During halftime ESPN found the most gangster announcer it could to talk about Ed Cooley (yes ESPN, cause that makes 100% perfect sense, bulletproof logic) in which he said that Ed Cooley had the respect of the street and the elite, and that Cooley was, and I quote cause you literally can’t make this up, “bout-it bout-it.”
Amazingly silly ESPN announcer and awesome twitter hashtag (#boutitboutit should become my personal hashtag) Cooley has continued to live up to his self set expectations and surprise fanbases across the country with not only the fact that he’s winning but how he’s doing it. Get into my recap of the South Carolina game after the jump.
What happened? Well for starters the Friars won and they won big. After the Gamecocks got the first basket Providence essentially said “never again” and went on a 15-3 run that put them ahead 15-5. The team was, for lack of a better metaphor, throwing up rainbows of awesomeness all over South Carolina on both ends the court.
Everything was clicking on both ends. The defense contested shots and forced turnovers. The offense worked together and relied on one another to create open looks. The Friars were on fire (or if you were a student season ticket holder, they were FRIAR’D UP!) and never lost the lead the entire game, keeping South Caroline in the 7-11 point down region. Everyone played their role and everyone helped each other, the result was a great road win against a power conference team when Providence was thought of as the 5-7 point underdogs in this game.
What was the hype? The Big East/SEC Challenge pits teams from the Big East and the SEC against each other in an ESPN exploitation (when they’re not busy trying to destroy the Big East) and Providence was faced with the task of playing South Carolina. Providence also had the privilege of opening the tournament for ESPN, transitivity having the ability to set a 1-0 lead for the BE or a 0-1 hole for them. Guess which one Ed Cooley knew he was going to get?
Stat of the Night: Bilal “father figure” Dixon had 7 blocks tonight. Before tonight he had a collective 6 throughout the season. Add to that 10 points and 7 rebounds and suddenly our front court is looking a little better. We’ve seen this before with Bilal, so let’s hope he doesn’t continue his tread of “one game step forward, step back for the next 4″ sort of problem. We need you in the front Bilal! Once Kadeem comes back against UNH and if Bilal keeps playing the way he has with Henton our front court suddenly looks respectable.
Most Frustrating Stat of the Night: …Um…turnovers? I don’t really know they looked good out there to me. Probably the same turnover issue we’ve been having but trying to come up with something new is difficult. Especially after the way they played last night.
And Now, Chowdah!
The Gipper got his second start and logged in 13 minutes, once again having a lot of mistakes but man is he developing into the player we all wanted him to be – a brute force with a strong rebounding ability who doesn’t take ish from anyone. If he can continue to develop like this then expect his playing time number to go up, especially this season when our front court is already thin.
Well he’s pulled himself out of his shooting slump that gave everyone a headache, but he still looks hesitant to shoot the ball. Chalk that up to one of Cooley’s offensive philosophies that each possession is to be treasured and valued. I imagine Cooley feels every possession the Friars get should be at least two more points on the scoreboard, and Cotton seems scared to let him down. He exploded last game against Holy Cross and, even though he cooled off a bit and didn’t do quite as much this game, he still had a good game because he’s starting to do better assisting his teammates and facilitating the offensive flow. That’s important because if Cotton goes dry (like cotton mouth – A-HA!) he’ll need to find another way to help, especially since the offensive back court is heavily dependent on him. He did that well during the USC game.
We went over this already in the Stat of the Night section so I won’t get into it again, but let’s say his performance is a reflection of the talent he has and can tap into. If he finds a way to do this for Big East play we may creep up on a few teams who won’t suspect our front court to be anything above a steaming pile of shirts coming out the dryer (BANTER!).
I’m giving it to LaDontae because he is exactly the kind of player the Friars have needed for the longest time. He does everything and more, leaving it all on the line for his team and will do whatever he can to help this team win. He’s the Kevin Garnett of this team in that he has no off or 50% mode – it’s 100% or 0%, exactly the player Cooley loves. He was the top performer against USC and I have a feeling we may be looking at a very special player early in his development.
Honorable Mention: Vincent Council