Friars Prevail Over Big Green

After shaking off an uninspiring first half that included too many turnovers and some ill advised 3 point attempts, the Providence Friars showed more balance in the second half on their way to a 100-82 victory over the Big Green of Dartmouth Tuesday evening.

With the bad taste of the Northeastern loss still in their mouths, Providence was back on the court Tuesday to try and grab Keno Davis his first regular season win in Friar Town.

Taking advantage of PC half court offense that lacked good ball movement and a Friar defense with a leaky press, Dartmouth hung around throughout the first half, only down ten points at half time at 46-36. Providence is struggling to adapt to the new offense and pressing defense being installed by Keno Davis, and the early returns aren't exactly a thing of beauty right now.

"While the majority of our offense is in, we aren't at a point where we can execute a majority of our offense right now…As things are right now, playing three games in five days, we don't have enough time to practice like we want. I can't fault the effort on the court, because guys have been flying around and playing up tempo. I think when we have more time to practice, we'll use more of our offense, and we'll figure out which plays and which sets are going to be better for us." Keno Davis

The Friars committed 10 turnovers in the first half, and launched 14 three point attempts in the half, making five of them. While the three point shot is a major component of the Keno Davis' offense, PC took too many of them off the dribble, and not enough of them were the product of kick outs as a result of another player's dribble penetration. Still, Providence got enough points for a lead from its press and 2ndchance opportunities by dominating the backboards. In the second half, the Friars would do a much better job of attacking the basket, either converting or getting to the free throw line. They also managed to limit their turnovers to five.

"On the nights when your three point shots don't fall, we got to find other ways to win," said Davis ."That's by out rebounding the other team, and that's getting to the free throw line…Those were the two focus areas we talked about with players coming into the game with Dartmouth . To be able to outrebound a team by 20, coming off of a 15 plus margin vs. Northeastern I think is a big positive. Also, getting 46 free throws showed that we were attacking the basket."

The second half was an improvement offensively, as the Friars were more aggressive in the paint. Part of that was from the play of Marshon Brooks, who seems to show more confidence with each passing game. His shot is falling both from the 3 point line and from pull up mid range jump shots, and his harassing defense makes full use of his length. Brooks led the team in scoring with 18 points, 3 blocked shots, and 7 (5 offensive) rebounds. Brooks is quickly becoming the new Mr. Versatility on this Friar squad.

As far as the Friar defense is concerned, problems continue to pop up in two key areas. While PC's press produced 10 steals and 17 Dartmouth turnovers, its press also gave up far too many easy baskets once broken. Dartmouth had a lot of two on one opportunities that led to easy baskets for the Green. The back of the Friar press needs to improve and recover better if Providence is going to use the press extensively this year.

"We forced some turnovers, but we also let them get behind us too much on the press", said Davis . "When you learn how to press, whether we're using a ¾ or full court press, you have to learn how to force turnovers and not be giving up things on the other end. Sure, they might get some outside shots, but that's not what we're taking about with giving up easy buckets. We're taking about keeping them from laying it up and getting behind us all the time. But, this team really hasn't been a pressing team in the past, and I think we'll just keep improving on what we're doing."

The other area of concern has been the3 point defense. Northeastern made seven of eight three point shots in the 2nd half, and Dartmouth shot 46% from outside the arc. That's got to improve if Providence is going to win using a match up zone for significant stretches this year.

"They made some incredible shots onus, even when we were up 15, 16, 18 points", said Davis . "I told the team you can't always worry about the result, just worry about maintaining the effort. Some of those shots, we'd play great defense and they'd fire up a shot and make it. I'd kind of like them to shoot all those shots, because we'll be OK with that by the end of the year. It's the open shots, it's where we're not matched up, those are the ones that frustrate you as a coach and I think we can improve on that. But, I don't think it's that far away from our defense becoming a pretty good fundamental half court defense."

Friar Notes: Alex Kellogg dressed and stretched, but did not play. His injured knee is considered day to day but the staff expects him to return to the court within a week if not by this Saturday vs. Maine . Providence next plays on Thursday at 7pm vs. Sacred Heart. Bilal Dixon is under consideration for a redshirt along with Greedy Peterson. However, no definitive decision has been made to redshirt either player yet. A player can be activated at any time. Freshmen are allowed to play in exhibition games and still redshirt, provided that they don't play in any regular season games.

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