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.

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