They didn’t appear to be great games on paper, but the contests that Providence and Seton Hall were each involved in tonight proved otherwise.
Providence led Brown 44-30 at the half, but found themselves in a tie game very late. Brown, an Ivy League school, even stole an inbound pass with approximately seven seconds remaining, down two, but missed on a 3-point attempt to take the lead.
The Friars played sound fundamental basketball in the first half, but were out of sync for most of the second period. Air balls, cross court passes hitting the rim, and sloppy ball handling by PC fueled the comeback for the Bears. It would not have been that shocking of an upset if it had transpired given that Brown beat Providence a year ago 69-68 on their home floor. However, led by Tyler Harris’ 21 points and a double double from Kadeem Batts (19 points and 11 rebounds), the Friars staved off the upset for the second year in a row and prevailed 73-69.
The Seton Hall Pirates also avoided the home upset by edging Kent St. 78-76 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Pirates led 42-33 at half, but it took some clutch free throws late from Sterling Gibbs to cement the victory. Gibbs finished 12 of 13 from the free throw line and with a team high 20 points. He was one of four Pirates in double figures; Fuquan Edwin (19), Patrik Auda (15) and Brian Oliver (11) were the others.
A loss by Providence or Seton Hall tonight would have been considered a bad loss. That’s no disrespect to Brown or Kent St., but the two Big East teams are better, especially at home. If the Big East is to gain respect in the college basketball world, and it seems like they need to for some reason, then the teams that comprise the conference need to avoid the bad losses. And I know it’s early in the season, but you have to bring it each and every night.