It was exactly what you would expect from a heated rivalry game. A large, raucous crowd, scrappy play on the court, technical fouls (from the coaches), and a one possession game with seconds remaining. Fortunately for the Providence Friars, they ended up on the right side of the 50-49 final score.
The Rams had the ball coming out of a timeout with the shot clock turned off, but a stout defensive stand from the Friars forced an errant shot from E.C. Matthews that never had a chance. Defense has been PC’s strong suit in the young season, ranking 35th in the country, and it showed on that final possession.
But the game was a battle all night long. Providence built a nine point lead in the first half, but Rhode Island quickly narrowed that and was down by four points for most of the second half it seemed.
With Kris Dunn out nursing a sore shoulder, it meant that Bryce Cotton had to handle the point guard duties. The offense isn’t as smooth with Cotton in that role, and his effectiveness is hurt as he excels at playing off the ball, but he still finished with a game high 15 points.
Tyler Harris continued his strong play for the Friars, finishing with 11 points and 7 rebounds. And LaDontae Henton, who was able to create favorable mismatches for himself throughout the game, tallied 9 points and 8 rebounds.
The Rams were led by former Big East player of the former Big East member, Rutgers, Gilvydas Biruta, who had a team high 13 points and 7 rebounds.
PC is now 8-2 on the season and have three games remaining before Big East conference play kicks off on December 31st. However, they are off for the next 12 days before they play Yale at home on December, 17.