Friars make Pirates walk the plank
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Having beaten Seton Hall earlier this season, the Friars knew Tuesday night they would find a tougher fight this time around.
And they did. Seton Hall can shoot the three as well as any team in the Big East, and with emerging big man Gene Teague and talented wing Fuquan Edwin ready to test the PC defense, there was every reason to expect the Pirates would hang around for a potential surprise. But when you have arguably the top backcourt in the league with Bryce Cotton and Vincent Council...sometimes, it's up to the other team to slow you down.
And they didn't. The end result was a 76-66 Providence win at the Dunkin Donuts Center, PC's third straight overall and their 7th win in the last eight games.
Neither team played with much defensive intensity early. In a back-and-forth first half of play. Seton Hall led early, and kept the game close until PC went on an 18-5 run to build an 11-point lead (28-17). The Pirates matched the run with a 10-1 spurt of their own to pull within a point, but the Friars used a 7-0 offensive burst to end the half up 43-36. Kadeem Batts dominated in the paint with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Two defensive keys emerged for the Friars at halftime - one, to continue to pressure Fuquan Edwin and limit his shots...and two, double on Teague in the post to force someone else to score. With Kris Dunn supplying strong pressure on Edwin, Providence was able to ensure Teague wouldn't dominate in the paint. Behind Batts' inside play (27 points, 12 rebounds) and outside shooting from Cotton (15 points) and Council (13 points), PC held an 11 point lead with 12:55 to play at 55-44.
Seton Hall managed a 10-4 run, finding Edwin and Aaron Cosby on the outside, to pull within five with 8:33 left. The Friars managed to extend the lead back up to 14 (71-57) with 4:07 left, with Batts and LaDontae Henton (15 points, 10 rebounds) working the inside. Edwin connected on a four point play with 2:50 remaining to pull SHU within 71-64, but a Cotton corner three put the game away shortly thereafter.
Providence (17-12, 9-8 Big East) limited Seton Hall (14-16, 3-14 Big East) to 31% shooting from the floor in the second half, after the Pirates connected on 55% in the first half. It was a difference-maker, in a game the Friars knew would be a challenge.
And as they did on the road in January, PC had enough at both ends of the floor to finish the fight on the plus side of the scoreboard.
Batts' 27 points matched his career high in a Big East game, and the 12 rebounds gave him his 4th double-double of the season...Henton's double-double is the 11th of the season for the sophomore, and the 20th of his career. He's ranked #2 in the Big East in double-double games, behind Notre Dame's Jack Cooley...Seton Hall leads the league in three-pointers made per game (8.0) and had an 8-18 performance against the Friar defense...the defense forced 12 SHU turnovers, but also turned those mistakes into 15 points. PC committed just eight turnovers, three in the first half...as in the first game on January 13 (a 67-55 PC win in Newark, NJ), SHU outshot the Friars from the floor 42-to-41 percent, but the Pirates were outrebounded 40-34...Edwin led Seton Hall with 15 points and six rebounds, while Teague and Cosby each scored 13 for the Pirates...Cotton was held five points below his average, but standing out on the stat sheet were Council and Dunn both with seven assists, and Dunn also with seven rebounds...Council was honored before the game with his family in a senior ceremony, presented with a framed "32" jersey. His final regular season game finished with 13 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals...the Friars will play the final game of the regular season at Connecticut Saturday at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT. The game is scheduled to start at noon (pre-game 11:45 am on 103.7 FM). Depending on other outcomes, PC could finish either 7th (7:00 pm first game) or 8th (Noon first game) in next Wednesday's quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York...