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Friars blasted by Wildcats on the road, 91-61

Monday, January 06, 2014


After back-to-back overtime losses, Providence hoped to see their luck change on the road at 11th ranked Villanova – a team they beat twice last season.

But this isn’t last season. And the Friars are finding last season’s successful stretch run hard to replicate right now, as the Wildcats ran away from PC 91-61 Sunday night at The Pavilion in Villanova, PA.

Literally, Villanova took off from the start and never looked back…as junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston took the opening tip and charged down the floor for a dunk with hardly a finger put on him. VU scored the first nine points of the game before the Friars could finally break through on a Bryce Cotton three-pointer, then the Cats followed up with eight more unanswered points for a 17-3 cushion just four-and-a-half minutes into the game.

Providence never recovered.

A continuous barrage of long range shots simply seemed to find their way through the nets every time they were fired. It wasn’t quite that bad, or good – depending on your point of view. But 14-of-26 from outside the three-point arc is just about as good as it gets. Six different Wildcat players hit three’s, led by Rice transfer Dylan Ennis’s 4-of-5 night (17 points) from deep.

“The way Villanova shot the basketball, they could have beaten the Harlem Globetrotters tonight,” head coach Ed Cooley said. “Our defense couldn’t catch up, but give them credit. They played very well. We didn’t.”

And whenever the Friars managed to get out and reach those torrid shooters, Villanova (13-1, 2-0 Big East) simply tore the Friars up inside for easy baskets. Darrun Hilliard hit two three’s on his way to 12 first half points (15 for the game) as the Wildcats led by 24 (50-26) at halftime. Cotton led PC with 16 points in the half, but the rest of the Friars could manage only a paltry 2-for-15 performance shooting the ball…with both of those baskets coming from Kadeem Batts.

On the other bench, 10 different players scored in the game, seven players played at least 20 minutes, and no one played for more than 26 minutes. They didn’t have to. The second half turned into a game with almost a rec-league atmosphere, with the outcome not really in doubt. After PC cut the deficit to 51-30 on a Batts basket less than two minutes in (he finished with 10 points), Villanova responded with a 15-2 run to put the Friars away for good. Pinkston led a balanced score sheet with 19 points and seven rebounds; Ennis’s 17, Hilliard’s 15 and 10 more from freshman Josh Hart rounded out the deep bench effort.

Providence (10-5, 0-2 Big East) was led by Cotton’s game high 25 points, six rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes, but he couldn’t do it all by himself – though he tried. LaDontae Henton added 17 points (15 in the second half) with Batts’ 10, but only three other players managed to score at all. Tyler Harris had one of his worst performances with five points on 1-of-9 shooting, and starting guard Josh Fortune played only seven scoreless minutes, taking one shot and committing three turnovers.

After two emotional, overtime defeats in a row, perhaps it was a simple matter of running out of gas. Or if it weren’t for bad luck, maybe the Friars would have had no luck at all? Whatever the case, they’ll try to turn it all around Wednesday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center against Georgetown.

Friar Notes

The 91 points scored by Villanova was the largest total put up on Providence since St. John’s scored 91 December 27, 2011 at Carnesecca Arena in a 91-67 defeat…the last time PC lost a game by a 30-point margin came in the 2012 Big East tournament, in a 79-47 defeat to Seton Hall…the Wildcats’ shooting performance was certainly one to remember on their end. 34 made field goals was a season high against PC, and the 14-for-26 three-point barrage was almost double the previous best against the Friars (eight by Seton Hall). The 17 turnovers committed by the Friars was also a season high…Providence has a 7-15 all time record at Villanova’s on–campus Pavilion, with the seven wins the most of any league opponent against the Wildcats…the Friars are now 0-3 this season against Top 25 ranked teams…suspended freshman forward Rodney Bullock joined his teammates on the sideline for the first time this season since the exhibition game against RIC...PC’s 0-2 start in conference play is their 4th straight 0-2 start to league play. The Friars, Butler, St. John’s and DePaul are all 0-2, with Marquette and Seton Hall 1-1, and Villanova, Georgetown, Creighton and Xavier starting 2-0 in the Big East…the Hoyas are next up at the Dunk Wednesday night in a 7:00 pm start (6:45 pm pre-game on 103.7 FM and friars.com)…


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