Cooley’s pitch takes a page from the Olive Garden: when you’re here, you’re family. That the head coach is repeatedly taking road trips to see the likes of Sampson helps separate the Friars, what may put them over the top is their family approach to recruiting.
Back in August, Cooley explained this approach to CBS’s Gary Parish, “When I sell my background to the kids and my vision to their families, I always tell the kids that if I get the opportunity to know them and they get the opportunity to see who we are as a family and what we do as people during the recruiting process, when it comes time to make a decision on a school, they will have a brutal time telling me no. They might tell me no. But they’ll have a brutal time doing it.”
You don’t even have to look at the article, really.
16. Providence: The Friars have just two wins since the New Year and the schedule offers little in the way of optimism. This week, Providence has to face a hungry Cincinnati team before hosting Georgetown.
The Friars finished at -.10 (also 14th place) in efficiency margin in conference play last year.
And finally, the Providence Friars are the butt of everyone’s jokes, the losers of the league, the 98-pound weakling. But their season has shown a lot of promise. The Friars continue to play in close games despite playing six players most of the team’s minutes. Their efficiency margins have been going up each week.
But the Friars have been outscored in the second half for five straight games (including a win against Rutgers) – the fatigue factor seems evident.
Ed Cooley will want to find something different to do with his defense next year, however – the Friars can’t stop three-point shooting, don’t force turnovers, and aren’t getting defensive rebounds.
According to Ledo the two prospects talk all the time via Twitter and texting. Cooley has also made a strong effort to attend many of their games.
Cooley has two headlining stars. To go along with Dunn and Ledo is knockdown shooter Josh Fortune and transfer Sidiki Johnson.
But Cooley isn’t done. Oh, he’s far from done.
Only one Friar scored in double digits as junior guard Vincent Council (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had 16 points in the game. The Bulls held Providence’s second leading scorer, sophomore Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.), to six points. Overall the Friars shot 30.8 percent from the field, 8.3 percent from behind the arc and 78.9 percent from the free throw line.
How much misfortune can a team be forced to endure, without having the basketball gods send at least one positive result their way?
Plenty – if you’re the 2012 Providence Friars. For the third straight game, PC found itself with a late second half lead…and for the third straight game, the opponent found a way to win. This time, the culprits came from South Florida, as the Bulls outscored the Friars 14-2 over the final 2:30 to win 55-48 at the Dunkin Donuts Center Saturday.
With Vincent Council checking him, Noriega swished home a trey from the corner opposite the Bulls bench, one that made it a one-point white-knuckle affair at 2:20. An offensive foul by Kadeem Batts took away a hoop by Council and gave the Bulls another crack at running something with the intent of freeing Noriega.
Running off of what the USF hero-of-the-game dubbed “a triple screen,” Noriega banged home a three with 1:40 remaining, putting the visitors up at 48-47. Two attempts, two makes in exactly 60 seconds of floor time. Certainly it’s not bad work if you can get it, but as Noriega noted afterwards, he knows why Heath deploys him in certain situations as opposed to others.
Providence struggled through their ugliest offensive night since a 40 point performance against Georgetown in early January, and the closing minutes were not much better. Their only field goal of the final four minutes came when LaDontae Henton squeezed home a shot at the rim with 1:19 left, but USF closed by doing what PC could not six days prior against West Virginia – hitting all eight of their free throw attempts in the game’s final minute as they ripped off a 14-2 run over the game’s final two and half minutes for the victory.
It was a sluggish effort from the start for Cooley’s group, a team that must be discouraged after conceding leads of 15 and 19 points in their two losses prior to this one.
The Bulls, who led 24-21 at halftime, also did a better job with their man-to-man defense against Providence than has been the case in the past. They held the Friars to 30 percent shooting and limited freshman forward Henton to seven points after he scored a career-high 33 on Jan. 29 in USF’s 81-78 win.
