Friars stop Seton Hall, 74-69
Saturday, March 01, 2014
A double-overtime loss at home to a nationally-ranked Villanova team could have crushed the life right out of Providence’s post-season hopes.
If they had let it. But with two straight wins – on the road – in the Big East, the post-season picture continues to retain some focus for the Friars after beating the Seton Hall Pirates 74-69 Friday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
The game began as if no one cared much about winning. Providence didn’t score its first field goal until Bryce Cotton hit a layup with six-and-a-half minutes already gone, and yet his basket tied the score at 4-4. Seton Hall was never able to establish much of a rhythm against PC, but did try to establish big-man Gene Teague in the post. A three-pointer from Brian Oliver, who torched the Friars for 18 points in the double-OT win over Providence on New Years’ Eve, gave the Pirates their largest lead at 15-11. Kadeem Batts, LaDontae Henton and Cotton kept the Friars within striking distance, and a Cotton dunk with :30 seconds left before halftime sent PC into the locker room with a 28-26 lead.
It was a lead they wouldn’t give up. With a 32-31 edge and 18:07 to play, the Friars broke free on a 13-6 run over the next 4:51, as Tyler Harris made his presence felt down low. Harris, scoreless in the first half, finished with 11 second half points…five of those points and an assist during the run. Still the Pirates wouldn’t let PC pull away, crawling back within two at 45-43 after an Oliver trey. Cotton then scored six points and Harris added two more inside scores for an eleven-point advantage with 6:38 left. Try as they might, with Teague’s inside presence (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Sterling Gibbs’ outside threat (20 points), the Hall made a run toward the end.
But they couldn’t get over the hump. Providence (19-10, 9-7 Big East) shot 52% from the floor in the second half mostly facing a Pirate match-up zone, and hit 17-of-23 from the free throw line to clinch the win, their 4th on the road in Big East play and the 7th away from the Dunkin Donuts Center this season. What once seemed unlikely, if not almost impossible, for a team short on bench strength…now appears very much in focus with two games left in the regular season. There is work, however, still left to do.
But post-season hopes are high again in Friartown.
Cotton led all scorers with 24 points, 17 coming in the second half. With his 14th and 15th points coming from the foul line in that second half, he passed Joe Hassett for 6th all-time in scoring at Providence. His next score, which should come Tuesday night on Senior Night against Marquette, moves him past Marvin Barnes for 5th on the school scoring list…Batts finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, his 8th double-double of the season and 16th in his career…Henton (13 points, 8 boards) and Harris (11 points, 6 rebounds) finished out the double-digit scoring…the Friars only connected on 3-of-14 from the three-point stripe (2nd fewest of the season) after canning 13-of-20 against Butler…Gibbs led Seton Hall with 20 points, Teague had 17 and freshman guard Jaren Sina finished with 11 points. Patrik Auda chipped in 10. Gibbs and Teague were pretty much the show, however, combining for 13-of-21 shooting. The rest of the team finished 11-for-39…the Pirates were without the services of leading scorer and pre-season all-Big East guard Fuquan Edwin, who injured his right thumb in last Tuesday's loss at DePaul. He originally injured the hand in SHU's one-point loss at Creighton a week ago...Seton Hall didn't have the services of Gene Teague in the first game against the Friars, but managed to win in 2 OT's...PC outshot SHU 48% to 40% from the floor, and outrebounded the Pirates 40-35…both teams committed just seven turnovers…the Friars split the season series with SHU (14-15, 5-11 Big East), after dropping the conference opener on New Years’ Eve 81-80 in two OT’s…with two games remaining in the regular season, Providence has matched its win total from last year in the Big East (9), and overall (19)…Marquette's Golden Eagles come to the Dunk for the final regular season game Tuesday night, with a 9:00 pm tip off (8:45 pm on 103.7 FM and friars.com)…Senior Night will feature Cotton, Batts, Ted Bancroft, Lee Goldsbrough and Brice Kofane being honored prior to the start...