PC Beats Fairfield On The Road

After Ed Cooley's victory over Fairleigh Dickinson in his new home, he returned to his former home, Fairfield University. The Stags were picked to finish second in the MAAC and were 7.5 point favorites. PC came in not having won a road game since DePaul two seasons ago. However, when the final buzzer sounded it was Providence that stood on top, winning the hard fought battle, 80-72.

PC took an early 19-6 lead with 12:57 left in the first and it appeared that either the Friars were underestimated or Fairfield was overestimated. The Stags roared from behind and caught up in the blink of an eye, injecting life into the crowd and uncertainty into the Friars. At the half the Stags led 30-29.

Coming out for the second half, the two teams traded punches until the Friars went on a 10-2 run to pull them ahead, 47-39. The Stags responded with a run of their own and tied it 49-49, but that would be the last time they came close to eclipsing PC. Thanks to a few brilliant runs sparked by the backcourt, the Friars were able to pull away on an 11-0 run that brought them into their largest lead, 70-56 with 4:19 left in the game. From there the Friars pulled away, sealing the victory.

The victory was, in large part, thanks to the backcourt duo of Vincent Council and Bryce Cotton, who dropped 26 and 24 points, respectively, totaling 50 points of the team's 80. Even more, both played significant minutes – Cotton logged a full 40 minutes of gameplay, while Vincent Council came in at 39. An early ankle injury that put Council on the floor in agony pulled him out of the game and it seemed that the Friars would be down their most significant player, their floor general. But in a Paul Pierce-like return, Council was back on the floor a minute later as if nothing had happened. Gerard Coleman added 17 points in 33 minutes of play off the bench.

Most impressive was that the dynamic trio seemed to prove doubters wrong about their free throw shooting, going 15-19 total and contributing to a team percentage of 85% for the game. One of the biggest complaints was that the charity stripe looked more like a foul line when Providence was there, but the discipline at the line was greatly improved.

The frontcourt still leaves much to be desired without Kadeem Batts, who is rumored to make his possible return at either the BC or URI game. Brice Kofane still has offensive hiccups and Bilal Dixon is struggling to contribute with limited minutes, logging just 3 rebounds in 12 minutes of play and only one shot attempt that was missed. Ron Giplaye offered more in a third of the minutes that Dixon had, recording a dunk at the half to put PC within one of Fairfield and two rebounds in 4 minutes of play. The problem is, Giplaye is too raw and unrefined to be trusted for long periods of time.

The bright spots seem to come from LaDontae Henton and, ironically, Lee Goldsbrough. Henton is proving to be a banger on the boards and a threat on both ends of the floor, knowing where to be and when to be there. He can anticipate rebounds and work incredibly well within the flow of the offense or defense – making stops and finishing at the hoop or dropping longer range shots. He's a versatile player and an excellent pickup by Cooley late in the game.

The one enigma is Lee Goldsbrough, who's stat line was a deflated balloon with pretty much all zero's except for three rebounds, yet he logged 22 minutes. Cooley sees something he likes in the kid, and after the FDU game he said that Lee stuck to the game plan and was a real facilitator. His stat line may not show it but whether it's making stops, drawing charges, or helping the flow of the offense, Lee does contribute. The questions now are, will that continue in Big East play and can he find other ways to contribute when the team needs it.

There's no rest for the weary, and after a hard fought game you can bet the coach isn't letting them sleep in and rest. There's a home game Saturday against Florida A&M to start the South Padre Invitational, and if there's one thing we know about coach Cooley, it's that he's going to want to steamroll over the competition in this tournament and win it all.

Scout Friars Top Stories