Month: December 2013

Deja vu for Friars at UMass

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Providence (10-3) fell in a heartbreaker, 69-67, in overtime to #23/22 UMass last night at the Mullins Center.

After senior Bryce Cotton made a tough contested layup to send the game to overtime, UMass’ Derrick Gordon put back an offensive rebound to give his team the win with just one second remaining in the overtime period.

Looked a little familiar didn’t it? This marked the second straight season that UMass essentially beat Providence at the buzzer, clinching a win the same way in the Puerto Rico Tip Off last November.

Following the game, Providence head coach Ed Cooley stated: “I’m very, very, very disappointed we lost that game. This is back-to-back years losing at the buzzer to this team.”

The Friars deserved better than the ultimate outcome.

Fighting through a month of nothing but bad news for the program, the Friars proved that they’re still an elite team and played well enough to get a win on the road against a ranked opponent.

Led by Cotton’s game high 24 points, the Friars battled back from two UMass ten-point leads in the second half to force overtime.

Tyler Harris added 16 points for the Friars, while LaDontae Henton chipped in with 13.

UMass’ Cady LaLanne had a team high 14 points, leading five Minutemen in double figures.

The Friars are now set to kick off Big East play against Seton Hall on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. at the Dunk. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

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Austin, Bullock Out For Remainder of 13-14 Season

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Providence College announced Monday night that freshmen Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock will be sidelined for the remainder of the season: 

“Providence College is announcing today that freshmen Brandon Austin (Philadelphia, PA) and Rodney Bullock (Hampton, VA) will not compete in games for the College’s Men’s Basketball Team for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. The two student-athletes will be able to practice with the team.”

Austin, a 6’6″ small forward, figured to be a big part of the Friars’ lineup coming into the season, ranking 56th in the ESPN100 for the class of 2013. 

Austin and Bullock were suspended prior to the start of the season for an undisclosed incident. 

This is the second big blow that Providence has had to endure, losing sophomore point guard Kris Dunn to a shoulder injury for the rest of the season. 

The 10-2 Friars will move on with essentially a seven man rotation. They will return to action on the 28th, when Providence travels to #23 UMass for a 6:00 p.m. start. 

Friars Cruise Past Black Bears

Providence (10-2) powered past the University of Maine Black Bears (1-9), 94-70, Saturday afternoon at the Dunk to move to 7-0 at home this season.

The Friars led from start to finish, jumping out to a 56-33 lead at halftime on 19 first half points by Bryce Cotton.

Entering the game, Cotton led the Friars in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game.

In the second half, it was more of the same for the Friars, adding 38 points to their 56-point first half total.

With the win, Providence pushed their nonconference regular season home winning streak to 33 games.

Cotton added three second half points to finish with 22, while Kadeem Batts added his fourth double-double of the season on 22 points and 11 rebounds.

The Friars will return to action on Saturday the 28th, when they travel to UMass for a tough road game.

The game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.

Friars Fight Off Comeback to Edge Bulldogs

Providence (9-2) escaped the Dunk with a 76-74 win over a stingy Yale team on Tuesday night.

After the Friars raced out to a 32-17 lead, the Bulldogs fought back, finishing the first half on an 18-3 run to tie the game 35-35.

Although the game was closer than expected, with the Bulldogs staying within striking distance until the final buzzer, the Friars were able to find a way to win.

The Friars were paced by Bryce Cotton, who poured in a team high 21 points. Tyler Harris also added 19 points for Providence.

Yale’s Justin Sears recorded a career high and game high 31 points.

With the win, the Friars move to 6-0 at home this season and push their nonconference home winning streak to 32 in regular season games.

The Friars will return to action on Saturday, as Providence will host Maine at 2:00 p.m. at the Dunk. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net and Cox Sports.

Dunn out for season; Will apply for medical redshirt

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The bottom line is that there’s a lot of season left, but the vibe around friartown is gloom today, as it was officially announced that point guard Kris Dunn will undergo season ending shoulder surgery.

The sophomore, who missed the first half of last season recovering from shoulder surgery, reinjured it in Providence’s exhibition tilt with Rhode Island College in November.

