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Friar Foursome Downs Holy Cross (November 29, 2011)
On a team strapped for depth, the quartet of Vincent Council, Bryce Cotton, Gerard Coleman, and LaDontae Henton combined to score 78 of the Friars’ 82 points in an exciting victory over Holy Cross on Tuesday night.
The foursome carried the offense throughout the night, but took turns in leading the Friars down the stretch after Holy Cross went on an 18-3 run to tie the game at 69 with 6:20 to play.
First, it was Council, who had led the team throughout, getting into paint with just over five minutes to play, converting a layup to give Providence a 71-69 lead.
Cotton took the next turn, rolling home a leaner with 3:34 to play to snap a 71-71 tie.
Following a pair of Holy Cross baskets, it was Coleman who came through next for the Friars. The sophomore guard, who drove to the cup with increased conviction on this night, finished on an up and under layup with 1:52 to play with the shot clock running down to tie the game.
After the Crusaders broke down PC’s defense again with 1:30 to play, giving them a two point lead, it was Henton, scoring off of an offensive rebound with just under a minute to play to tie the game yet again.
Four big baskets, four teammates who had the confidence to take, and make, the big shot in the closing minutes.
A Coleman steal nine seconds later gave Providence the ball with 49 seconds to play and four options on the court who had been making plays on the offensive end all night.
Coleman drew the defense, kicked it to Henton, who got into the lane, threw an up fake, drew contact, finished, and calmly connected on a free throw after a timeout to give Providence an 82-79 lead that they would not relinquish.
Providence executed in the closing minutes, scoring on all three of their offensive possessions from the 1:52 to :26 second marks, with Cotton knocking down a pair of free throws to ice it late.
All four players saw huge minutes (only Coleman didn’t go 40, and he went 39), yet they had legs and focus down the stretch, resulting in solid execution and a narrow victory.
- Council was at his play-making best in this one, pushing the pace and making plays in the halfcourt, on his way to 11 assists, seven rebounds, and 19 points. He was absolutely outstanding offensively in this one throughout.
- Coleman continues to emerge as an all-around player under Ed Cooley. After an 18 point, eight rebound, six assist, three steal effort, the sophomore has now grabbed at least seven rebounds in four games this season. Five of those rebounds were on the offensive end, as Coleman was far more assertive in his decision making and taking it to the rim on Tuesday night. Often over the past year Coleman has been caught between taking the ball all the way to the rim and trying to convert floaters, but on this night he took the ball all the way to the rim with conviction and the result was an 8-13 shooting performance from the field. His confidence continues to grow.
- Not to be overlooked was the effort of Brice Kofane, who worked hard on the glass. While his hands aren’t great, he played with terrific energy on his way to 12 rebounds and was a presence at times on the defensive end.
- The defensive effort wasn’t good enough overall, however. Holy Cross scored at ease for much of the first half, and scored at will over the final 10 minutes, picking apart PC’s defense and beating them up the court at times for layups. Cooley was clearly displeased with the defensive effort early.
- Henton is emerging for Providence. He followed up a 16 and nine performance versus Northern Iowa with 17 points and nine rebounds versus the Crusaders. He’s grabbed at least nine rebounds in four of the seven games this season.
- After scoring only six points in South Padre, Cotton returned to form, netting 24 points on 7-12 shooting from the field and 7-7 from the free throw line. He played 40 minutes without a turnover.
- Providence got the break going again, scoring 18 fast-break points. They also dominated second chance points, 16-2.
- The two teams combined for five bench points.
- The Friars finally controlled the boards, 43-30.