While Bryce Cotton’s 23 points and nine rebounds in Sunday afternoon’s 67-55 win over Seton Hall got the headlines, and the Friars showed renewed defensive energy, the most significant thing to come out of the victory may have been the return to form of Vincent Council.
Ed Cooley admitted after last week’s loss to Syracuse that Council had to be rushed into bigger minutes than the coach would have liked upon being medically cleared in late-December. While Council showed flashes against Syracuse of the player who led the Big East in assists the past two seasons, it wasn’t until Sunday that he’d controlled a game at the key moments.
An 11 point (4-12 shooting), eight assist stat line may not jump off the scoresheet, but it was when he made plays that was critical in defeating the Hall.
An 18 point second half lead had been cut to just eight with 10:20 remaining and it looked like danger time for a team that hadn’t won since kicking off the second semester against Colgate.
That’s when Council settled them down.
Working his way within 15 feet he rolled home a short jumper to push the to 52-42 with 9:45 left.
After Seton Hall once again got to within eight on the next possession, Council drew three defenders and kicked the ball out to Cotton who connected from deep to make it 55-44.
The Friars next basket came as Council hit Cotton (who was curling off of a screen at the top of the key) for another three pointer in which he was fouled.
After a Kris Dunn made a pair of free throws off of an intentional foul with 5:08 remaining, Council put the nail in the coffin of the Pirates, weaving his way up and under the basket for a layup that put the game out of reach at 62-46 with 4:46 to play – capping a 12-4 Providence run in which Council had a hand in all four field goals, scoring two and assisting on both Cotton 3s.
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