See what I did there? I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about writing a title like that since Kadeem signed his LOI two years ago. Anyways, the young Providence Friars went to 3-0 on Thursday night after beating a solid Morgan State team by a score of 77-55.
Last week Kevin over at FriarBasketball.net talked about the program needing tough competitors like John Linehan, Jamel Thomas, and Ryan Gomes. I saw this quote in the Projo game recap article, and immediately smiled.
“We had a sense of urgency and kept up the intensity. We wanted to blow that team out. That was our goal, just keep playing hard and turn up the score more and more,” said Batts.
If I had read that quote anywhere about the team over the last several years, I obviously didn’t believe it because it doesn’t sound even remotely familiar. After three games of great intensity and great results on defense, is it too early to say they are showing amazing improvement? Sure, the offense has some issues, and the Friars will be lucky to win another game shooting SIX POINT THREE PERCENT from downtown. As the competition increases, PC will surely start letting up more points and higher shooting percentages. For now, I don’t want to worry about that just yet. The most important takeaway is that the effort is there and the team is improving. Incredibly refreshing if you ask me.
(We need a BATTSMAN version of this logo)
Let’s hit up the usual recap features after the jump!
LETS TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT ‘THE FOUR FACTORS’
- Providence’s 3-point field goal percentage keeps dropping every game, along with their effective field goal percentage. Last season, PC had only two games where they had a lower eFG% than what they did tonight against Morgan State — The Iona debacle, and that weird game against St. John’s where they won because Johnnie’s somehow managed to play much worse. Interesting note: Morgan State coach Bozeman wisely switched to a zone in the 2nd half, since no Friar could make even the layupest of layups. However, Vincent Council, Marshon Brooks, and Gerard Coleman EASILY shredded it and started driving and passing, resulting in GASP…made shots and free throw attempts! That plan didn’t last very long. Anyway, Morgan State also had trouble from behind the arc (WAS THE THREE POINT LINE AT THE DUNK REGULATION SIZE OR WHAT??) hitting only 1 of their threes as well. Down low wasn’t much better however, as Bilal Dixon and Kadeem Batts made sure Kevin Thompson had to work for his points.
- Rebounding was a huge factor in the game, considering how many shots both teams were bricking off the rim the entire game. Bilal Dixon pretty much single handedly kept the Bears off the offensive glass with 10 defensive rebounds. For PC, everyone chipped in with offensive boards. The six players who registered one all had 2+, lead by Marshon Brooks and Duke Mondy (?!) with 4 each.
- The Friars did a great job at taking care of the ball for the first time all season, as their low turnover percentage resulted in only 3 points off turnovers for the Bears (all in the first half). Gerard Coleman and Vincent Council combined for 7 of the total 10 PC turnovers, but hey they are young and growing so it’s cool with me. Morgan State turned it over at a 23% clip, and Providence made them pay with 19 points off those miscues.
- In the first half, it looked like foul shooting woes were going to bite the team in the ass a-la Marv Albert. However, PC kept at it and continued to get the line at a somewhat decent rate. In the second half they went a spectacular 14-16 from the line. Kadeem Batts led the way with an 85.7 Free Throw Rate. Trust me, that’s really good.
OTHER STAT NOTES
* 1st Half: 74.9
* 2nd Half: 131.1
Morgan State: 72.4
* 1st Half: 62.8
* 2nd Half: 80.7
- The Friars clearly had their best offensive half of the season so far in the 2nd, and it wasn’t even close.
- The low shooting percentages the Friars are giving up are nice, but even more encouraging is the opponents’ (lack of) efficiency. In three games, PC’s defensive ratings: 72, 79, and 67. No, these teams aren’t Duke, but hey you have to start somewhere right?
- Marshon Brooks was incredibly efficient with his high 24.7% possession % (considering he was on the floor for 85% of the game. He registered a 124 offensive rating.
- The most efficient player of the night for both teams was Kadeem Batts. The freshman sported a 138.6 offensive rating thanks to a high shooting percentage in the paint and getting to the line and converting.
Let’s judge some performances by dishing out some pasta (from 1-4, 4 being awesome). My homage to the Star-Ledger.
Bilal Dixon – Nobody sums up the Friars over the first three games better than Bilal Dixon. He said he doesn’t care about scoring as long as he’s grabbing rebounds and playing good defense. Check, and check.
Kadeem Batts – After getting subbed out first for Lee Goldsbrough early in the game, I thought it was going to be another quiet night for Batts. Then he started BATTING (this isn’t getting old already is it??) the sh*t out of the ball and ripping it straight out of poor Morgan State players’ hands. Toss in 5 for 7 shooting and, welcome to the season Kadeem!
