Providence Friars 83 (4-0)
NJIT Highlanders 76 (3-2)
Kris Dunn is good. Kris Dunn is very, very good. Dunn toyed with the possibility of a quadruple-double in the closing minutes of the Friars 83-76 win over the NJIT Highlanders at the Dunk, ultimately finishing with a ridiculous stat line of 22 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and 7 steals. Toss in a block just for fun and the top it off with just 1 lone turnover, and you have the recipe for why he was a preseason first-team All-American.
NJIT was a feisty team that refused to go away even when things looked like they were getting to the point of being out of reach. They look like they might be poised to cause some havoc in the Atlantic Sun Conference this year, and I think that this win will actually look pretty decent at the end of the season. The Highlanders only other loss has come at Kentucky and they currently have wins of South Florida, Boston University, and Lafayette. The Highlanders have some really good guard play to go along with a bunch of good shooters that will make them a tough team to put away on any given night.
- I’m not sure what else I can say about Kris Dunn, but the common consensus is that he came back to Providence for 2 main reasons. One, to earn his degree and set a good example for his family. And two, to work on any perceived weaknesses in his game. He wanted to work on taking better care of the ball after averaging 4.2 turnovers per contest last year. Well, he’s cut that more than in half so far this season and is only averaging 2.0 turnovers per game, for a fantastic Assist to Turnover ratio of 3.4.
- If he doesn’t hurt you with the crazy court vision, he has the ability to take it strong to the hole. Dunn has the speed to blow by you and once you realize he’s going to score, he has the size and strength to finish through or above you.
- If he’s having an off game on the offensive end, he can pick it up on the defensive end. To repeat myself, he has the speed to pick your pocket and the size to make it difficult to finish over him.
- He might not like the nickname “Sticky Bandit,” but I’m going to test it out and see how it goes. He doesn’t really have a nickname already does he? I guess it would work better if there were two great on-ball defenders on the team so that they could be the “Stick Bandits.” But, oh well, it’s a work in progress.
- The Friars finally started to make free throws for this game, finishing 25 for 30 (83.3%). Unfortunately, they swapped doing well from the free throw line with doing well from 3-point range. After shooting over 40% as a team for the first three games, they struggled from distance in this one, shooting 4 for 20 from behind the arc.
- Ryan Fazekas was in and out of foul trouble for most of the game and was just a hair off from 3-point land. His shots were exactly the ones that the Friars want during the flow of the game, they all just seemed to go in-and-out. I like the fact that he didn’t let it phase him and continued to shoot when open. That’s the sign of a great shooter. You have to have a short memory. The foul trouble might have affected his stroke as it may have made it hard to get in any sort of game rhythm. I’m confident that he’ll bounce back next game.
- The Highlanders is a fucking awesome mascot name. Kudos there.
- Rodney Bullock posted his second straight double-double, finishing with 18 points and 12 boards. Both Bullock and Ben Bentil (19 points/5 rebounds) continued to provide the other two heads to the three-headed scoring monster for the Friars. The best part is that neither Dunn, Bullock, or Bentil are just pure scorers. They all fill up the stat sheet and help the team in a number of ways.
- This is just a courtesy reminder, DO NOT MESS WITH BEN BENTIL.
- Kyron Cartwright struggled for the first time this season after looking pretty impressive in the first couple of contests. He looked a little scattered during the game and finished with 0 points and 3 turnovers (to 2 assists) while also dealing with foul trouble. I think that may have played a factor with a couple of guys not being able to get comfortable during the game.
- Someone pointed this out last night and I completely agree with it, Junior Lomomba has taken a big step forward this year. It might not always show up on the stat sheet every night but he has gotten better in almost every aspect of his game this year. He’s one of those glue guys that you can count on to do just about everything.
- The Friars forced the Highlanders into 22 turnovers. For those scoring at home, that’s a lot.
Next Up, The Friars take on Evansville on Thanksgiving at 9 PM in Fullerton, California. We’ll see if my food coma allows for me to stay up for that. Evansville marks the second team in a row that has an awesome mascot name…The Purple Aces.