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Friars beat Eagles in overtime, 82-78

Saturday, November 09, 2013


The schedule says Friday night's game was the first game of the year. It felt, however, more like the last game.

With a Dunkin Donuts Center crowd of 11,102 sitting on the edge of their seats throughout, the 108th meeting between Providence and Boston College felt more like a post-season game in March.  It even took an extra five minutes to decide the outcome.  In the end, clutch free throw shooting from the Friars - with a couple of big defensive stops at the end - proved to be enough to beat back the Eagles' challenge, 82-78.

Providence led by five points on a couple of occasions in the first half, the last time at 27-22 with 3:47 to play.  BC then finished the half on a 9-0 run to take a 31-27 lead at the break.  After the Eagles scored the first points of the second half to go up by six, PC managed a 21-9 run over the next nine minutes to grab a 48-42 lead, and perhaps a little momentum.

It was 64-59 Providence after Carson Desrosiers hit two free throws with 2:53 to play. The Eagles then scored the next six straight, grabbing a 65-64 edge on Olivier Hanlan's two free throws with 1:34 to go. Joe Rahon, who gave the Friars' defense fits all night, had the first two baskets on drives into the lane during the run.

Providence's Kadeem Batts' short jumper in the lane with 1:19 left moved the Friars ahead 66-65. Bryce Cotton, who led all scorers with 28 points and played all 45 minutes, then scored off a drive, banking in a short runner over Rahon just 30 seconds later.

As they did all night, however, the Eagles came back when it appeared they were ready to be put down.  BC tied it at 70 when Hanlan was fouled, and was credited with a basket on a Brice Kofane goaltending call with 18.8 seconds left.  Hanlon calmly sank the ensuing free throw after a video review...to tie the score.  Cotton air-balled a three-point try and the Eagles last shot with 1.2 seconds left never got close, sending the teams into an extra five minute period.

Boston College opened with a 5-2 run in the OT to grab the lead, but Cotton scored the next four points -- two coming on a jumper in the lane and two free throws. Hanlan, the rookie of the year last season in the ACC, then nailed a three-pointer, pushing BC back in front before LaDontae Henton's two free throws tied it at 78-all with 1:28 to play. Lee Goldsbrough contributed a huge hustle play by diving on the floor for a loose ball, and after being fouled hit two free throws 15 seconds later, moving Providence in front.  Cotton hit one free throw with 26 seconds left and Henton hit the second of two with 15.9 seconds to play...to finally put the Eagles away.

Henton scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Providence (his 21st career double-double) and Josh Fortune added 15, as he got the start for an injured Kris Dunn. Providence outrebounded Boston College 36-20 and outscored the Eagles 30-20 from the foul line - despite shooting just 43 percent.  BC shot 51% from the floor, 40% from three and hit 20-24 from the line...and lost.  Hanlan led Boston College with 23 points, Ryan Anderson had 21 and Rahon scored 13.

Both teams struggled for offense in a tightly called game that reflected the NCAA's commitment to enforcing new rules, intended to reduce hand checking on defense. The two teams combined for 55 total fouls, while combining for only 50 made field goals in the game.

Post Game Notes

The Friars honored the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox at halftime, with infielder and former Providence baseball player John McDonald carrying the trophy onto the court during a brief ceremony...PC now owns a 59-49 advantage over its rival from the Atlantic Coast Conference, after dropping a three-point decision last year in Chestnut Hill, MA...the overtime win was the first for PC since January 22, 2009 in a 98-93 win at Seton Hall.  They had lost six straight in extra time...the game was just the 4th time in 87 years of basketball for a season-opener to go into OT, the last time coming 20 years ago in 1993 when the Friars lost a 113-102 road decision to Oklahoma State.  PC is 3-1 all time in season-opening overtime games...sophomore guard Kris Dunn was a late scratch for the Friars, with his injured right shoulder (suffered against RIC) still causing quite a bit of discomfort just before game time.  PC coach Ed Cooley said Dunn remains "day to day."  The two suspended freshmen players, Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock, were not dressed and did not sit on the bench for the contest...PC will next face Brown on Wednesday night in a 7:00 pm tip-off at the Dunk (6:45 pre-game on 103.7 FM)...


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