The Friars (2-0) got a great road win tonight (and first one in almost TWO years!), defeating Fairfield in Ed Cooley’s return to Connecticut. The game was pretty action packed, as both teams continually traded double-digit runs. In the end, the Providence guards were too much to handle in transition and PC ended up winning 80-72.
How they won: Vincent Council (26 points, 7 assists), Gerard Coleman (17 points), and Bryce Cotton (career high 24 points) combined to score 67 of the Friars 80 points (!!). They were all just fantastic in transition, and in the half court sets Vincent “The General” Council took charge and made plays. The Friars were also able to make some runs with Fairfield’s big players having to sit with foul trouble. Rakim Sanders got 2 early, and also picked up his third in the beginning of the 2nd half. When Sanders was in the game, he kept helping Fairfield make their comebacks as PC had no answer for him on defense. He finished with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Point guard Derek Needham had a rough night shooting (3-11, all threes), and also got into foul trouble throughout the game. The Stags took a lot of three-pointers (26), but finished at 30% thanks to a barrage of threes at the end.
Turning point: Rakim Sanders and Derek Needham hit threes on consecutive trips down the court, and cut PC’s lead in half at 6 with under two minutes to go. However, Gerard Coleman scored on a nice play inside giving the Friars a little breathing room. Fairfield then committed two turnovers in a row, and Providence iced the game at the line.
Improvements: The Friars shot 17-20 from the line, by far their best from the two exhibition games plus the opener. It helps when Bryce Cotton and Vincent Council are the ones taking the majority of the attempts. The team is once again showing better shot selection and refraining from relying on the three-ball. Under 10 attempts! PC went 3-8 from behind the arc, and LaDontae Henton took the most going 1-5! They were all open looks too.
Play of the Game: Lots of big plays made by the 3 C’s, but one that stood out was Bryce Cotton driving a making a sweet left handed layup off the glass in front of 7-footer Ryan Olander.
More to come tomorrow.