After a 20-year hiatus, the Friars captured the Big East Tournament Championship Saturday night, holding off Big East Player of the Year Doug McDermott and the Creighton Blue Jays 65-58.
Bryce Cotton scored 23 points and recorded five rebounds for the Friars, en route to being named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Friars completely controlled the pace of the game in the first half, holding the Blue Jays to a tournament-low 17 points in the opening half.
McDermott was determined to keep his team in the game down the stretch and he did just that, hitting a series of deep threes, the last one coming near the one-minute mark to cut the Creighton deficit to two.
However, LaDontae Henton came up huge on the next possession, splashing a contested two to put the Friar lead back to four. The Friars then forced a McDermott miss on the other end and drained their free throws to clinch the Championship.
Henton was named to the All-Tournament team, adding nine points and 13 rebounds after posting a monster 26 point, 14 rebound performance against Seton Hall in the semifinals.
McDermott was sensational but didn’t get any help from his teammates. The senior drained 27 of his team’s 58 points. The second highest scorer for the Blue Jays was Avery Dingman with 10 points. Credit Providence’s defense for that.
Tyler Harris and Josh Fortune were both in double-figures for the Friars, scoring 10 points apiece.
The Friars are Dancing
Ed Cooley after the game: “What bubble? There’s no bubble. We burst that bubble.”
Indeed we did. With the Big East Championship comes an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, meaning the Friars stay away from any play-in game that Joe Lunardi may’ve had them in prior to the win.
Friartown will be tuning in closely to the selection show tomorrow to see where the Friars end up.