Friars Defeat Yale, Prepare for Big East

The ‘Most wonderful time of the year' doesn't seem to apply to the Providence Friars these days. Providence and some other teams around the nation have struggled to beat lessor opponents around the semester break, and Monday it took a late surge by the Friars to finally put away Ivy League Yale, 87-78.

After playing from behind for most of the game due to poor defense and anemic three point shooting, Providence finally got on track around the 12 minute mark of the second half. The Friars finally started defending after getting down 7, and began to get out on the fast break, where they were able to jumpstart their offense and go on a big run. That run was made with Vincent Council playing the point and the four other starters, raising the question whether those ‘Iron 5' players might make up PC's best defensive five.

"Maybe" said Keno Davis. "I think it was just the group that was playing the best together, and when they were in there together, all of a sudden we went on a run with them. So we felt comfortable enough to stay with them, and tried not to hurt our timing by subbing as much."

It was that group's defense that won the game for Providence. The Friars scored enough throughout the game, but were shockingly poor on defense for stretches, which was a combination of poor execution and lack of focus. It nearly took thirty minutes for Providence to really dig in defensively and begin to take control of the contest. There's no question that defensive improvement will be job one once the team gets back from a short Christmas break.

"We need to come back from break with more of an identity defensively; especially in the half court with how we are going to defend against Big East teams. We had a couple things we worked on during finals, but if anything I might take that on myself that maybe I shouldn't have messed with anything until we had that break....We need more practice."

Jamine "Greedy" Peterson once again was the MVP for the Friars, going for 25 points and 13 rebounds. Marshon Brooks, Sharaud Curry, and Vincent Council also all chipped in 13 points each. Kyle Wright scored 9 point in 11 productive minutes. Bilal Dixon once again was plagued with early foul trouble, limiting him to 4 points in only 18 minutes of play.

A flu bug that has run through the team combined with final exams have certainly taken their toll on Friars lately. However, the fact of the matter is that Providence hasn't a played a good game on both ends of the floor since they defeated Brown. While the offense was electric in the win at George Washington, the defense was already faltering, and continued to do so in the dismal home loss to Iona. Is it safe to say this team was playing better a month ago when they were beating Northeastern on the road and nearly won at Rhode Island?

"I don't think there's any doubt," said Keno Davis. "You spent eight or nine days studying without practicing much and taking finals. I didn't expect us to come out and look like we're in mid-season form...We're going to come back and focus, work on our drill stations, work in the half court, and work on being the best we can be."

A short break from school and plenty of time in the gym to regroup is exactly what the doctor ordered right now. Ready or not, come December 30th the Friars will have to either step up their play, or get run out of the Joyce Center against Notre Dame. Welcome to the Big East.

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