“How’d you do that? Heck, I’m not even mad; that’s amazing.” – The Great Ron Bergundy
I think that line sums up Friartown’s feelings on tonight’s 87-73 loss to Syracuse.
The Providence Friars gave everything they had late on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to topple #1 ranked Syracuse at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. After a great first half in which PC played toe-to-toe with the Orange, the deep Syracuse squad made shot after shot in the 2nd half to keep the home team from a chance at a big upset.
Why Syracuse Won: The Orange held a one point lead coming out of the half, but quickly made it double digits with tougher defense and getting many easy baskets down low. Providence would get a few mini-runs throughout the rest of the game, but those opening minutes really gave Syracuse the decent cushion that the Friars simply couldn’t get through. Anytime PC threatened to make it close, someone was always there to calmly hit a three to pour some cold water on the ‘ol run. Brandon Triche was the big problem (4-5 from downtown, all of them seemingly coming in a row), but overall Syracuse hit 10 of 17 shots from behind the arc.
Why Providence Lost: The Friars needed to play a perfect game offensively, and they did a great job early on attacking the zone (hey, Kadeem Batts is playing!). Gerard Coleman bounced back, and the team was even hitting foul shots. Hey, this may happen afterall! However, they couldn’t get the stops they needed at the right times to support the offense (sounds Kenoish, but it wasn’t lazy, uninspired defense, so it’s all good). It’s tough to do when the opponent ends up shooting 61.1% from the field and HITS EVERY THREE. Despite the crazy shooting numbers from Syracuse, it shows how the Friars offense stepped up and kept the game competitive at various points in the 2nd half.
Turning Point(s): Providence had numerous chances to cut the lead to a few possession game. LaDontae Henton hit a huge three with 9:37 left to cut the deficit to 7. After Dion Waiters missed a jumper on the other end of the floor, PC had a great chance after Henton worked his tail off grabbing Coleman’s missed shots. He couldn’t get the putback to fall, but was fouled hard in the process. The freshman however missed both foul shots, and Syracuse continued their offensive attack. Brandon Triche made a layup on the next possession, and James Southerland hit a three after Council got a charge called him. A hearty 7 point swing. PC wasn’t dead though, coming within only 6 points with less than 6 minutes to play after Bryce Cotton drilled a three, Vincent Council scored on a transition layup, and Gerard Coleman throwing down a dunk. Dion Waiters ruined all the fun with 5 of the next points, and LaDontae Henton missed an open three to keep the Friars within reach.
Fun Stat I: After the horrid game that Gerard Coleman had, it was great seeing him bounce back with a 7-7 performance at the line. He still made some ill-advised shot attempts, but he didn’t take any threes and finished well at the rim to end up with 17 points.
Fun Stat II: Ed Cooley only played 6 players. Bilal Dixon, Ron Giplaye, and Lee Goldsbrough did not enter the game.
Fun Stat III: Another day, another double-double for LaDontae Henton. 11 and 13 tonight. Please leave your hard hat at the scorers table when you exit the court.
Not Fun Stat I: Vincent Council had 6 turnovers, to bring his 3 game BIG EAST total to 19. PUKE.
Tweet of the Game:
Media Tweet of the Game:
Composure: Syracuse went into a hostile environment in front of a packed Dunk and didn’t wince once. The Friar fans were hoping for a repeat of the last time a No. 1 team came to Providence, when Pittsburgh was taken down in 2009. There were a few fleeting moments in the first half, but the Orange never were in serious jeopardy of folding.