Friar fans have gotten used to a short stay in New York City when PC plays in the Big East Tournament. Over the past fourteen years, Providence has compiled a 2-14 record in the tournament. From Tim Welsh to Keno Davis to Ed Cooley, the Friars have known little tournament success since the 1997 Sweet Sixteen team.
Tuesday night set a bar for bad performances at Madison Square Garden. The 32 point loss was PC's worst ever in the tournament and wrote yet another sad ending to yet another season. A tougher, hungrier Seton Hall team, playing for its NCAA life, punched the Friars in the mouth, sent them to the canvas, and ran over, around and through their prone opponent.
Neither team scored for the first two and a half minutes, but LaDontae Henton broke the ice and the Friars ran out to a 9-0 lead. At that point, the Hall, led by Jordan Theodore (13 points, 13 assists) and Herb Pope (16 points, 6 rebounds), stormed back with a 34-10 run and Seton Hall was up, 34-19. As has been their wont on the road, the Friars were ice cold from the floor, hitting 8-32 in the half and trailed 36-23 at the half.
The second half was no better. Seton Hall led 50-30 with fifteen minutes left and Providence had no run in them. Fans were treated to fifteen minutes of garbage time, as the Pirates maintained a death grip on the large lead, and Friar after Friar missed shots. Brandon Mobley hurt PC with 16 points and 9 boards and Fuquan Edwin chipped in with 12 and 7.
For PC, it was a bewildering end to the season. Once again, the Friars had a horrid shooting night, hitting 15-56 for .268. The 2011-12 Friars will go into the history books as owning the FOUR worst single game shooting percentages in PC history. Down the line Providence players missed and missed again. Vincent Council was thoroughly outplayed by Theodore and shot 2-13, Bryce Cotton was off and hit 2-10, Gerard Coleman slashed and missed, shooting 1-7. Even Henton, at 5-15, struggled.
PC was 4-21 from three, compared to Seton Hall's 9-19, and was outrebounded 39-29. The Pirates shot 56% from the floor and took advantage of defensive lapses, especially on ball screens. In front of 20,057 fans and a national TV audience on ESPNU, Providence was embarrassed in every way possible.
Now, the offseason looms and an important recruiting effort commences. There are many questions surrounding the next edition of the Friars: who will be back and who will be gone? Will Ricky Ledo qualify and be eligible? What is Kiwi Gardner's status? Will Cooley and company be able to land a couple of impact frontcourt players?
Changes will be made. "I'm going to have meetings with our guys and let them know where they stand within our program," said coach Ed Cooley. "I think everybody has to be ready for the truth. We'll see which guys have truly bought in and if tough decisions have to be made, I'm going to make them."
We'll take an in-depth look at the past season and what lies ahead in the near future.
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