As Barney Stinson would say, SUIT UP! Hey, where’s Carson Desrosiers?
Speaking of the suits, all of the players not eligible to play right now (Sidiki Johnson, Tyler Harris, Carson Desrosiers, and Ricky Ledo) did not make the trip with the team to Puerto Rico due to NCAA rules. This must be especially hard for Ricky Ledo, who is of Puerto Rican discent. The rest of the team and staff landed there today.
Still nothing new on Vincent Council’s hammy. He is going to Puerto Rico, but I highly highly doubt he will play. Sounds like he could be out for the next several weeks. I say play it safe and wait until the 2nd semester when Sidiki and hopefully Kris Dunn can play.
The Friars moved to 2-0 with a nice 81-49 win over Bryant University at The Dunk. Playing with 6 scholarship players and without a true point guard, PC’s offense was incredibly sharp and efficient in the 1st half. Although they got sloppy and struggled a little bit in the first part of the 2nd, the Friars were able to keep Bryant in check defensively for practically the whole game.
Why Providence Won: The Friars built a huge lead in the first half behind the fantastic play of Kadeem Batts. He scored in a variety of ways — back to the basket with jump hooks, foul line and longer jumpers, and fast break dunks (one which reminded me a lot of the Louisville dunk from last year). It was good to see Batts in his beat-the-chest mode that we saw in that Louisville performance last year, taking a leadership role that he promised Friartown during the offseason. After the first twenty minutes were over, Batts was actually outscoring Bryant 23-21. The Bulldogs made a slight run with a bunch of three balls that finally went in, but they were never able to recover from PC’s onslaught in the 1st. Kadeem did the initial damage, and a combination of Cotton and Henton delivered the knockout punch.
Hey Friartown. Are you ready for some makeshift point guard fun against Bryant tonight? Instead of a Live Blog like we have done the last few games, I’m going to throw out a live thread and see if it sticks.
In the comments below, be sure to leave your thoughts before, during, and after the game! The comments should also load in live without having to refresh the page (I think, that’s why I’m trying this way out).
The game will be televised on Cox, ESPN Full Court, and SNY of you happen to get any of those.
Before Vincent Council injured his hamstring on Saturday, the Friars were already in somewhat of a survival mode. The start of the schedule made it a little more manageable, but the waves of zombies looking to eat Friarown’s brains were always out there waiting. Now with Council sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Friars are in zombies-coming-from-every-direction-on-Hershel’s-farm survival mode. Tonight’s opponent Bryant is not a great team, but PC needs to figure out how to master wielding the shotgun without their leader if they want make it out of Puerto Rico later in the week without getting their insides ripped out and eaten.
I wasn’t prepared to spend the next 10 off days weeping gently.
An upset in the making? It certainly could have been.
From this point, however, it appeared that PC’s superior conditioning and defensive pressure began to wear the Bulldogs down, as Cotton finally received offensive help from Henton, Vincent Council and Gerard Coleman. Most of the damage came from the free throw line, as PC connected on 14 consecutive free throws as a team in the second half…and they slowly pulled away. With the near perfect day from the line, the defense finally turned up the tempo on the Bryant offense, limiting touches to super soph Alex Francis (17 points, 13 rebounds), and rushed shots from Dobbs, Maynard and Ben Altit.
Two years ago, the Bryant men’s basketball team trailed from start to finish in the season opener at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. But on Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs not only showed how far they have come in such a short time, but gave the host Friars more than they could handle before falling, 72-61, in the final minutes.
Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) paced the Bulldogs with 17 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the year and the 11th of his career for the sophomore forward. SophomoreDan Calandrillo (Leonardo, N.J.) chipped in with a career-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor as Bryant finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field.
Great writeup from a stacked tournament that included some Friar targets such as JaKarr Sampson.
Sampson was once again solid, finishing with 18 points. His jump shot is flat, but he made big free throws, connected on a few baseline jumpers, and finished with his typical loud dunks. Where Sampson has the most potential, however, may be as a lockdown defender. He’s got great length and athletic ability, and his wiry frame doesn’t do his strength justice. Sampson isn’t afraid to be physical, and in an era in which SportsCenter glamorizes who gets dunked on versus who makes plays to win, his challenging Noel on that dunk was a sign of his competitiveness. Would be a perfect fit with the fast-paced Friar guards.
PC also gives blogger a scare, who last checked the score 5 minutes into the 2nd half and saw they were down by 8.
Cotton tallied a career-best 34 points, the most scored by a single Friar player this season. The guard, who always has the green light from Cooley to fire away, had 20 of PC’s 29 points at halftime and continued to shoulder the scoring burden well into the second half. Freshman LaDontae Henton notched the second double-double of his young career, popping for 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“Bryce became Superman for a minute,” noted Cooley. “We run a lot of different things to get him looks all over the floor. Today was one of those days he could have had 50. He just didn’t take enough shots.”
Not sure if this is anything we don’t know already.
If there was a poll ranking the worst 9-2 — or better — teams in the country, the Friars would have to be in the top five.
Eight of their nine wins have come against teams whose RPI is 225 or higher, and four of those wins have come against teams ranked among the lowest in the country — Brown (322), Fairleigh Dickinson (324), Bryant (334) and Florida A&M (next-to-last at 343.)
Rookie MarShon Brooks continues to impress with his offensive skill level. Johnson referred to him a “the young kid who is very creative with the ball, can score, can play above the rim, really can get out and run.”
But Johnson is first and foremost a lover of all things defensive.
“We’re asking him to get more involved defensively, get some more steals, take more chances – be a rookie,” Johnson said emphatically. “He’s more of a rookie on offense, and too much of a veteran on defense.”
The Battle for Rhode Island supremacy continues for the Providence Friars. The question is, will Bryant prove to be a tougher challenge than URI in a couple of weeks? Like the Rams, the Bryant Bulldogs are 1-8 and have trouble preventing opponents from scoring. With a blowout victory over Brown already in the books, PC is looking to continue their home out of conference win streak while taking care of business in the Rhody series.