Benefitting from a quick early start, the Friars never looked back in rolling over Notre Dame, 71-54, before a capacity crowd at the Dunking Donuts Center. It was PC’s fourth win is a row as they head into a Wednesday matchup with Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. This is the first four game Big East winning streak for Providence since 2004.
Quick Early Start
One of the most frustrating things for Friar fans this season is that Providence always seems to get off to slow starts, continually fighting back from early deficits. Not this time. PC scored on their first five possessions, led wire to wire and never really went through a prolonged cold period during the game.
Batts Comes Up Big Again
The key matchup going into the game was how would Kadeem Batts fare against Notre Dame’s star center Jack Cooley. Chalk this one in the win column for Batts who finished with 20 points on 10-16 shooting while limiting Cooley to 12 points. After the game Ed Cooley said “ Kadeem has been the best player in the Big East Conference over the past month.” With his performance yesterday Batts just may have won his second straight Big East Player of the Week award.
Stopping the Three
Going into yesterday Notre Dame was one of the best three point shooting teams in the conference. During the game PC really concentrated on limiting their looks from the outside and not giving up too many easy three point shots. Cooley said that “Notre Dame can shoot the ball well and our number one thing was to limit their three point opportunities.” Mission accomplished. Notre Dame finished 1-14 from three. Kris Dunn, playing another great game defensively, was particularly effective on Eric Atkins limiting him to seven point for the game and 1-3 shooting from the three point line.
Making the Three
On the other hand, the Friars were very effective from beyond the arc finishing 8-20 from the three point stripe. Bryce Cotton went 3-6, and in a key point early in the second half hit two straight deep ones allowing the Friars to stretch out the lead to 19.
Key Swing at End of the First Half
Another key point of the game was the final 10 seconds of the first half when Notre Dame freshman Cameron Biedshed rimmed out a three pointer. PC then raced down the court and Lee Goldsbrough nailed a three pointer from the top of the top of the key to beat the buzzer. What could have been a slim two point lead wound up being eight and that last second shot was a real momentum and confidence builder heading into halftime.
PC started the second half on a 7-2 run and suddenly led by a comfortable 13.
Providence played another great game defensively limiting Notre Dame to 39% shooting (7% from the three). Dunn, in particular, had another solid defensive game, constantly being a thorn in the side of the Notre Dame guards. After the game Cooley said, “Defensively we have come a long way, and I mean a long way, and that is what is winning basketball games for us. We held another team under 40%.”
Contributions from Everyone
This game was truly a team effort as everyone contributed to the victory for the second game in a row. Vincent Council played another terrific floor game and almost finished with a triple double as he had 11 assists, 11 rebounds, and 7 points.
After a slow start in the first half, LaDontae Henton really came alive in the second, finishing with 13 points – all in the second half. He once again was a beast on the boards with eight hard-fought for rebounds against a huge frontcourt.
Josh Fortune came off the bench on two separate occasions and hit three point shots forcing the Irish to stretch out the defense, and Goldsbrough once again came in and did all the little things whether it be taking charges, causing deflections, or getting key rebounds. I am going to start calling him “Mr. Intangible.”
Notes and more
- The crowd at the game today was electric. The students were great (I love the cotton balls!) and the crowd in general was in fine form. The Cooley World Order, the guy in the black spandex suit, Warrior Friar and the Friar mascot were all in fine form. They brought back fond memories of Friar Roy, the Phantom Friar, and the Blues Brothers among others. Crowds like yesterday are really what college basketball is all about and is something to build upon going forward.
- There was a very tall visitor in the crowd as Paschal Chuckwu, a 2014 7’1 Center from Fairfield Prep took in not only the game but was there for the pre-game and post-game festivities as well. What a game to have a recruit at! Friarbasketball.com had previously done a feature on this key 2014 recruit and we’ve been featuring him for almost a year now. http://friarbasketball.com/2012/11/a-closer-look-paschal-chukwu/
- Vincent Council became PC’s all-time assist leader, passing legendary point guard Ernie Digregorio. Next up for Council is the Big East assist record – which he’s fast approaching. It’s quite a way for Council to end his career as a Friar.
- At halftime Friar legend Dickey Simpkins was honored for being selected to the Providence College Athletic Hall of Fame along with Cindy Curley `85 (women’s hockey), Mike Boback `92 (men’s hockey), Keith Kelly `01 (men’s cross country/track), Roger Haggerty `86 (baseball), Karen Krawchuk `91 (field hockey), John Farren `86 (men’s soccer), Maria McCambridge `98 (women’s cross country/track) and Bob Foley (women’s basketball coach), and the 1995 women’s cross country team. Dickey has always been a great ambassador for Providence College and is currently working as a scout for the Charlotte Bobcats.
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