FRIARS RACE AWAY FROM STONY BROOK

As the Providence College Friars continue to put their recent three-game losing streak behind them, PC moved to 8-3 on the season with a convincing 79-61 win over America East Conference favorites Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon.

The Seawolves entered the contest 5-4 while playing a challenging non-conference schedule. Indeed, Stony Brook featured tough big man Jameel Warney and sweet-shooting guard Carson Puriefoy. And while both had their moments against PC, the Friars used a balanced, team effort to contain Stony Brook.

The visitors were competitive for a half. Providence led by just 29-28 with three minutes to go, but took advantage of a cold spell to score seven unanswered points before Puriefoy’s layup at the buzzer pulled his team within 36-30 at the half.

A 9-2 opening in the first four minutes of the second half gave Stony Brook a brief 39-38 lead, but a three-pointer by Ben Bentil put PC up for good. Tough defense and timely shots pushed the Friars out to a 53-44 lead and once PC hit double figures on two Kris Dunn free throws with 11:25 to play, Stony Brook never threatened again. The lead peaked at 73-50 before Ed Cooley cleared his bench.

Kyron Cartwright recorded his first Friar double-double, registering 10 points along with 10 assists. Cartwright stuffed the stat sheet with 4-4 shooting, 2-2 from three, four rebounds and three steals. Cartwright continues to exhibit solid ballhandling skills and great court vision which leads to some pretty passes. At this point, it’s time to stop questioning Kyron’s ability to play point guard at a high level.

Jalen Lindsey played his most productive overall game so far. Lindsey contributed two consecutive threes and scored 8 points, along with 3 boards and 2 steals. “Jalen needs to learn to hunt his shot,” said Cooley. “I’ve told Kris and Kyron to help him do that, since they have the ball and are the facilitators.”

• You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who converts a catch into a dunk attempt faster than Paschal Chukwu. Although he missed on a vicious attempt, Chukwu grabbed 6 rebounds and hit 5-8 free throws.

• Tyree Chambers saw his first action of the year, notching 3 minutes. Unfortunately, Chambers did not have much of a chance to show what he could do, as the ball rarely found him. “Get Tyree some shots next time,” Cooley joked with Cartwright. “Or I’ll yell at you.” Asked what Chambers can bring, Cooley responded, “He can shoot. He’s a very good shooter. And he’s a tough defensive player. He’s a tough kid. And he’s an older freshman.”

• The Friars continue to be a mediocre rebounding team. For the season, they are averaging 2 more rebounds per game than their opponents, but they have had problems on the glass against lower-level and smaller opponents. PC was outrebounded by Stony Brook, 46-45, but 21-14 on the offensive glass. Warney had 14 boards, including 8 offensive boards and PC was particularly hurt there in the first half. Dunn and Tyler Harris had a team high 7 rebounds each, while LaDontae Henton continued his season-long struggle with just 5. “To be a great team, we have to be a much better rebounding team and a better defensive team,” said Cooley.

• One player per game seems to kill PC from outside and it was Puriefoy this time, with 25 points and 5-8 from three. Puriefoy’s production was halted midway through the second half when Dunn began sticking to him like glue. On the offensive side, PC nailed 8-16 threes, until Casey Woodring missed three in the last minute.

• PC’s win was due to a balanced effort. No one had eye-popping stats, but all contributed. Six players had 8 or more points and the Friars recorded 18 assists to go along with just 8 turnovers, 7 blocked shots (six by Carson Desrosiers) and 12 steals. • PC played mostly zone defense in the first half but switched to mostly man-to-man in the second half. That keyed their surge as the team looked much more aggressive. “Playing zone can sometimes make us lazy,” said Cooley. “ We stand around in it sometimes. They moved the ball very well in the first half and lulled us to sleep, so I wanted to play man in the second half.”

The Friars will now have a week off from games as they complete first semester exams. The players will get a couple of days off, resume practicing with hour and a half practices and get ready to take on the University of Massachusetts next Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip at the Dunk. PC will be looking for revenge after two straight last second losses to the Minutemen in the past two years.

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