As frustrating as it must be for Dunn, the Friar fan base is right there with him.

Head coach Ed Cooley has done all that he could on the recruiting trail to put the best possible team on the court, bringing to Providence an unprecedented amount of top 100 recruits.

The only problem is that it hasn’t worked out as planned. Dunn has been injury-prone over the last two seasons, Ricky Ledo didn’t surprise anyone by entering the NBA Draft this past summer and Brandon Austin’s Friar career hasn’t gotten off on the right foot either.

Dunn will apply for a medical redshirt to get his season of eligibility back. If approved, Dunn will enter next season with three full seasons of eligibility left.

This could be a blessing in disguise, however. Although there was great expectations for this season, the Friars will come back next season with Dunn, LaDontae Henton, Carson Desrosiers, Tyler Harris, Josh Fortune, and Brandon Austin to go along with prized recruits Paschal Chukwu, Jalen Lindsey, and Ben Bentil.

Providence’s future is very bright, but Friar fans must wait patiently for everything to fall into place.

I wouldn’t chalk up this season just yet, but with no depth in the back court, Providence’s quest to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 just got that much tougher.

Friars Squeak One Out At URI

The Friars edged the Rams of URI, 50-49, Thursday night at a hostile Ryan Center.

There was nothing pretty about Providence’s win, but a depleted Friar team will take a win in an environment like that any day of the week.

The Friars shot just 29 percent in the second half, but they were still able to hang on by a slim margin.

Despite not allowing a single URI three-pointer in the first half, Providence took just a 29-25 lead into the break.

After the two teams battled back-and-forth for much of the second half, tempers started to boil over.

Rams head coach Dan Hurley thought that Josh Fortune shoved freshman E.C. Matthews after a play, leading to Hurley barking at the referees and Fortune, causing the two coaches to exchange pleasantries.

In the final seconds, justice was served as Matthews’ shot found nothing but air in an attempt to win the game.

Bryce Cotton led all scorers in the game with 15 points.

The Rams were led by Gilvydas Biruta, who scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Friars (8-2) won’t play again until Tuesday, December 17 at the Dunk against Yale at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Friars Face Pivotal Game at Ryan Center Thursday

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Let’s face it, every year the Providence and Rhode Island game is a bookmarked night around the state. But this year, it means a little bit extra for the Friars.

Providence, who seemed to have more depth than they’ve seen in years, suddenly has a paper thin lineup. Not only that, but it’s the players that they’ve lost to make their active roster paper thin that’s hurt the Friars the most.

Tomorrow night’s game at the Ryan Center against the Rams isn’t just another game in an outstanding rivalry, but it could make or break the Friars’ season.

Providence has yet to have a “bad” loss yet on the young season, but one or two could be a slippery slope without a true point guard.

Vice versa, if the Friars come out of the Ryan Center with a win Thursday night, they’ll follow that up with home games against Yale and Maine, games they should win, before traveling to UMass to take on a ranked Minutemen team on the 28th.

Providence will look to tread water for an undisclosed amount of time, all while Kris Dunn’s future remains unknown. Following a 79-65 loss to Kentucky, head coach Ed Cooley said “Dunn is really hurt. I don’t expect him back anytime soon, at all.”

His absence really showed against the Wildcats, as Bryce Cotton was the primary ball handler in a game in which he also put up 21 shots from the floor. Although Cotton scored 23 points, the Friars’ offense was stagnant and nearly non-existent, with Cotton bailing his team out on a number of possessions in the first half.

Ultimately, the Friars still have an edge on the Rams. But it’s certainly a scary game, particularly with little depth in the back court. The Friars can’t afford for Cotton or Fortune to get into foul trouble, or they’ll encounter serious issues moving the ball up the court.

If Providence can find a way to fight through the rest of their non-conference schedule, then hopefully they can get some reinforcements back for conference play. But the Friars need to pull out a tough game on the road at the Ryan Center Thursday night with a depleted lineup.

This game means more to Providence and its fans than they ever would’ve thought before the season started.