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Friars beat Catamounts, 70-49

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

 

A little Kris Dunn can go a long way for the Providence Friars this season, to be sure.

Dunn, the sophomore McDonald's all-American from New London, CT, injured his right shoulder in an exhibition victory over Rhode Island College earlier this month.  After missing the first three games of the year, he made his season debut for the Friars Monday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center against Vermont, and the timing could not have been better for his return.  PC beat the Catamounts 70-49 to move to 4-0 on the season.

"It was exciting today, just to get back on the court with my teammates," Dunn said, after finishing the night with only three points but a game-high eight assists and three steals in 21 minutes.  "The coaches made sure I was mentally prepared, calm and relaxed and just played the game.

"I felt great today, just getting up and down the floor," Dunn added.  "My adrenaline was pumping so hard, my conditioning was off so it was just good to be back out there." 

And it was great to see him...because his teammates needed him.  Holding a 16-point lead at halftime, Vermont (1-3) began the 2nd half with a 10-1 run to pull within seven points at 31-24 in the opening four minutes.  Two minutes later, with the lead perched precariously at seven, enter Dunn to the rescue.

The seven point lead quickly became a 20-point advantage, with Dunn leading a 13-0 run on both ends of the floor to help put the Catamounts back on the bus home.  With Dunn playing at the front of a long-winged 2-3 zone, Vermont suddenly had trouble finding any space at all in which to move, or get off a good shot.

The Friars forced four straight turnovers during the run and sophomore Josh Fortune hit two 3-pointers (with both assists coming from Dunn) to get Providence back on track, and on the way to a 21-point victory.

With the win, the Friars improved to 7-0 all-time against Vermont. It is the first time since 1982-83 that Providence has held its opponent to 50 points or less in consecutive games...having held Marist to 48 last Saturday.

Senior Clancy Rugg had a double-double for Vermont with 10 points and 14 rebounds, and senior Luke Apfeld added 14 points for the Catamounts...who started five seniors on the floor.  For the Friars, senior Bryce Cotton and junior LaDontae Henton led all scorers with 18 points. Senior Kadeem Batts recorded his third double-double of the year (in consecutive games) with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Providence also extends their regular season non-conference home win streak to 30 games overall, dating back to December 21st, 2009.  And Dunn was around and on the floor when it counted most.

"It was like one of those proud Dad moments where you see your baby going through some adversity, and you talk about adversity - this young man has faced it," Friar coach Ed Cooley said.  "He's a tough young man, and I applaud his teammates for cheering for him."

The fans at the Dunk also did their fair share of cheering for him, and rightfully so.  A little bit of Dunn might mean trouble for opponents, and a little more fun for the Friars.

Post Game Notes

Monday afternoon, the Providence men's soccer team received an at large bid to the NCAA tournament beginning this week.  The Friars, having lost the Big East championship in a 3-2 decision to Marquette Sunday, will travel to Philadelphia to take on Ivy League champ Penn on Thursday in the opening round...The PC defense held Vermont to just 14 first half points on just 16% shooting (4-25)...the fewest points scored in a half by UVM since 1996.  It's also the second lowest total allowed by a Friar defense in a half (12 vs. UNH in 1992)...the Friars shot 50% from the floor, hit 7-20 from three but managed a rather pedestrian 7-11 from the free throw line.  PC came into the game connecting at an 85% clip from the line as a team...the Friars outrebounded Vermont 36-30 and forced 16 turnovers, but committed 16 turnovers themselves.  UVM shot 33% from the floor, 30% from three and just 47% from the line...Providence travels to St. Thomas, USVI for the Paradise Jam on Friday, through next Monday, Nov. 25.  PC will tip off against Vanderbilt Friday at 6:30 pm ET, televised live on the CBS Sports Network (and live on 103.7 FM, pre-game at 6:15). Providence also could face La Salle, Loyola Marymount, Maryland, Marist, Morgan State or Northern Iowa in the tournament...the Friars are 79-59 all-time participating in in-season tournaments, after finishing 1-2 last year at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic...

 

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