Friars Cruise Past Brown

Coming off of their spirited romp over Rhode Island on Saturday, Providence experienced a flat first half against Brown leading only by five at the half. However, once the Friars hit their stride, they throttled Brown in the second half with a torrent of fast break offense and record tying assists from Vincent Council.

The Brown game was a bit of a trap game. The Friars were coming off of a significant win, on one day's rest, against an unassuming opponent, with a big game looming on Wednesday at Boston College. Oh, and there happened to be the small matter of some football game being played the same night up the road in Foxboro that might draw the attention of the fan base. It was one of those situations that a coach can sometimes have trouble properly focusing his team for the task at hand.

The Brown Bears knew that these circumstances Monday might give them a glimmer of hope, and came out gunning three pointers and flashing the same 1-3-1 zone than Providence struggled to execute against like they did against Central Connecticut. Their shots were falling, and their zone forced Providence into sloppy turnovers. The Brown attack was led by Garrett Leffelman with 22 points.

Gerard Coleman particularly struggled to find his rhythm, and began forcing some plays that led to fouls and turnovers. It was just a tough night and a learning experience for the freshman starter who only played 16 minutes and did not score. After trading baskets early, Brown went on a 15-0 run than forced Keno Davis to bench most of his starters to jumpstart his team.

Bryce Cotton took advantage of some extended playing time, and really helped to spark the Friar defense and transition game. Cotton had three steals, four rebounds, six points, and an assist in 21 minutes of action, and was the kind of change of pace player off the bench that righted the ship late in the first half after the team trailed by as much as eight points.

Once Vincent Council and Marshon Brooks got the Friars rolling again, they took a five point lead into half time and proceeded to obliterate a Brown team that winded quickly in the second half.

Brooks was on fire with his shooting and overall play, racking up 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 four steals without committing a single turnover. Vincent Council, who is trusting his teammates more and more with each passing game, dished out an eye popping 16 assists which matched a Providence record set by Carlton Screen and Vinny Ernst. When Council is dealing on the break, there are few better in the nation right now. Despite all those assists, he still scored 19 points.

It all led to a romp in the end, as Providence toyed with an exhausted Brown team in the second half, outscoring them to the tune of 52-30. Was it a cupcake dessert after the Rhode Island victory? There is little doubt about that, but other Providence teams have stumbled in these quick turnaround games, sandwiched between two regional rivals of note.

Keno Davis has his players buying in right now, and with a record of 9-1, it's easy to see why. Providence has been consistently playing well after half time adjustments, and their defense and pace is wearing down opponents. The opponents haven't been murderer's row, but it is obvious this team is doing much more than just scraping by.

This young group of Friars led by senior Marshon Brooks and dynamic sophomore point guard Vincent Council is in fact improving at a rapid pace. Davis doesn't want to spoil the momentum he has going right now, and if the Friars can capitalize on their momentum with another win or two this week, they will have given themselves a solid non-conference record, and an excellent opportunity to try and transform what has been billed as just a rebuilding season into something possibly much more special.

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