“We knew we had to take away their transition,” Heath said. “We did a much better job in the second half. I think it took some of their guys who can really score and didn’t allow them to get in a rhythm that they’ve gotten into before.
“I don’t know how those guys feel, but I’m exhausted,” he added, with a laugh. “The guys did a fantastic job, and there are a lot of heroes in that locker room.”
“I definitely knew my time was going to come,” Noriega said. “We needed some shots at the end, and my coaches and teammates have faith in me.”
Noriega hadn’t played in four of USF’s previous six games, and the 12 total minutes he earned on Jan. 24 against Marquette and Feb. 4 against Georgetown came in contests that the Bulls lost by a combined 50 points. The junior guard had gone from starter to afterthought before sealing a season sweep of the Friars, a stint that Heath had in mind when he addressed the team a day earlier.
“You never know when your turn is going to come,” Heath said. “He perked up and had a pretty good practice (Friday).”
The Providence College men’s basketball team (12-10, 1-8 BIG EAST) fell to the South Florida Bulls (13-9, 6-3 BIG EAST) by the score of 81-78, on Sunday, January 29 in Tampa, Fla. Despite shooting 53.8-percent from behind the arc, 79.2-percent from the free throw line and 45.6-percent from the field, Providence could not seal the victory.
Freshman LaDontae Henton (Lansing, Mich.) led all players in scoring with a career-high 33 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.) registered 16 points and five rebounds while junior guard Vincent Council (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 10 points and a game-high seven assists.
With a big, physical front line, USF has been able to match up well with most teams on its’ schedule, and the Bulls entered the game with a 5-3 mark in Big East play. Led by a defense ranked at the top of the league (and 13th nationally) in points allowed at 58 points per game, South Florida has steadily improved throughout the season.
But in the first half Sunday, the Friars managed to find freshman forward LaDontae Henton open inside and out – and “Buckets” led the way with 24 points in the opening 20 minutes. Leading by as much as seven in the period, PC ended the half tied at 39 – with the 39 points scored the most USF has allowed in the first half of any game this season.
“I don’t think we played great,” said coach Stan Heath, whose team is 11-1 at home this season. “Normally our defense has been our staple, but our offense kicked in. … I thought some guys stepped up at some key, key moments.”
Heath said he felt “fortunate” to defeat Providence, which got a superb performance from freshman forward LaDontae Henton (33 points). Henton had five 3-pointers and a career-high 24 points just 17 minutes into the game, but only attempted three field-goal attempts after halftime.
“In the second half, we tried to stay attached to him and not give him open looks,” said USF guard Hugh Robertson, who was among a multitude of defenders trying to check Henton.
Probably more concerning to Cooley is the defense. The lowest scoring team in the Big East (309th in the country) broke 80 points for only the third time this year (81 versus Marist, 83 against Florida A&M) and for the third straight game the Friars were done in by their inability to defend the three point line.
An atrocious outside shooting team went 5-5 from beyond the arc down the stretch, after starting just 1-10 from deep. Cooley’s game plan was to dare Anthony Collins to beat him from deep, and the freshman with the funky looking jump shot hit a pair of “give-me-a-break” threes in the final eight minutes of the second half.
“That goes to show how deep our team is,” said Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, who scored 13 points for the Bulls (13-9, 6-3). “We have guys that can make things happen.”
USF committed only five turnovers and had 17 assists while improving to 11-1 at home this season. The Bulls were coming off a 67-47 loss to No. 17/18 Marquette on Tuesday when they committed 22 turnovers.
“We put that behind us and everybody came together,” Robertson said. “We worked on being tough with the ball in practice and it paid off in the game.”
The Providence Friars dropped yet another BIG EAST road game (20th straight, if you are counting at home) this time falling to the surprisingly good South Florida Bulls 81-78. The Bulls got hot from behind the arc (who doesn’t lately? — like I said on Twitter during the game, Shaq could nail 10 threes in a game against Providence) and their defense clamped down during a 16-1 run halfway through the 2nd that was the difference in the game.
