Month: January 2014

Friars keep rolling, top Musketeers

Providence (15-5, 5-2) powered its way past the Xavier Musketeers (15-5, 5-2) Saturday afternoon, 81-72, to move into a tie for third place in the Big East.

Since falling to 0-2 with a lopsided loss at Villanova on January 5, the Friars have gone on a tear, winning five straight Big East games.

Despite shooting just 29.4% in the first half, the Friars took a slim 35-31 lead into the half. LaDontae Henton led Providence with 11 points and eight rebounds in the opening half.

The Friars shot much better in the second half, but so did Xavier.

With a Henton three near the midway point of the second half, Providence took a 53-41 lead, but Xavier kept crawling back.

Semaj Christon was unstoppable down the stretch for the Musketeers, single-handedly keeping Xavier in the game.

But Bryce Cotton and the Friars were too much down the stretch, nailing a number of clutch free throws to secure the win.

Cotton finished with a game high 25 points and seven assists. He has played every minute of the Friars’ five-game win streak.

Henton had the games only double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Carson Derosiers had a solid game covering Matt Stainbrook, chipping in with seven rebounds and six blocks.

Justin Martin led Xavier with 19 points, while Christon finished with 18.

The Friars will now look to travel to Marquette Thursday to beat the Golden Eagles on the road, something the Friars have never done. The game will tip at 7:00 p.m. and will air on Fox Sports 1.


Friars stay hot, edge Bulldogs


The Friars (14-5, 4-2) topped the Bulldogs of Butler last night, 65-56, stretching their current Big East win streak to four games.

In a relatively empty Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the friars got off to a slow start, falling behind Butler early. However, LaDontae Henton scored the first seven first half points for the Friars and had a team-high 11 points in the opening half, leading Providence to a 29-26 lead at the half.

After scoring only two first half points, Bryce Cotton once again put the team on his back, scoring 16 second half points to finish with a game-high 18 points.

The Bulldogs kept the game relatively close until the 4:07 mark, when Kadeem Batts hit a clutch shot to give the Friars a 61-49 lead, their largest lead of the game.

Batts struggled offensively starting the game just 2-of-10 from the field, but hit his final three shots to finish with 14 points. The story, however, was his dominance on the glass, pulling down a game-high 17 rebounds.

Henton and Tyler Harris chipped in with 12 points apiece.

Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with a team-high 17 points, despite scoring only five in the second half.

The Friars have a tough test coming up, as they’ll host Xavier (15-4, 5-1) at the Dunk this Saturday at noon.

Friars push conference win streak to three with win over #20 Creighton

You have to love this team. After dropping their first two Big East contests, the Friars (13-5, 3-2) are suddenly back from the dead, winning their third straight conference game last night in a convincing 81-68 win over Big East leading scorer Doug McDermott and the #20 Creighton Bluejays.

The Friars controlled the game from the start, jumping out to an early lead and taking a 37-30 lead into the half. Kadeem Batts kept up his strong play as of late and led Providence in the first half with a dominant 10 point and seven rebound first half performance.

McDermott was minimized in the opening half, as the Friars forced him into foul trouble and held him to just eight points.

The Friars put together a full team effort in the second half. Near the 14-minute mark, the Friars had started the half on an 18-5 run, extending their lead to 55-35.

Creighton cut their deficit to nine within two minutes left, but clutch free throws from Tyler Harris were too much for the Bluejays to overcome.

•Cotton continues impressive play

Bryce Cotton was once again the Friars best player and the best player on the floor last night, this time compiling a game-high 23 points and six assists. McDermott is great, but I’d take Cotton on my team over McDermott nine days out of seven.

LaDontae Henton chipped in with 19 points and six boards, while Batts fought through some foul trouble to finish with 13 points and nine rebounds.

McDermott was Creighton’s high scorer with 21 points and seven rebounds.

The Friars will have a favorable matchup Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. as they’ll host a reeling Butler (11-7, 1-5) team, who haven’t been warmly welcomed into the Big East. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Friars edge St. John’s in 2OT, move to 2-2 in Big East


Providence (12-5, 2-2) came out on top in an 84-83 double overtime win over Big East rival St. John’s Thursday night, recording their second straight conference win to move to .500 in the Big East.

The Friars raced out to a 14-2 lead thanks in large part to a lack of confidence from St. John’s and six points from senior Bryce Cotton. Kadeem Batts led the Friars with nine points and four rebounds in the first half, en route to a 36-29 Friar lead at the break.

St. John’s were their own worst enemy in the first half, not making a single three-pointer and totaling just one assist.

However, St John’s came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, tying the game 50-50 near the 10-minute mark.

Big shots by LaDontae Henton and clutch free throws by Cotton allowed the Friars to gain the lead right back.

The Friars coughed up another lead late, however, but Tyler Harris was able to drain two free throws to tie the game in the last minute and send the game to overtime.

St. John’s looked like they were going to take control in the first overtime period, scoring the first four points, but Providence battled back and forced a D’Angelo Harrison miss in the final seconds to force a second overtime period.

