Friars Hold Off the Eagles
Friday, December 09, 2011
No one knows for sure how many games the Providence Friars will win on the basketball floor this season. But one thing is certain, however.
Winning ugly is better than not winning at all.
It wasn't a pretty sight, to be sure...except for the mark in the win column. In a slugfest with Boston College Thursday night, PC held off a youthful Eagles team with a 64-57 victory at the Dunkin Donuts Center to move the Friars to 8-2 on the season.
BC may have one of the youngest teams in all of Division I this season, featuring a roster with nine freshmen (and 11 newcomers overall) that could relegate them to the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, with a similar defensive effort that they mustered against the Friars, they also may surprise a team or two along the way.
After PC jumped out to an early 10-4 lead, the Eagles' man-to-man defense began to lock up the Friars from penetrating and getting clean looks at the basket. Coupled with key three pointers from Lonnie Jackson, Boston College held a 12-10 lead with 11:27 to play in the first half. The Friars were never able to stretch their advantage past a 6-point margin in the first half, even though they primarily played a man-to-man defense themselves in an effort to speed up the game tempo. BC was in lock step with the PC effort on offense with solid transition defense, and the Friars led at halftime by only 30-26.
In the second half, the lead stretched to seven points with 12:34 to play, when Boston College capped an 11-5 run on a driving shot from freshman point guard Jordan Daniels. Daniels missed a free throw that would have tied the game at 49 with 8:12 to play, and the miss seemed to give the Friars a little spark. Running off seven unanswered points, PC was buoyed by the inside play of redshirt freshman Brice Kofane. Kofane blocked seven shots on the night, including one that led to a breakout dunk by Gerard Coleman that helped build an eight point advantage with 5:00 minutes to play. Friar freshman LaDontae Henton added a career high 21 points to lead PC's scoring efforts overall. Boston College was led by freshman Ryan Anderson's 16 points off of the bench.
While BC did manage to close back within four points, they couldn't quite get past a frenzied Friar defensive effort of their own in the game's waning minutes. Overall PC held the Eagles to 17 made field goals for the game, after limiting Brown to just 16 field goals on Monday night.
Sometimes, defense isn't pretty to watch...but in this particular instance, it was good enough in the end, to get the win at the end.
Kofane's seven blocks were a part of 10 team blocks overall for the game, matching a season high effort...the Friars' play in the final minutes proved critical on both ends of the floor. While PC struggled shooting most of the night, they did end it by hitting six of their final nine shots, while limiting BC to just five made baskets in their last 18 attempts...normally, when PC's "Three C's" are clicking, the Friars are winning. Against the Eagles, it was really "two C's and an H," as Vincent Council, Gerard Coleman and LaDontae Henton combined for 50 points and 17 rebounds. Bryce Cotton led PC in the first half with eight points, but was held scoreless in the second half...Council added eight assists to his 17 points on the night, while Coleman scored 12 points. Kofane was scoreless, but also pulled down five rebounds to go with his seven blocks...Bilal Dixon had six points and a season-high 10 rebounds. Overall, the "three-headed" center (Kofane, Dixon and Ron Giplaye) combined for six points, 20 rebounds and nine blocked shots in 32 minutes of playing time...the Dunk announced crowd of 8051 was the largest attendance of the season so far...PC head coach Ed Cooley earned his 100th career victory with the win, the first 92 of which came as coach of the Fairfield Stags...the game was the 106th all-time meeting between PC and BC, with the Friars now holding a 58-48 advantage. The Eagles had won seven of the previous 10 games before Thursday night, including the last three in a row...the word "young" doesn't really even begin to describe Boston College. "Inexperienced" is a word that will work. But 10 players average more than 10 minutes per game, as coach Steve Donahue lost 89% of the scoring, and 80% of the rebounding from last year's team that won 21 games and finished 4th in the ACC...it will be a fast turnaround for the Friars, as they face the Bryant Bulldogs Saturday at 12 Noon in the Dunk (pre-game at 11:30 am on 103.7 FM and www.friars.com) before taking 10 days off for semester exams...