Friars blow by Marist, 93-48
Saturday, November 16, 2013
This was a game. For about three-and-a-half minutes.
After struggling to get by Brown Wednesday night, Providence fell behind Marist 6-4 with 16:35 to play in the first half Saturday at the Dunkin Donuts Center, allowing the Red Foxes to score on three layups. Then came a spark, a light. Or, maybe a coach yelling something. Whatever it was, the spark turned into a raging fire, and the light became an oncoming freight train that ran over Marist in a 93-48 final.
A decisive 37-2 run over an 11:53 stretch of the first half proved to be the difference.
“We were really efficient,” Friar coach Ed Cooley said afterward. “I thought our guys were focused, prepared and I’m excited about developing that (starting) unit until we get healthy.
"We were locked in.”
They certainly were. Leading the effort was senior guard Bryce Cotton, who struggled in the four-point win over Brown Wednesday night (2-12 FG, six points - scoreless in the 2nd half) but who bounced back in a big way Saturday. Cotton led all scorers with 28 points, and while he hit just 1-of-5 from three-point range...he also connected on 11-of-11 from the free throw line and dished out a career-best 11 assists. The double-double effort is the second of his career.
“He wasn’t feeling well (before the Brown game) and we didn’t know,” Cooley said. “His stomach, his knee, his groin...Cotton, is he really 21 years old? He has more aches and pains than I do and I’m 100.
"He felt better and I think our whole team was in a better mindset today,” Cooley added.
Indeed, Providence had a 22-6 early lead on Brown Wednesday night, but struggled to close out and held on for a four-point win. The Friars (now 3-0) did not show any signs of a let up after the 37-2 first half run Saturday, taking a 47-17 lead at halftime. From that point, the lead grew to as much as 51 before settling in for the final 45-point margin of victory...PC's biggest win since a 119-58 homecourt beatdown of Binghamton in 2001. Kadeem Batts continued his smooth shooting (9-of-11 from the floor) by hitting his first two three's of the year on the way to a 22-point, 10 rebound day...his second straight double-double and 10th of his career. LaDontae Henton contributed 21 points with eight rebounds (hitting 3-of-4 from three) and Tyler Harris scored 13 points as the PC players in double figures.
Redshirt freshman guard Khallid Hart led Marist (0-4) with 21 points, and no other player reached double-digits.
PC shot 50% from the floor for the game, connected on 21-of-25 from the free throw line, and held the Red Foxes to just six of 25 shots from the field in the first half, and only three made baskets over the final 16 minutes during the game-deciding run. “We came off a really bad second half (against Brown) and were fortunate to win," Cooley added. "We needed to continue to improve.
"I thought our guys did that."
Post Game Notes
With the 21-for-25 performance from the foul line Saturday, PC is now shooting a cool 85% as a team from the line through three games...the Friars held Marist to 32% shooting (24% in the first half), outrebounded the Red Foxes 48-26, and scored 22 points off of 17 turnovers...Josh Fortune, held to just five points on 2-7 shooting, did pick up a career high five steals. The team finished with a season best 14 steals...the game was just the 2nd ever between the two schools, with the first meeting coming in 1988 as PC won in Providence 70-59. Former NBA overall #2 draft pick Rik Smits was on that Marist team, and current head coach Jeff Bower was an assistant coach...Marist returns four starters from a 10-win team last season, and was picked for 5th in the MAAC pre-season poll. Fairfield was selected 6th in that poll, and the Stags will play the Friars in the Dunk November 29th...both teams will play at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, USVI next week, but because many of the early-season tournaments allow teams to play a 4th game (either immediately before or after the event itself), this match was arranged with the two on opposite ends of the bracket, unlikely to face each other in the Caribbean. PC opens with Vanderbilt next Friday, while the Red Foxes play Maryland...before the Friars hit the tropics, they'll play Vermont Monday night at the Dunk in a 7:00 pm tip (6:45 pre-game on 103.7 FM)...