Friars Falter at URI

Providence College once again found the Ryan Center to be a difficult place to win, and suffered an abysmal shooting night en route to a 77-60 loss to Rhode Island. The Friars will need to regroup quickly, as they play again Thursday night against South Carolina in the BIG EAST/SEC Invitational.

The conventional thinking going into the game at URI was that the Friars needed to rebound and play good defense in order give themselves a good chance for a victory. Most felt the Friars would be able to score points. Rhode Island generally played up to expectations throughout, with balanced scoring, good ball movement, and spirited defense. However, the thought that this Friar team might shoot a miserable 30% against the Ram defense was not anticipated; even by Jim Baron Jr. who remarked post game that he felt, "their offense was a little off tonight".

The poor offensive display Tuesday was not so much a replication of the bad stretch that Providence had in 2nd half of the BC game, but a fundamental inability to put the ball in the hoop when they had opportunities to score. When Providence had a bad stretch vs. BC, Friars became tight and were also out rebounded for easy hoops. Against URI, PC beat the Rams on the glass 42-38 and had 69 field goal attempts as well as 19 offensive rebounds, but simply could cash them in for points.

"It's hard to come in on the road against a good basketball team and shoot 30% with 10 assists and 19 turnovers and expect to make anything happen. Give Rhode Island immense credit for the defense tonight, but we've got to take better shots because we didn't take a lot of good shots out there. I thought we took a lot of quick shots out there too."
Tim Welsh

The Friars rushed a lot shots after URI made baskets looking for a quick answer, and were also not squared to the basket on many of their three point attempts (6-26). Moreover, Providence frequently had trouble moving the ball for open shots, which was evident in the team's lack of assists (10).

Providence appears to be missing injured point guard Sharaud Curry a little more lately. Geoff McDermott, who had his worst game since playing injured last year, finished with 4 points, 4 turnovers, and no assists. URI's Kaheim Seawright proved to be a tough match up for him, and seemed to contribute to his ineffectiveness. The Friar trio of Weyinme Efujuku, Jeff Xavier, and Dwain Williams were not much better, shooting a collective 8 for 33 from the field.

While the Friar inside game was limited in the half court, PC did get a solid offensive game from Jon Kale (11pts, 9rbs). In addition, the Friars managed to increase their number of interior shot attempts through solid offensive rebounding (19). The problem was that the Friars missed countless close range shots and layups, with a host of Friars sharing the blame in that regard.

Rhode Island's tough home court crowd may have played a factor in unhinging the Friars concentration on offense, or maybe there was some collective hangover from the BC win in overtime Saturday night. Regardless, Tim Welsh was very disappointed that his upperclassmen did not perform better on the road given all their experience.

"We've got to get more from our veterans. These guys aren't young kids anymore, they're juniors and they have to play better, especially on the road… We came in here tonight and were basically non existent on offense… I'm disappointed we didn't play better as an experienced group. Some of that was us, but a lot of that was them too. They're good. Real good, and Jimmy's got a real nice ball club."

While the defense and rebounding was generally adequate against URI, the poise on the offensive end was clearly missing in yet another road loss at Rhode Island.

However, the Friars have little time to dwell on this loss, and travel to Philadelphia immediately for their match up against South Carolina in the BIG EAST/SEC Invitational on December 6th. The Friars will have to show more patience and concentration on the offensive end, limit their turnovers, and show some of the poise that is expected from a veteran group of players.

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