DePaul Blue Demons vs. Providence Friars – Saturday, February 27th, 3 p.m. Central – Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Television – CBS Sports Network
Radio – WSCR AM 670
When DePaul (9-18, 3-12) travels to Rhode Island to take on Providence (19-9, 7-8) this Saturday, it will look to go for an unlikely sweep of the Friars.
Prior to beating St. John's, 83-75, on Thursday, DePaul's last victory came against these same Friars. Back then, Providence was flying high as the 11th-ranked team in the country. Ever since DePaul beat Providence in epic fashion more than three weeks ago, the Friars have been in an absolute tailspin.
The Friars have now lost six out of their last eight games after losing at Seton Hall, 70-52, on Thursday night. Earlier in the week, the Friars were bumped out of the top-25 after spending a majority of the season in the polls.
As such, Providence's once steady position as a lock for the NCAA Tournament is now all of as sudden in question. However, with a team perhaps boasting two all-Big East first-team performers in point guard extraordinaire Kris Dunn and breakout forward Ben Bentil, well, Providence should be a handful— especially for a team looking to exact revenge while also trying to get back on track for an at-large bid.
Bentil, who was kicked out of the Seton Hall game for a flagrant 2 foul but is expected to play in Saturday's game, leads the team in scoring (20.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.7 rebounds per game). He has been a revelation this season and is beast down low. Not only is he a menace in the post, but he has shown this year he can take his game out to the perimeter. If you recall, Bentil injured his ankle in the first game between the two teams and was not a factor after sitting out almost the entire second half.
By now you know the story of Dunn, who is one of the country's better point guards. He is a triple double waiting to happen (a feat he actually accomplished in last year's game against DePaul in Providence). Dunn, who was clearly not himself in the Seton Hall game as he scored eight points on 4-12 shooting, averages 17.3 points per game, while leading the team in assists (6.6 per game) and steals (2.9 per game), while chipping in 6.1 rebounds per game.
In the first meeting, Dunn had trouble carrying the Friars without Bentil. He struggled mightily from the field en route to scoring just 14 points on 5-20 shooting from the field.
Rodney Bullock is a capable third option for Ed Cooley, as he contributes 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
But outside of those guys, Providence is vulnerable. The Friars lack of depth is something that has caused them issues in the last month, as they have been exposed as pretty much a two-man team.
DePaul would love nothing more to sweep Providence and perhaps burst their bubble, but given what Providence has on the line, expect them to come out charged to close the season with a strong finish.
But for a team in DePaul with nothing to play for, while playing with house money, going against a team in Providence with so much on the line, it could make for good theater.
The Last Time
On February 2, 2016 at Allstate Arena, the Blue Demons pulled off a 77-70 upset of 11th ranked Providence.
DePaul scrapped for loose balls and outworked Providence on the glass as they outrebounded the Friars by a 48-24 margin.
DePaul held Kris Dunn, who is the leader for player of the year in the Big East, to 14 points on five of 20 shooting.
Ben Bentil, the leading scorer in the Big East, scored only six points after playing just 14 minutes due to a right ankle injury that happened in the first half.
DePaul started the game out on the right foot with an 8-0 run.
They then had a key 9-0 run in the second half that was fueled by a three pointer from Myke Henry, a layup by Rashaun Stimage, a layup by Henry, and another layup from Darrick Wood.
Henry led all scorers with a double-double performance of 27 points on 12 of 18 shooting along with 11 rebounds. Garrett contributed 16 points while going three of seven from beyond the arc.
Stimage came off the bench to add nine points, seven of which came in the second half.
It was the highest ranked win for the Blue Demons since December 2nd, 2006 when they defeated the fifth ranked Kansas Jayhawks, 64-57.
NO NAME YR HT WT Position Hometown/High School
0 Ben Bentil SO 6-9 235 Forward Wilmington,Del./St. Andrew's School '14
3 Kris Dunn JR 6-4 220 Guard New London, Conn./New London High School '12
5 Rodney Bullock SO 6-8 225 Forward Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan High School '13
10 Quadree Smith FR 6-8 285 Forward Temple Hills, Md./IMG Academy '15
12 Casey Woodring JR 6-2 185 Guard Darien, Conn./Cushing Academy '13
14 Tyree Chambers SO 6-2 182 Guard Bayreuth, Germany/Medi Bayreuth '14
21 Jalen Lindsey SO 6-7 210 Guard Murfreesboro, Tenn./Huntington Prep '14
22 Ricky Council II FR 6-5 200 Guard Durham, N.C./Moravian Prep '15
24 Kyron Cartwright SO 6-0 185 Guard Compton, Calif./Compton High School '14
25 Drew Edwards FR 6-3 185 Guard Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall '15
32 Junior Lomomba JR 6-5 205 Guard Montreal, Quebec/Madison Memorial '12
34 Tom Planek SO 6-6 205 Forward Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick High School '14
35 Ryan Fazekas FR 6-8 205 Guard Chesterton, Ind./Marquette Catholic High School '15
44 Isaiah Jackson SO 6-6 212 Guard Gainesville, Fla./Villages Charter School