Marshon Brooks – Aside from a 2rd straight double-double, Brooks also set his career high in assists. With 6. Yep, Brooks set his career high last year with 5 against Bucknell.
Aric Brooks – I almost gave him a whole bowl lower, soley for having the same last name as Marshon, thus confusing the living hell out of me while trying to watch the game online. My game audio was a good 15 seconds behind the video, so I rarely knew what the eff was going on since a Brooks seemed to always have the ball. Like a midget at a urinal, I had to stay on my toes.
Kevin Thompson – 6 of 18 from the field. That’s almost close to Kobe Game 7 NBA Finals territory!
DeWayne Jackson – After hitting 7 of 11 threes in their opener, Jackson went 0-5 from behind the arc against the Friars. Fouled out towards the end for good measure.
Gerard Coleman – Definitely not his best game, having 4 turnovers and a really poor shooting night (3-12). Let this be the last time I ever have to put him in the one bowl list.
BOX SCORES FOR THE STATS NERDS!
AROUND THE INTERWEBS
Friars.com: Men’s Basketball Claws Morgan State 77-55
The Providence defense also was impressive again holding its opponent to less than 60 points for the third straight game. It is the first time since 2004 that the Friars have held three-consecutive opponents to less than 60 points.
MorganStateBears.com: Bears push Providence, But Fall 77-55
Morgan State played throughout most of tonight’s game with their leading scorer having a trouble putting the ball in the basket.
PC danced with a big, strong Morgan State team for 30 minutes but then broke a 42-42 tie and outscored the visitors 35-13 over the final 10:25 to race to a 77-55 win. The Friars are now 3-0 and clearly getting better every time they step on the floor. This time, they took away the confidence that comes from meeting what everyone considered was a major roadblock in the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Bears.
“Kadeem Batts is a guy that we know as a team and as coaches but [he’s had] a little nerves the last couple games and he just couldn’t get it going,” said Davis. “All of a sudden he figures it out and he was playing at a different level. That’s what we need right now. We need his body. Bilal Dixon, Kadeem Batts, they give us Big East size out there and their upside is pretty great.”
Pawtuckett Times: Friars improve to 3-0, defeat Morgan State
“There are things we need to clean up in terms of execution. We don’t want to get stagnant out there,” said the third-year coach. “We threw a lot at the players in two days, knowing that we would going to need everything we had put in to beat Morgan State. We couldn’t hold anything back.”
FriarBasketball: Friars Ride Defense to Third Straight Win
How many games would the Friars have won a year ago shooting 6% from three point range? Would they have had a chance to win any game in the final 10 minutes a season ago with only 44 points scored through 30 minutes?
Keno Davis’ Friars are young, they have their offensive short-comings, and as the head coach says they are learning to defend on the fly. Apparently they are quick learners as they’ve held three opponents under 60 points – the first time that has happened at Providence since 2004. They are also 3-0.
An acrobatic alley-oop from Coleman to Brooks provided the dagger with 3 minutes remaining, but the Friars added another in the game’s final seconds, this time from Council to Cotton, a 5-9 guard who capped the Providence victory with a crowd-pleasing dunk.
@CoachRoPC: Great 2 days for Friars. Lady Friars over URI, PC soccer advances in NCAA’s & Men go 3-0. Let’s go FRIARS!!!
THOUGHTS ELSEWHERE AROUND TWITTER
@Hoopville: Marshon Brooks is the reason Providence is up 69-54 with 2:34 left at the last media timeout. Last 5+ minutes, he’s scored 11 of his 20.
@PCgirl04: Great win for the Friars!
@bryncvp: Huge win by the boys tonight. Nothing like beating an NCAA caliber team by 22. Prairie View A & M up next. 3-0. Go Friars!!!
@TTAPCBBall: Yale just finished off a 10 point win over BC. Good day to be a Friar
@TTAPCBBall: So Marshon and Batts had great games, and they played defense. That was weird.
@Friarso8: Impressive Victory not because we beat Morgan St. because every time we need a bucket or a stop we got it. Played great!!
@PhillyFriar: Just looking at the numbers, I’ll say this much: PC’s offense not as good as we thought this year, but D certainly seems improved.
@jmaher4: Good win for the friars…move to 3-0
@SteveHartnett92 Has the D has arrived in Friartown for Keno Davis? The Friars beat Morgan State & have allowed fewer than 60 points in games in three wins.