Friar Basketball

Rapid Reaction: Friars Cruise Past Assumption 88-45


1. What a difference a year makes.  In Ed Cooley’s first season the Friars opened their exhibition schedule against Assumption in a grind.  The Friars made a mere two field goal in the game’s opening 11 minutes, they trailed by as many as six mid-way through the first half and led only 41-40 well into the second before pulling away late.

Not this time.

A 21-2 spurt to open the game served notice that the 2012 exhibition opener versus Assumption was bound to be different.  Providence shot a scorching 70% in the first half (4-5 from three point range) in rolling up 51 points by halftime.

Bryce Cotton was in rhythm all afternoon, making four of his five three point field goals and seven of ten total shots from the field, on his way to a team-high 23 points.

The tone was set by Vincent Council, who was simply too much to handle  in an efficient (5-8) 11 point, 12 assist, five rebound night.

Kadeem Batts shot very well facing up (8-14 from the field) in an 18 point, 11 rebound effort, while LaDontae Henton picked his spots on his way to a 14 point, 11 rebound, five steal double double.

Free throws were a bit of an issue (13-22), but Ed Cooley has his program far ahead of where it was one season ago and it showed in their dominance over a team they should be able to handle like this.

Last season they scored 64 points against Assumption.  They had over 50 by halftime today.


2. The Turning Point. The Friars wasted little time in establishing the tone for this one.  Council connected on a 16 foot jumper 27 seconds in, Batts followed with a 17 footer of his own, freshman Josh Fortune (who battled foul trouble all afternoon) connected on a three pointer, and Batts once again made a jump shot to make it 9-0 with 17:17 to play.

Providence scored 11 of the game’s next 13 points over the next two and a half minutes behind a Batts layup, two Cotton three pointers in a 25 second span, and layups by Henton and Brice Kofane (4-4 from the field).

It was 21-2 with 14:13 left in the half and the game was over at that point.


3. What it Means.  Providence did what they should have on Saturday afternoon, but following last weekend’s Mal Brown scrimmage it was the second weekend in a row in which fans saw signs that the program is on the upswing.  Yes, life will be far different come Big East play, but the talent upgrade up and down the roster was apparent last week when Ricky Ledo, Tyler Harris, Sidiki Johnson and Carson Desrosiers were on the floor, and on Saturday they dismantled a team that gave them all they could handle a year ago.

It looks as though Providence has more shooters this season.  Cotton and Henton both shot in the high-30s from three point range last season, Batts’ face-up game could be an effective tool if he can find consistency, and Fortune is showing signs of being a fine young shooter for this group.

Next week Providence welcomes back former Friar assistant Bob Walsh and his Rhode Island College squad.  Walsh was an underrated assistant during his tenure at Providence who has been a real advocate of Cooley and the job he’s doing at PC.  Walsh is a terrific coach, sporting a 158-50 record in eight seasons at RIC, while winning four conference tournaments.

Providence is just two weeks away from the season opener against New Jersey Tech.


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