Friars Seek 1st NCAA Tourney Win in 17 Years vs. Dayton

Friday, March 20, 2015


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Ed Cooley

The Providence College Friars make their return to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year on Friday, March 20 when they battle Dayton in their first round game.  The game is being played in Columbus Ohio and can be found on TruTV at 9:57 p.m. 

"We're really excited to be here. Our players, our administrators, this is a dream come true for us. It's a great opportunity and we're humbled and we're excited to compete," Friars head coach Ed Cooley said in his press conference on Thursday afternoon. 

The Friars have the last game of the first round. 

Last time out

The Friars fell 63-61 to Villanova in the Big east semifinals. Villanova went on to win the Big East Championship and sits as a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. 

Kris Dunn led the Friars with 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Ben Bentil followed up with 12 points and ten rebounds for his second straight double-double. 

Friars in the NCAA Tournament

The Providence College Friars are in the NCAA tournament in back to back years for the first time since the 1989-1990 seasons. Providence went one and done in both of those years. 

The Friars will also be looking to snap a three game NCAA tournament losing streak and get their first tournament win in 17 years (1997). 

"Enjoy this moment. This is a great moment. Don't take it for granted. Let's have fun. Let's do the best we can," Cooley said he told his team in the locker room. 

The Dayton Flyers 

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The Dayton Flyers are coming off a 56-55 win over Boise State in the play in game on their home court and return to the NCAA Tournament as an 11 seed for the second straight year out of the A-10 Conference. Last season, Dayton got to the Elite 8 before falling to Florida. 

"I think Coach Miller has done a great job here. They have some team toughness. I think less has been more, when you look at -- they know exactly the way they want to play. They're going to spread you out a little bit and drive it," said Ed Cooley on the Flyers. 

The Flyers are led by Jordan Sibert who averaged 16.6 points per game and is coming off hitting a game winning three-pointer against Boise St. 

Sibert's teammate Dyshawn Pierre is the second leading scorer on the Flyers, averaging a near double-double with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Providence vs Dayton

Two major keys for Providence in this game against Dayton in Columbus.

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LaDontae Henton

First, they need LaDontae Henton to score. Henton has found himself in single digits in two of the last three games for Providence and the Friars have lost both of those games. 

In those games, Henton was almost a non factor as he could not get himself open against better defenders. Providence needs to get him involved early, set screens for him, get him touches and shots early on to get him into the game. 

Other than Kris Dunn, the rest of the Friars scoring has been inconsistent just about the entire season and certainly over the last few games. PC can't afford to have LaDontae Henton not score. 

The second thing the Friars need to do is get off to a good start. Given that Dayton's campus is only 75 miles from Nationwide Arena, this is going to be very much a road game for Providence and a good start will keep the "home" crowd quiet. 

"The Xs and Os, you gotta call a couple of good plays but it's going to be about who brings it, who has great effort. Some 50/50 balls, can we get to those. It's not so much Xs and Os as it is determination and grit," Cooley said

One Game 

The first day of the NCAA tournament saw several major upsets with both Iowa State and Baylor going down and Notre Dame and North Carolina nearly going down. Those upsets along with others throughout history serve as a reminder to Ed Cooley and everyone else that all it takes is one game.

"You've got one game. You've got to throw out seeds. You've got to throw out uniforms, mascots. You have one game to perform. If you don't perform on that one game, you're going home. I hope we're at the party and I hope the Friars are going to dance for a long time. But we've got to play one game at a time."

The Friars take on Dayton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 20 at 9:57 p.m. 

The game can be seen on TruTV.


Related Slideshow: Providence College Friars 2014-2015 Projected Starting Lineup

The Providence College Friars went on a magical run last year that saw them win the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This year they look to defend their title and get back to the big dance. Here is the 2014-2015 projected starting lineup for the Friars.

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Guard- Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn will start at point guard for the Friars this season. Dunn hasn't played  much over his first two years with the Friars because of injury but when he is in the game, he makes things happen. Last season against Vanderbilt, Dunn led the Friars in an epic comeback from an 18 point second half deficit. The 6'3" Dunn posted ten points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals in that game and then recorded six assists in the next game before having season ending shoulder surgery.

The Friars will be in good shape if Dunn can stay healthy this season. 

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Guard - Junior Lomomba

Junior Lomomba is a 6'5"  sophomore guard who has found his way into the Friars starting lineup this season.

This season, Lomomba has averaged 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds per game but a major reason why he is in the lineup is because he does not turn the ball over, only having three turnovers in the last four games for Providence.  

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Forward- LaDontae Henton

Last season, the 6'6" LaDontae Henton averaged 14 points per game which was second best to Bryce Cotton and just under eight rebounds per game which was the best on the team and second best in the Big East. Henton is a scrappy player who is not afraid to mix it up a bit and brings toughness to this Friars line up.

Henton seems poised for a big year. 

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Forward- Ben Bentil

6'8" freshman forward Ben Bentil will be one of the first players off the bench for Ed Cooley this year. Bentil can play three positions for the Friars, center, forward and small forward plus he is a good shooter and loves to rebound the ball.

Bentil is a player that is going to give coach Cooley several different options with his lineups and allow him to play the matchup game to perfection.

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Center-Carson Desrosiers

Carson Desrosiers is a seven foot senior forward who last season finished fourth on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.8 rebounds per game. He also had 82 blocks on the season, an average of just over two blocks per game. His 82 blocked shots led the team. 

Desroisers is a player that is mostly in the line up for his work on the defensive end and so like last season, he will be in and out of the line up depending on the situation. 

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6th man- Tyler Harris

Tyler Harris comes into this year as a 6'9" junior, however this is only his second season with the Friars after transferring from NC State. Last season, Harris averaged 11.6 points and five rebounds per game for the Friars and got better as the year went on. 

"Harris and Henton will be more effective this year, then they were last year" said PC Alum and Radio Analyst Joe Hassett


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