With a not so fortunate track record in overtime this season, the Friars were determined not to let another one slip through their fingers. After battling back-and-forth for over four minutes, Cotton found himself with the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game.

He did just that, driving to the basket and banking it in over the trees to give the Friars an 84-83 lead and the win.

Cotton once again was the best player on the floor, doing a little bit of everything with 21 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

Henton and Batts chipped in with 17 points and nine rebounds apiece.

The Friars will look to keep their momentum going this Saturday, when they welcome #20 Creighton to the Dunk for an 8:00 p.m. tip. The game will once again be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Friars edge Hoyas, notch first Big East win


Providence (11-5, 1-2) used a strong second half to roll to a 70-52 win over Big East rival Georgetown Wednesday night. It was Providence’s first win over the Hoyas since 2005.

After a rough start to their Big East schedule, the Friars were able to defend their home court against a strong Hoya team for their first conference win of the season.

It wasn’t a pretty start for the Friars, as they shot just 33% from the floor in the first half. However, Providence’s defensive intensity gave Georgetown fits, the main reason why the Friars took a 28-23 lead into the half. Kadeem Batts fed off of his strong game against Villanova to lead Providence with 11 first half points.

Georgetown came out battling in the second half and cut their deficit to three. But Josh Fortune drained two straight three-pointers to push the Friar lead to nine around the midway point of the second half, giving the Friars a cushion that they maintained throughout the remainder of the half.

Batts continued his impressive play into the second half and finished with a game high 21 points.

Bryce Cotton, who came into the game ranked first in the Big East in assists with 5.6 per game, dished out seven against the Hoyas and also added 20 points.

Fortune undoubtedly had his best game of the season, scoring 11 second half points and 13 for the game. He also added nine rebounds and five assists.

This has to be a good feeling for the Friars, who are looking to salvage their season through a plethora of disasters.

Providence will look to feed off of this win next Thursday, when they travel to St. John’s to continue conference play. The game will tip at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.


Cotton shines as Friars get blown out


Providence (10-5, 0-2) never led in a 91-61 loss at #11 Villanova Sunday night as the Friars couldn’t beat the Wildcats for a second straight season in their home gym.

Villanova couldn’t miss early on, eventually resulting in a 50-26 Friar deficit at halftime. Bad could’ve been worse too, as senior Bryce Cotton poured in a game-high 16 points in the first half.

The Friars shot just 31.8% from the floor on 7-of-22 shooting in the first half to go along with 12 turnovers.

Senior Kadeem Batts began to elevate his play in the second half for the Friars after struggling mightily in the last few games. Batts finished with 10 points and five rebounds. LaDontae Henton added 17 points for the Friars.

Cotton continued his solid play into the second half and finished with a game high 25 points. He also added six assists and six rebounds.

Villanova was led by JayVaughn Pinkston, who poured in 19 points and ripped down seven rebounds.

The foreseeable future doesn’t look any easier for the Friars, as they’ll host Georgetown on Wednesday night at the Dunk in search of their first Big East win of the season. The game will tip at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Friars drop heartbreaker to Pirates in Big East opener

Seton Hall spoiled New Year’s Eve in Friartown Tuesday afternoon, edging Providence (10-4, 0-1), 81-80 in double overtime.

In the double overtime period, the Friars seemed to have things under control, but that didn’t last long. With the Friars up 80-79 and just under 10 seconds remaining, Seton Hall forced a turnover on the inbounds pass, setting themselves up for a shot to win the game.

Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs drew a foul from Bryce Cotton on the ensuing possession, draining two clutch free throws to secure the win for the Pirates.

Providence coughed up an early first half lead, but Ted Bancroft came in off the bench and drained a much needed basket to cut the Friar deficit to 30-28 at halftime.

In the early stages of the second half, it was all Seton Hall, mounting a 57-46 lead.

However, Bancroft hit another big shot, nailing a three to cut the deficit to eight with just over 10 minutes left to play.

After battling back, LaDontae Henton was able to drive to the basket and lay it in with 33 seconds left to tie the game, 58-58, forcing overtime.

In the overtime periods, it was the Cotton show, hitting a number of tough shots and clutch free throws, including two to tie the game at 66-66 to send it to a second overtime.

In the second overtime, the Friars mounted their first lead since early in the first half, but couldn’t hang on.

Cotton, who had a game high 25 points, and Tyler Harris (22 points) put the team on their backs to try and get the win with other key guys struggling offensively.

Ultimately, you have to give credit where credit is due. Seton Hall could’ve easily folded on the road, but never went away even after surrendering a big lead.

Seton Hall’s Brian Oliver (18 points) led four Pirates in double-figures.

It’s undoubtedly frustrating, though, for Friartown. What could’ve easily been 12-2, turns into 10-4 quickly. Providence deserved better in each of those games. One thing is for sure, however, and that’s that this team is always going to battle no matter who they have on the court.

The Friars will return to action Sunday at #11/14 Villanova, a team that the Friars beat twice last season and have matched up well with in the past. The game will tip at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.