#15 Providence College Friars 74 (10-1)
Bryant Bulldogs 67 (2-9)
With All-American Kris Dunn out with a stomach bug, Ryan Fazekas out with mono, and a limited Ben Bentil recovering from a sprained ankle, someone on the Providence Friars needed to step up. It came from an unexpected place in PC Freshman Drew Edwards.
Edwards came into the game averaging 1.1 points per game and ended up leading all scorers with a career-high 17 points. Games like this, where a team is depleted by injuries or illness, can really serve as an opportunity for guys who may not get that much playing time on a regular basis to step up.
With all his scoring coming in the second half of the game, Edwards most likely just earned himself some more playing time going forward this season. The more playing time he got, the more comfortable he looked, and the more confidence he exuded as the shots kept falling.
- Ben Bentil, who was suited up for the first half but didn’t come into the game until 5:15 left in the first, changed the entire complexion of the game. The crowd got into it, the other players looked like the pressure was lifted off their shoulders, and the entire team was just more energized just by his mere presence. To look at the difference he makes for this team, just check out this graphic.
- I’m guessing if the Friars jumped out to an early lead, Cooley would have liked Ben to stay on the bench for the whole game, but, after falling behind lowly Bryant early, Cooley’s hand was forced to insert the sophomore from Ghana. Bentil was flying all over the court and his ankle didn’t look to be bothering him in the slightest.
- Rodney Bullock looked like the workload was getting to him late in the first half with having to be the size down low for PC before Bentil came into the game, but he thrived on the boards where the Friars really needed him. He finished with a game-high 14 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. And his blocks were BLOCKS.
- Jalen Lindsey ended up playing 38 minutes and his game stats look pretty good if you’re just going by stats alone (15 pts, 7 rebs) but he still frustrates the hell out of me during the game. He’s a second or two late on his help defense on rotations and then barks at the other players when he ends up fouling. He looks like he loses all confidence in his three point shot if he misses his first attempt. He shot 2-9 for the game and is now shooting just 29.3% from three on the season, which is somehow worse than his 33.0% from last year.
- Junior Lomomba was solid once again but was taking some uncharacteristic three point shots during the game. Without Dunn and Bentil at the beginning of the game, the Friars’ offense looked like a jumbled mess and guys basically ended up shooting contested shots with all the stagnation. Once Bentil came in, Lomomba looked more steadied and played like his usual self, including a great alley-oop to Big Ben.
- Apparently both Bullock and Kyron Cartwright were struggling during the game with stomach issues as well…something is going on at Ray Cafeteria.
- Is it just me, or should Kris Dunn not have been on the bench if he had a stomach bug? Why would you want to take the chance of someone else catching what he has, especially with two other players already not feeling well?
- Now, on to Drew Edwards.
- I have to admit, I did not see this coming. Edwards hit 5 threes and was a huge part of this win. If I’m nit-picking a little bit, it would be on the defensive side of things. He kept letting guys get around the corner on him and was leaving his feet on some shot fakes, but I think that was more a factor of him carrying so much of the offense and getting way more minutes than he’s used to. He was hustling his ass off though and getting deflections and steals too…actually fuck the defense, he was plain AWESOME to watch draining threes for Providence.
- Providence shot poorly in basically all facets of the game. The were held to 43.3% from the floor, 58.3% from the line, and 28.6% from beyond the arc. If you took away Edwards 5-9 from distance, the Friars would have shot a pathetic 3-19 (15.8%) from three.
- On a silver lining kind of take, the sickness and injuries couldn’t be coming at a better time. Games against Rider and Bryant to go along with an extended break for finals is the best case you could have asked for during this stretch.
- By the way, I LOVE the fact that Bentil retweets all my videos of him once he gets some time to relax after the game, I think it makes both of us feel good.
Next Up, the Friars take on the Rider Broncs on Saturday December 19th at the Dunk.