The Friars came out shorthanded but matched up evenly against the Boston College Eagles. They battled back and forth in a game that resulted in the Friars going into OT, but despite a depleted bench from fouls and off-court issues the Friars won their opening matchup against the Eagles 82-78.
Despite having lock down defense on the perimeter, the Friars were attacked constantly in the paint. Boston College finished with 36 points in the paint, and even though the Friars outscored them in the middle with 38 points, it wasn't noticeable. The new hand check rule put frontcourt plays Carson Desrosiers and Kadeem Batts in foul trouble early, resulting in Boston College driving for easy two's throughout the game and eventually forcing an overtime where they would lose.
That said, the Friars did an above-average job of attacking the Eagles where they strike hardest. The Eagles live and die by the three, and for the game the Friars limited Boston College to a mere six threes out of the 15 attempted. While that was good for 40 percent, it took two full halves and an overtime for Boston College to accumulate those shotes, and not because Boston College was playing conservatively. Every opportunity Boston College had to shoot the three would result in the Friars collapsing in on the BC offense, forcing them to heave a contested shot, pass the ball to open the offense or try a different tactic other than their reliable three point shot.
Meanwhile, the Friars attacked on offense from every opportunity they could. From beyond the arc Josh Fortune shot 50 percent by going 3-for-6, and Bryce Cotton shot a collective 9-for-20 for the game which was good for a team-high 28 points. While both Cotton and Fortune produced offensively, Tyler Harris and Kadeem Batts both struggled on offense with four points and eight points, respectively.
Lee Goldsbrough, a non-starter who played a mere five minutes out of 45 total, went a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe in overtime to put the Friars ahead of the Eagles. These free throws put and kept the Friars ahead with 1:11 left in OT and thus the win of the game. Goldsbrough, while likely to be a bench player for the season, won the game for the Friars by putting PC up 80-78 for the game.
The big question
Those who didn't play will have a lot of questions circulating. For injuries, projected started point guard Kris Dunn was out with a shoulder injury from the exhibition game from RIC. Reporters are claiming anything from Dunn will be out for the year, to Dunn will be day-to-day and play when he's ready.
Both freshman -- Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock -- were suspended for unknown reasons from this game. While there are a lot of claims going on around Austin and Bullock - and more specifically what they did to get suspended - the simple fact of the matter that all rumors should be treated as such and without any further explanation its not worth getting out. Keep an ear open on what could've happened with Big East Coast Bias for the latest.
Player(s) of the Game
LaDontae Henton, Providence: While Bryce Cotton put up 28 points for the Friars, LaDontae Henton was a true leader on the court as well with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting and 13 rebounds for the game. Additionally, Henton played 43 of the full 45 minutes for the Friars, stepping up while Kadeem Batts and Carson Desriosiers had to dial back with foul trouble.
Ryan Anderson, Boston College: Anderson proved why he could be an All-ACC player this year with his 7-for-12 production on offense with a total of 21 points for the game. He didn't lead the Eagles in offense (an accolade that went to Olivier Hanlan with 23 points on 6-for-15 shooting) but his leadership on the court in crunch offense sets is why Boston College was able to remain with the Friars rather than be buried by PC in their first game of the season.
Dud of the game
Kadeem Batts, Providence: Yes, the senior from Providence scored eight points and contributed three rebounds, but these numbers are acceptable from a freshman backup, not a starting senior. The Friars relied on Batts to be productive on offense, and instead of getting meaningful offense from the senior Batts went 2-for-11 on scoring and only contributed 29 minutes for the game.
In truth the Friars first win was a meaningful one. In addition to defeating a regional rival the Friars also downed a Big-East-turned-ACC foe for the second consecutive time at home since the mid 90s. Boston College did receive votes in the top-25 from the AP, so in addition to the historical meaning of the game the win does have long-term implications to the Friars. With all that acknowledged the Friars didn't play at full strength, and the fact that they came out depleted means more than any rivalry game could provide.
The Friars have a few opportunities to recover from the injuries and suspensions now that the Eagles are in the rear-view mirror. On Wednesday the Friars will take on cross-town Brown University, whom the Friars lost to by one point last season, followed by Marist that following Saturday. If the Friars want to make an early case for their NCAA bid they will need to win both these games handedly.