Another punch to the gut of Ed Cooley. Can he and the Friars bounce back?
Friarblog.com: First of all, I don’t think we ever got any formal thanks for starting your little run that to many big wins and loads of national attention.
KD: My apologies. Thank you for kick-starting the USF bandwagon. Its been in the garage for a decade, so it was nice to be able to give that thing some mileage before it died midway through the St. Johns game.
Friarblog.com: Since the 4 game winning streak was snapped, USF has lost to some tough teams (Nova, Marquette). But St. John’s? Really? Even we beat them! KD: Teams are figuring out that we have no outside shooters. Everyone is playing a zone defense against us and we cant shoot ourselves out of it. Even Villanova played a little zone on Wednesday and they never do that.
Friarblog.com: Correct me if I’m wrong, but USF has never finished above the bottom 4 since joining the BIG EAST. Even if the NCAA Bubble talk has evaporated, the season would have to be considered a huge success if that’s how they finished, right? Or do you have the taste of success now and want more?
KD: All I asked from the team this year was get to 16 wins and then some sort of tournament, even a CBI bid would have made me happy. Since it looks like we are pretty much in for the NIT, this season has been a huge success even with our recent slide. Heath has preached patience, and it looks like we are getting a decent foundation in place here in Tampa.
Next season will be an entirely different animal. With Jones back for his senior year along with a great core of players back, I would hope that the Bulls will go dancing for the first time in 19 years.
Friarblog.com: In the first matchup at the DUNK, big man Augustus Gilchrist was out with an injury. He’s been back for the past 4 games, but based on the stats he might have been a little rusty. Will he have a big impact against the Friars, or he is still trying to get up to speed?
KD: I really don’t think that Gus is at 100% right now. Hopefully he can go out there and get 10 points and grab some boards, but anything that he provides us down low is a bonus. Hopefully the rust kicks off soon though, it would be nice to see him start shooting well from outside and opening up the lane for our slashers.
Friarblog.com: Dominique Jones almost broke the BIG EAST scoring record last time against Providence. Assuming (and this is a big assumption) PC makes an adjustment to keep him from putting up 40+ points, what will USF do to counter?
KD: Create turnovers, get guys like Jarrid Famous and Mike Mercer some room to run and play some suffocating defense. If that doesn’t work, praying always helps.
Friarblog.com: Since the PC game, USF has been involved in mostly low scoring games with slow paces. Are they up for another run and gun style game?
KD: I hope so. USF plays best when its wide open, so hopefully Saturday’s game will be another high scoring affair.
Friarblog.com: Any predictions to how this one will be played out?
KD: I’m sure it will be a high scoring affair, and I think the home court advantage will lift USF over the top. Bulls win 83-77. Jones gets off his slump and goes for 28, and Greedy will get on SportsCenter for doing something awesome.
Fatherhood and mother nature have conspired to keep Jarrid Famous away from Tampa, as the junior center was stuck in New York with weather canceling his scheduled flight back to campus after spending time with his newborn daughter, London.
Dominique Jones also might not be at 100% for the match-up on Saturday night.
USF guard Dominique Jones, who scored a school-record 46 points in the first meeting with Providence, continues to be limited by illness — he was eating chicken noodle soup courtside before Friday’s practice. He’ll certainly play Saturday, but hasn’t been himself lately.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s site, tonight’s game against South Florida at home will be the Friars only win the rest of the season. These things obviously change as the season goes on (the projections had us also beating Seton Hall before our loss to Marquette and their win against Louisville). If you ask me, projections and these so called “statistics” are all a bunch of witchcraft.
Anyways, with a big rivalry game against UCONN looming on Wednesday, and a general GAUNTLET of tough games against good teams on the horizon, something might come to mind when thinking about this winnable home game tonight:
Sorry Admiral, I think the Friars will come to play tonight. Keno Davis has had almost a full week to kick their butts after the Marquette debacle. The team should be focused on tonight’s game, and know that they are not really good enough to be looking ahead in the schedule and overlook lesser teams. Every BIG EAST game is tough, and hey, even DePaul can find a way to win once in a while.
