Game Recap: The Friars Take the Ocean State Rivalry over URI 74-72 on a Buzzer Beater from Ben Bentil

#23 Providence Friars 74 (8-1)

Rhode Island Rams 72 (5-3) 

The Friars were able to ride their two big guns, Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, to a last second win over Rhode Island to take home the rivalry game in the Ocean State Rivalry.  Ben Bentil has emerged as a legitimate stud in the Big East in his sophomore season and was able to follow-up a Kris Dunn’s coast-to-coast last second shot with a buzzer-beating tip-in to seal the victory for the Friars in their first true road game of the season. 

The win was hard fought in a back-and-forth match-up between the two teams.  URI without their best player EC Matthews isn’t the same team from an offensive perspective but any time you have a rivalry game (ignore what Ed Cooley said), you can pretty much throw everything you know about these two teams out the window.  Teams ‘get up’ for a rivalry game and rise to the occasion.  In a sold out Ryan Center, the crowd was electric and we got ourselves another classic from the to Ocean State teams.

Game Notes:

  • Ben Bentil scored 20+ points for the fifth straight game, on an efficient 9/12 and grabbed 8 rebounds. He is now averaging 18.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg and has officially taken the next step as a college basketball player.

 

  • This was the best game of the URI/PC rivalry since I was in school and the Ryan Gomes led Friars beat the Rams in overtime at the Dunk.
  • The Friars still hold the rivalry edge against URI in a rivalry that has been going on since 1920. Providence has also won the past 5 games between the two teams. 
  • Even though Ben Bentil was the player of the game (if you had to choose one), Kris Dunn still stuffed the stat line per usual: 15 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds.  He did turn the ball over quite a bit too however, tallying 6 on the game…and almost number 7 in a crucial moment late in the game.
  • There are fluky plays like that every game, but the timing couldn’t have been better on that one. It was an ill-advised pass from Kris considering the Friars had two timeouts to use and he chose the wrong place to stop on the court.  Alls well that ends well.
  • It was nice to see Rodney Bullock have a bounce back game.  The athletic swingman finished with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting.
  • The Rams little Sophomore guard Jarvis Garrett is a pesky little fucker isn’t he?  He was weaving in and out of the defense and coming up with some pretty ridiculous shots.  Every time a defender tried to hand him off to someone else, they were a step late or got lost in a defensive communication breakdown.  Either way, he’s a sneaky tough guard.
  • I have to give credit to Hassan Martin on a helluva dunk here.  He’s a tough match up with his size and athleticism, even knocking down a three in the game.  Plus, the bench reaction is top notch.  That’s a genuine bench reaction, and not the scripted kind, which makes me like it a little more.
  • Ryan Fazekas is so much better than Jalen Lindsey right now.  I thought that maybe Lindsey was coming into his own with his good shooting game against Hartford but that looks like it’s not quite the case yet.  He just looks so uncomfortable out there right now.
  • Junior Lomomba had another really solid game.  I can never say enough about this guy’s game. He does EVERYTHING, and does them all well.  You need guys like that who you can just count on to make the smart play during the course of a game.
  • The Friars pretty much relied on their starters for the entirety of the game, rarely going to the bench.  Their starting 5 all played over 30 minutes: Bullock (34), Bentil (31), Fazakas (35), Dunn (36), & Lomomba (37).
  • PC continued their great shooting from the free throw line, knocking down 12 of 13. The Rams shot 9 of 13.  You win or lose games on the line.
  • Providence was also an impressive 54.5% from the field.
  • HEY LOOK!  Kris Dunn wasn’t in foul trouble!  Let’s keep doing that!
  • With Dan Hurley and Ed Cooley in charge of these two teams, this rivalry is going to be fucking awesome to watch over the next couple of years.  Especially now that they’ve made it a true home and home series with the new Ryan Center down at URI.
  • After finishing 2-0 this past week, the Friars jumped up the rankings to #18 in the Coaches Poll and all the way up to #15 in the AP poll.  
  • The Big East currently has 4 teams in the top 25 (Villanova, Butler, Xavier, and PC) with Georgetown receiving votes.  Georgetown is going to sneak in there soon as their early season record was more a reflection of a tough schedule more than them not being any good.  They’re really good and their record is beginning to show that.

Next Up, The Friars take on Boston College at the Dunk at 7 PM on Wednesday.  That is, if they Eagles team stop visiting Chipolte.

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