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Friars put the “D” back in defense, beat Pirates

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Usually when you don’t shoot well, you don’t win a game – especially on the road.

Providence did not shoot the ball well at all against Seton Hall on Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ…but what they DID do…was defend the same ball. And the result was the first Big East win of the season, beating the Pirates 67-55.

The Friars’ defensive effort caught Seton Hall by surprise. With the best three-point shooting team in the Big East, the Pirates were greeted with a tough, tight man-to-man effort rather than the 2-3 zone PC has used most of the year. Providence trapped the ball when it went into the post, and on the kick back outside, trapped on the perimeter when they could against a team without an experienced point guard.

The strategy worked – forcing 14 first-half turnovers for 16 points – as PC got out to a 22-5 lead in the opening 10 minutes. As Seton Hall managed to whittle the lead down to a manageable nine points with 4:43 left, the Friars turned up the defensive heat down the stretch, closing with a 10-3 run to take a 38-22 lead at the half.

SHU’s Fuquan Edwin, who shoots 50% from the three-point stripe on the season, was limited to just two attempts from outside of the arc in the half. Inside, 6-9 sophomore Brandon Mobley left the game late in the half with a right shoulder separation and didn’t return.

With foul trouble also starting to mount in the second half, the Pirates managed to hang in and keep their sights on the Friars. An 8-2 run out of the gate pulled SHU within 12, and when the Friars managed to counter it, the Pirates answered again with another 10-2 spurt to trail by only nine with 11:03 to play.

It was an eight-point game at the 9:24 mark when junior Bryce Cotton buried a three from the top of the key. Another three by Cotton with 6:57 left – while keeping Seton Hall (12-5, 1-3 Big East) scoreless during that short stretch – set the Friars on their way to the road win.

Cotton, tied for first in the Big East in scoring at 21.5 points per game, led all scorers with 23. LaDontae Henton, held to just 23 points his previous three games, contributed his 6th double-double effort of the year with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. In addition to the improved defensive play, Providence (9-7, 1-3 Big East) pounded the offensive glass with 22 of their 42 rebounds on put-back attempts, outscoring the Pirates 23-7 on those 2nd chances.

They didn’t shoot well. But sometimes, when you go and get it…and then defend it when the other team has it…you can still win it.

Friar Notes

The win snaps a five-game PC losing streak, and is also the first true road-win of the season…Kadeem Batts scored 11 points before fouling out with 2:30 to play, and Vincent Council added 11 points with eight assists in a season-best 35 minutes…PC was outshot 42% to 36% by SHU, but beat the Pirates on the board 42-35 and forced 17 turnovers. The Friars also committed just nine turnovers themselves, after turning the ball over 51 times in the previous three games combined…Edwin led the Pirates with 17 points, but was limited to just three three-point shots. He made two…Haralds Karlis scored a season high 11 off the bench in Mobley’s absence, and Aaron Cosby added 10 before fouling out…the game was the 91st meeting between the two schools all-time, in a series that will continue on with both teams moving into the “new Big East,” or whatever the new league will be called. PC leads the series 46-45, snapping a five-game SHU win streak…the Friars will stay on the road and play at nationally-ranked Georgetown Wednesday night at 7:00 pm in Washington, DC…


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