Night and Day: Brown and Marist

The past two games gave the Friars two wins - a second-half scare leading into a victory over Brown, and an easy victory over Marist. The two games demonstrated a lot more of what this Friar squad will look like this season - from the quality of the depth chart to the capabilities of what this team can and can't do with their current roster.

1) Free throws are going essential to this team. The Boston College game proved how important free throws will be with the new foul rules, but the conversion rate has been impressive. The Friars are shooting 85% from the free throw line for the season, including two impressive performances with 84% against Brown and 89% against Marist. How important is this improvement? The last few seasons the Friars averaged 70% in 2013 and 2012, 66.9% in 2011 and 67.1% in 2010. One of the areas most desperate for improvement in the Friars' game was converting free throws, and with the team in the top ten nationally for free throw percentage it speaks volumes to the effort and work that the coaching staff and the players have made to improve their performance from the charity stripe.

2) Free throw shooting isn't perfect across the board however. While the starting five shoots from the line incredibly well, the depth (specifically Brice Kofane, Lee Goldsbrough and Ted Bancroft) have struggled to get to the stripe or convert when they're there. In particular Brice Kofane stands out, struggling to contribute on the floor but then, during the Marist game, only going 1-4 from the charity stripe. One of the key selling points of the team's potential success this season was built on the depth, and if that's to hold true, the rest of the team will need to be able to carry the weight when some of the starters need a rest. The Marist game was a good opportunity to see what the bench players were made of, and unfortunately they didn't perform well when they had a smaller, more manageable opponent to prove themselves. How much they contribute this year will be on them, but if this team is to be successful when foul trouble begins to plague the starter, the backups will need to make the most of their minutes.

3) Brice Kofane, on second thought, may not be able to contribute much at all this year. After a DNP against Brown Brice got in for nine minutes against Marist and had an underwhelming performance for an upperclassmen. Brice only took one attempt to shoot the ball (a dunk which floated up from his hands before clanging off the rim on the way down), grabbed four boards, and turned the ball over twice (including getting the ball ripped right out his hands by a Marist player). Kofane has struggled with his time at PC and his play has never wowed anyone, but as a senior, this season was held to a higher standard early on and Kofane hasn't risen to the challenge yet. It's disappointing that Kofane isn't just underperforming, but that he seems to have regressed and looks completely lost on the floor.

4) It's hard to say that Kofane has been the only let down, as the second half of the Brown game was something of a disaster. Up 14 at the half the Friars finished the last 20 minutes against their cross-town rival completely flat. In addition to only shooting 25% for the second half of the game, the Friars looked completely apathetic on the court. They made bad pass decisions and air-balled shots. There were turnovers and Brown was taking advantage of everything the Friars gave them. It was a disaster, and a game that the Friars were lucky to escape (and not on their own luck, but the unlucky miss that Sean McGonagill heaved up at the end of the game that would've once again put Brown over the Friars by one). The Brown game was an example of playing hard for one half; the Marist game was an example of pedal to the metal for 40 minutes.

5) One player who is well on his way, however, is Carson Desrosiers. While his performances have been slightly inconsistent - after a respectable game against Boston College he went scoreless against Brown and Marist, and his rebounding went from eight boards against Brown to two against Marist - he still holds a lot of promise and can deliver on his talent as his game adjusts to the Friars game plan. He has shown he can take advantage of his size and play big to help clog up the lane, and can force players to gravitate away from the basket if they want to force up a shot. His stat line hasn't reflected everything he's contributed, but if given enough time that will change, and Desrosiers' minutes will increase.

6) Bryce Cotton had a huge bounce-back game against Marist after struggling versus Brown. Cotton scored 6 points against Brown and none in the second half, although he did post a career high 9 assists. But against Marist, the senior guard delivered with 28 points, including 11-11 from the free throw line and another career high, this time with 11 assists. Cotton was reported to not be feeling well against Brown, but obviously was back to himself against the Red Foxes. Cotton has been a life saver, filling in for the injured Kris Dunn at point guard for the second consecutive season, and this experience in running a team will be invaluable to him after he graduates from Providence.

7) Tyler Harris is an intriguing player. A long, 6-9 forward who can create havoc on defense up top, Harris is being asked to guard multiple positions and while not fleet of foot, has held his own. On offense, Harris scored 21 points against Brown and 13 against Marist, and loves the open floor game. He won't pass much as he streaks down the court with the ball and has some nifty moves to the rim but also won't hesitate to launch a three. At this point, he's more effective going to the basket.

8) Finally, LaDontae Henton appears to be back to his freshman form. In three games, he's grabbing tough rebounds against multiple, taller players and scoring both inside and on uncontested jump shots. A welcome sight to see.

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