Friars Slip Past Bulldogs

Flat as a pancake. That's how Providence College looked against Yale in what many anticipated would be a breather after a number of tough games. Sleepwalking. That's what several Friars appeared to be doing during the game. Nothing came easy in PC's 76-63 win, but fortunately, two freshmen came to play.

PC had trouble shaking the Bulldogs in the first half, and part of the reason for that was the Friars' flat inside play. Randall Hanke, who torched Northeastern for 34 points, had a number of balls go right through his hands, and Yale's bulky senior, Dominick Martin, pushed Hanke around the paint. In fact, Martin succeeded in getting both Hanke and Herbert Hill in foul trouble, as Yale dominated the backboards.

The Bulldogs didn't shoot it particularly well, but stayed close on second shot opportunities. But even the opportunistic Yalies were no match for PC's terrific freshmen duo, Sharaud Curry and Geoff McDermott.

Curry repeatedly burned Yale on drives to the hoop, punctuated with short, floating, pull up shots or reverse layups. Quiet in the first half, Curry poured in twenty second half points on the way to a career high 25 points, and each bucket seemed designed to break Yale's spirit. McDermott bulled his way inside for 18 points and blocked out beautifully on the glass, grabbing 9 boards.

Whether it was the pre-Christmas, post-exams blues, or just a letdown after four tough games, PC will need to regain it's focus quickly, as a tough San Diego State team rolls into the Dunk on Tuesday.

EXCERPTS FROM TIM WELSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE:

"Tonight's game was a grind it out win. It was like an old fashioned ugly Big East game. You just had to find a way to get stops. And they were really hurting us the boards. In the first half, they had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds, so they were outrebounding us on our own backboard, and that's scary."

"We have a tendency to not get going until the second half. That's got to change. You can't let a team keep hanging around like we do."

"In the second half, the two freshmen really carried us. We were having trouble stopping them. We started in a zone, then went man-to-man, then we went back to the zone."

"Randall got into foul trouble… Chuck sprained his ankle and he was at about sixty per cent. We wouldn't have put him back in, but DeSean got sick during the game and had to go to the lockerroom. He's flat on his back in the lockerroom right now."

"We found a way to win, and really ground out a win at home, which is good. Sharaud is feisty, that's not luck out there, that's what he did in high school. He never looks at the bench and isn't afraid of making a mistake. He just plays. He watches a lot of tape and is a very good student of the game. How many freshman point guards do you see getting 20 points in one half in two games, nine games into their college careers? He did it against Florida, too."

"Geoff almost had another double-double. I'd go into a dark alley with those two guys. They are just tough. That's the difference between this year and last year. We had a lot of very close games last year that we'd spit away because no one made the big play or chased down the loose ball. This year, Geoff gets the tough rebound and Sharaud chases down the loose balls on the perimeter. Some people would tell me, you were just unlucky, the ball just didn't bounce your way. I don't believe in that. I believe you have to make your own luck and go get the tough rebound and go get the loose balls. Their toughness permeates the team."

"At the same point, Sharaud is better offensively than John (Linehan). Nobody matches what John did on defense, even though Sharaud can be a pesky defensive player. Sharaud is a true point guard, he gets in the lane and makes plays."

"I saw some sleepwalking out there, our cuts were slow and we weren't rebounding the ball. So we got out of the zone and got out after them to try and give us some spark, but the defense that won the game for us was our zone. I really think that will be our staple and we can be a good zone team."

"Randall's timing was off, the ball was slipping through his hands, he was getting pushed away from the blocks. They were forcing both Randall and Herb to post up farther away than we'd like."

"At one point in the critical part of the game, we had four freshmen on the floor. For long stretches we had three. I can't remember doing that before. For young players to get wins is good and it should help us in January."

"San Diego State is picked to win their league. They've got a real good big guy, an excellent coach and a couple of pro prospects. Games after Christmas can be tough, you've got to really get refocused quickly."

Scout Friars Top Stories