Friar Basketball

20 Games in, this is Vincent Council’s team

On a night with a lot of angles, Vincent Council was the story.  Greedy Peterson’s 23 and 14 were featured in ESPN’s postgame highlights, Bilal Dixon fought his heart out against a bigger frontcourt (11 points, 12 rebounds), and the team responded to Keno Davis’ challenge, but long time followers of Providence basketball have waited far too long for Council to overlook the impact he had on this one.

When a 5 point second half lead turned into a 3 point deficit with under 10 minutes to play we seemed headed for a scenario that has become far too familiar in Friartown over the past decade.  The Friars had hung around, showed grit, but the more talented team stepped on the gas when they needed to as the Friars faded.  Council slammed on the breaks and put this one in reverse.

His impact on the game is apparent in his stat line (8 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals), but it was how Council went about his work and when which told the story.

Down 58-55 with 9 minutes to go, Council found Dixon for a dunk to stem the tide.  On the next possession the 6’2 guard ripped down an offensive rebound and laid it in to give PC the lead again.

In a three minute span that began with the Friars leading by 5 with 6 minutes to go, Council twice found Dixon for layups, hit Peterson for another and finished one of his own.  By the time the spurt was over Providence led 73-59 with 2:40 left, Connecticut had no answer for the freshman lead guard, and Providence fans finally had a guy who confidently took the ball in his hands and the game with him.

It may not have been coincidental that Providence chose to feature a message on the video screen from Ryan Gomes with UConn in the house, but it was ironic that he was featured on a night that PC fans left the Dunk knowing what they were starting to believe: Providence has a star freshman for the first time since Gomes emerged out of nowhere in 2002.


  • After Keno publically called his team out and hinted at changes, Duke Mondy played more minutes than either Brian McKenzie or Marshon Brooks.  Mondy responded with big shots to keep Providence within striking distance in the first half, while Brooks and McKenzie shot a combined 4-13.  Mondy was part of the core group (along with Council, Curry, Dixon and Peterson) who broke the game open.  Has Keno found a fave five?
  • Looking for an improvement over last year’s front court duo of Geoff McDermott and Jon Kale?  Look no further than Dixon and Peterson finishing with loud dunks at the rim.  Peterson’s finishes on alley oops brought the house down and served as a stark contrast to last year’s beating in Storrs when Hasheem Thabeet threw away weak layups at will.  It was a more aggressive and authoritative look for the PC bigs, against the top shot blocking team in the country.
  • Providence outscored UConn by 14 in the 2nd half, a half in which they shot 0-7 from 3.
  • had PC down for only 6 fastbreak points.  They seem to be shortchanged a bit there.
  • Who saw PC outscoring Connecticut 44-32 in the paint?  How about 21-12 on second chance points?  A 21-20 edge in bench points?
  • Russ Permenter unexpectedly gave PC decent minutes off of the bench against a physical front court.
  • Brooks’ solid overall game on Saturday night was overshadowed by the late collapse.  His ugly decision making from today will go forgotten because of the win.
  • Connecticut struggles from beyond the arc, which some will point to, but the Providence interior defense was non-existent before tonight and deserves credit for a big bounce back effort.
  • Gerard Coleman and Shabazz Napier put on a show at Lawrence Academy.  Shabazz put up 35 puts in an 88-86 win over Tilton.  Coleman scored 36 in the loss.