Without Augustus Gilchrist in the lineup (out with an ankle injury suffered in December), South Florida is pretty limited on the offensive end. Dominique Jones is their go-to guy, averaging a team leading 19.6 points per game. With a limited bench Jones is always on the court, playing 88.2% of the team’s minutes (41st in the nation). The only other offensive threat is 6-11 junior Jarrid Famous, who is the only other active player above 10 points per game (and also above an 100 offensive rating). With both Jones and Famous on the court (Famous is also out there a ton, 76.9 minute %), they take about half of the team’s shots. Providence should know what’s coming, the question is if they can find a way to stop both of them.
Don’t expect a repeat of Darius-Johnson-F$%#-Odom – DePaul has a 304th ranked 3-point percentage of 29.8%. Well, statistically speaking it is not likely to repeat, but that could change if there are wide open guys on the perimeter all game. However, this may be a good thing given everyone’s shooting percentage outside of Jones.
South Florida is going to try slow down the blistering pace the Friars like to play, as they come into the game with an adjusted tempo of 66.3 (#251 in the nation) — almost 10 possessions less Providence’s #6 ranked 75.0! USF has only played three games above 70 possessions, and they were all wins against not so great teams — Davidson: 70, Central Florida: 71, and Rutgers EIGHTY. To be fair the game against Rutgers was last week, and the players apparently have all quit on the season (*cough* Mike Rosario *cough*).
Watch those fouls Bilal. South Florida has a very good free throw rate on the season (they are the anti-Friars with a 38th ranked 44.2% FT rate). Although Gilchrist has the team’s highest FT rate in only 8 games played, Famous, Jones, and guard Chris Howard have also had no trouble getting to the line
The Friars return to action for their first game in six days when the squad hosts the University of South Florida on Saturday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m. It will be homecoming for all Friar alums. PC has posted a 5-1 record all-time versus USF, including a 4-0 record since the Bulls joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06. PC is 3-0 all-time at home versus USF, 2-1 on the road and 0-0 at neutral sites. In the only meeting between the two teams last season, the Friars defeated the Bulls, 77-62, on February 10, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. USF’s only win over the Friars was a 68-64 victory on November 26, 2002 in Tampa, Fla.
The Bulls (11-7, 1-5) are off to yet another slow Big East start. In their previous four seasons, the Bulls have never won more than four games. Only two (2-32 all-time road mark) of their 12 conference wins have come on the road.
But this South Florida team is the best the school has ever offered the Big East. For one, it may have the best scoring guard in the conference in junior Dominique Jones.
Defensively it is no secret that Jones has to be limited. He will score his points, but we just can’t let him go off on us. We are thinking the zone may help limit his penetration and inside finishes. But he can beat you from the outside as well, so we need to check him at all times, and force low percentage shots from him. We also need to hit the glass. There are a number of players on this USF team who will hit the boards. There is nobody averaging 10 rebounds a game but there are a few around seven. We need to put a body on the green shirts.
USF was unable to cool Cincinnati down on Wednesday, as the Bearcats shot an efficient 55.6 percent from the floor on their way to a 78-70 decision. The Bulls made just 43.5 percent of their attempts from the field and a dismal 3- of-18 from long distance. Dominique Jones continued his run with 21 points and six boards, while Chris Howard notched a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. That now makes it five games in row in which Jones has scored 20 or more points and he continue to pace USF in scoring (19.6 ppg) as well as assists (4.1 apg) for the season
WHAT TO: WATCH
Syracuse v South Florida Highlights
The last 6 minutes, presented with stoppages cut out, of the January 5th game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the South Florida Bulls
Highlights from Louisville vs. South Florida on December 30, 2009.
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be on ESPNU if you have it. My guess is that you don’t because I always have to go out to watch it.