Friars Dispatch CCU

Despite being bedeviled for much of the first half by an unfamiliar 1-3-1 zone, Providence rallied late in the first half and never looked back, rolling to a 92-57 win over Central Connecticut. Marshon Brooks led the way for Providence with 26 points.

The problem with playing so many games over a short stretch is that your team misses out on a lot of valuable practice time. Coaches just don't have the time to properly install things like learning a new defensive set, preparation for in bound plays under the hoop, or say how run your offense against something like a 1-3-1 zone. That lack of sufficient practice time due to scheduling showed itself as Friar fans witnessed a first half with a young Providence team struggling against a well coached Central Connecticut Blue Devil team.

"We beat a very well coached team tonight", said Keno Davis. "With a young team, our players haven't seen a lot things yet that Central Connecticut presented. I knew coming into this game we could be in for a long night if we weren't prepared for a lot of changing defenses and offensive sets. It looked that way at halftime, but I think our guys are learning each and every time we step on the court. With the experience we got from the first half, we were able to tell the players exactly how they needed to attack the defense, find the seams, and then defensively how to take away what they were doing against us. Our players responded really well."

After only being up a point at the half, the Friars went on a monster run in the second half. From the the 17 minute mark on, Providence dominated the game with a crushing 49-14 run. Keno Davis went with a smaller lineup, which took away some of the mismatches Central Connecticut enjoyed in the first half. The Blue Devils were no longer getting open looks in space, and when combined with much better pressure out of the Friar press, Providence forced 13 second half turnovers which they converted into lay ups and transition three point field goals. Marshon Brooks feasted on the mayhem and open space to operate, racking up big scoring numbers. (26 points)

By the 7 minute mark, Providence was playing with all subs and even gave some extended play to walk-ons, in part due to the score and in part due to the need to rest the top 7 players for the numerous upcoming games over the next two weeks.

Freshman Gerard Coleman continued his quality play that carried over from the Cancun Challenge, as he was 7-11 from the floor and scored 14 points, creating a lot of offense off the dribble. Coleman is starting to get a feel for the college game, and the Big East is taking notice. The league office named him Big East Rookie of Week, the first such honor since Vincent Council won the distinction in January of last season. Coleman appreciated the honor, but appeared more focused on team goals.

"It's a nice accomplishment and I appreciate it and going forward I'm going to just keep trying hard to get these wins," said Coleman. I'm a team player first and foremost, so all the individual accolades will take care of themselves. I just came here to win games."

Friar Notes:

Duke Mondy had his second game where he shot well from the three point line. Mondy was 3-6 from behind the mark against Central Connecticut, a significant improvement from earlier games this season. Mondy also had three assists, two blocks, and steal. The signs are there that Duke may be shaking off the hamstring problems that may have hampered his production in earlier games.

Vincent Council has now gone two games without missing a free throw. Council was 16 for 16 from the line versus Wyoming, and was perfect again against Central Connecticut, going 5-5. He's now shooting free throws at an 85% clip. That is a significant improvement for Council who shot 70% from the stripe in his freshman season at Providence.

The Friars got burned for at least two easy lay ups on in bound plays under the basket versus Central Connecticut. That has been a bit of a recurring problem this season. Providence may want to consider going to a zone defense in these situations to avoid the problems they've experienced identifying picks and set plays.

Kadeem Batts left the game with a miner ankle problem, but it did not appear serious.

The Friars next opponent is Northeastern from the Colonial Conference on Wednesday night at the Dunk. Northeastern upset Providence two years ago in Keno Davis' first game as the Providence Head Coach.

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