comeback

Down 16 points with 10 minutes to go, the Friars went on a 17-0 run to take the lead near the three minute mark, finishing the game on a remarkable 27-4 run in a 67-60 win over Vanderbilt in the opening round of the Paradise Jam.

Trailing 31-26 at halftime, Providence came out flat in the second half, allowing Vanderbilt to mount a 16 point lead.

But led by point guard Kris Dunn, the Friars were able to chip away. Dunn, who filled up the score sheet with 10 points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals, was able to use his length to get in passing lanes and force turnovers.

Following Providence’s best win of the young season, Coach Cooley called it “an incredible team win.”

The Friars were led offensively by four players in double-figures: Dunn (10), LaDontae Henton (12), Bryce Cotton (14), and Tyler Harris (15).

Vanderbilt’s Rod Odom led all scorers with a game-high 17 points.

The Friars remain undefeated at 5-0 and will now play La Salle at 9:30 on Sunday for a trip to the championship.

Dunn Is The Straw That Stirs The Drink For The Friars

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Photo: zimbio.com

By Chris Metcalf

During the second half of last season, Friar fans saw a small sample of what McDonald’s All-American point guard Kris Dunn was capable of on the basketball court. It was no coincidence that Providence College made a strong push in the later part of the 2012-13 season once Dunn began to settle in and adapt to the college basketball pace. He did miss the entire preseason and several weeks of the season after having surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder, after all. Even when Dunn made his debut for the Friars, it was clear that the strength in his shoulder was not where it needed to be to battle Big East competition every game. There would be flashes of the type of talent he possessed in every game that he played, but it became more consistent at the very end of the year and into the postseason NIT, where Providence lost in the quarterfinals to a good Baylor team. Although Senior point guard Vincent Council ran the show offensively for the Friars last year, it was Dunn that could step in and energize the team with his speed and aggressive defense.

Head coach Ed Cooley was ready to hand over the reins to his highly touted point guard immediately this season. That is because there are very few players in the college game that possess the speed, court vision, and defensive toughness that Kris Dunn can bring to his team night in and night out. The problem is that he has not been able to stay healthy. After injuring the same right shoulder in the opening exhibition game this year, the coaches and fans all feared that it could end in another surgery, ending his sophomore season before it even began. Thankfully, he took the court against Vermont prior to the big Paradise Jam tournament that Providence is playing in this weekend. He instantly became a spark off the bench and created easy opportunities for his teammates on the offensive end, while hounding the Vermont Catamounts on the defensive end. Dunn finished his season debut with eight assists and three steals in only 21 minutes. Providence will need that kind of production from him in order to win the upcoming tournament, which involves the team playing three games in four days, beginning with Vanderbilt on Friday.

The Friars and their fans have high expectations about this season, and believe they have the talent to make it to their first NCAA tournament in about a decade. However, this team is not the same without Kris Dunn on the floor. It is extremely difficult nowadays to find point guards that have a pass-first mentality when they play. In a time when players want to “pad stats” and show that they can score, there are not many point guards that make sharing the ball with teammates their number one priority. With plenty of scorers on the Friars roster, it is abundantly clear that his teammates love playing with him because Dunn is one of those rare players. The Friar faithful hope to see a healthy Kris Dunn running the show for the remainder of the year. Ed Cooley wants the team to run in transition and create easy scoring chances, and that is Dunn’s specialty with his speed and vision in the open court. In his return to action, Providence instantly improves its defense, transition game, and team chemistry. The team definitely has talent, but Kris Dunn is the X-factor that can take the Friars to the next level.

Providence Remains Perfect With Win Over UVM

The Friars continued their impressive start to the season, blowing past Vermont 70-49 in Kris Dunn’s season debut.

Dunn’s impact was noticeable from the start, as Providence held the Catamounts to just 14 points in the first half, taking a 30-14 lead into the break behind an 18-1 run.

Although Dunn only scored three points, he dished out eight assists and thankfully looked healthy throughout the game, playing 21 minutes.

Bryce Cotton, who was named to the Big East’s Weekly Honor Roll earlier in the day, led the Friars alongside LaDontae Henton, each registering 18 points.

Kadeem Batts registered his third double-double in a row, netting 12 points and pulling down 10 boards.

The Catamounts were led by Luke Apfeld, who scored a team-high 14 points, and Clancy Rugg, who scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Friars are now 4-0 and will take on Vanderbilt in their first game of the Paradise Jam tournament on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Net.

Friars Power Past Marist, Move to 3-0

After blowing a big lead to Brown Wednesday night, the Friars were able to keep a big lead throughout Saturday afternoon, in an eventual 93-48 win over Marist.

After trailing 6-4 early in the first half, the Friars dominated the Red Foxes, taking a 47-17 lead into the half thanks to Bryce Cotton, Kadeem Batts, and LaDontae Henton, who were each in double figures at the break.

Unlike Wednesday night, there was no second half let down against Marist, as the Friars added 46 points to their 47 point first half total.

Cotton, who was held to just six points against Brown, led all scorers in the game with 28 points and also added a career-high 11 assists for his first double-double of the season.

Henton chipped in with 21 points and eight boards, while Batts netted 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double.

The Friars controlled all aspects of the game, holding a 48-26 advantage in rebounds and draining a season-high eight three-pointers.

Providence is now 3-0 and will host the Vermont Catamounts on Monday night at the Dunk at 7 p.m.

Friars Hang On For Ugly Win Over Brown

There was nothing pretty about Providence’s 73-69 win over Brown Wednesday night.

The Friars came out strong, getting Carson Desrosiers and Kadeem Batts going down low early, opening up shots for Tyler Harris, who netted a game-high 21 points.

Despite Brown forcing Bryce Cotton to be a non-factor, the Friars took a comfortable 44-30 lead into the half.

But maybe they were a little too comfortable.

Over the first 13 minutes of the second half, Brown, led by point guard Sean McGonagill, outscored the Friars 28-14 to tie the game 58-58.

Around the three minute mark, McGonagill nailed a three to give Brown a 66-63 lead, but LaDontae Henton, who was in foul trouble for much of the second half, answered back with a three of his own, tying the game once again.

That set up Josh Fortune to splash a three with less than a minute remaining, his only points of the night, to put the Friars up 69-66.

McGonagill stole the ball down by two with less than 10 seconds left, but it was a rare miss on a night where just about everything seemed to go in for him.

McGonagill led the way for the Bears, scoring 21 points, draining five three-pointers.

Batts chipped in with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Friars, notching his first double-double of the season.

The Friars are now 2-0 and will host Marist at the Dunk on Saturday at 4 p.m.