Like I noted earlier this week, Providence held off Yale in their only game this week as they approach a schedule that looks to be much tougher than what they have faced so far, sans their losses to Maryland and Kentucky earlier in the year. The other night the Friars did not play like the 6th best team in the Big East, as they were picked to be prior to the season.
Albeit a hot shooting night for the visitors from Yale, Providence did not resemble that cohesive defensive side that head coach Ed Cooley had thought they would be, and talked them up to be earlier in the year. The difference in the game happened on either end of the floor plays away from one another when LaDontae Henton took it upon himself to put the Friars ahead for good with one of his signature lefty drives to the basket. Tyler Harris finally gave the Friars the defensive stop they had been waiting for when he prevented his man from going up with the ball, which caused him to get stuck in the air and subsequently turn it over.
They will need to depend on team possessions going forward rather than relying on one or two players to make the difference in the game. As a unit, they will need to communicate better on defense and call out switches and screens if they have any hope of winning games this year in conference play against polished offenses with numerous guys who can beat you.
They'll need better spacing on offense and allow Bryce Cotton to get free without the ball instead of having him try make something out of nothing. If they do this going forward, they'll resemble the team that Ed Cooley, Friar fans, and the rest of the league thought they would be.
What's New in Friartown:
Coaches and fans alike wait for the decision of the school and the administration on whether or not they will have the services of freshman guards Rodney Bullock and Brandon Austin. The two have yet to suit up for the Friars due to not holding up their responsibilities of being student athletes. This on going decision is much different than the one the Friars faced last year with Ricardo Ledo and two years ago with Kiwi Gardner, who both never played a minute for Providence. Fans are all too familiar with recruits not being able to play and a decision, whatever it may be, would bring acceptance to a fanbase who would like to either move on and know what to be prepared for when the calender flips or get excited about what they can bring to this team.
In his postgame interview after their win over Yale, Cooley made it clear that they are both "status quo' whether or not they would play but one would have to think a decision would come soon with the conclusion of the fall semester this week.
As the holidays approach us, Santa Cooley was in a unusually happy mood despite the play of his team the last few games. This is the third year that Santa Cooley has arrived in Friartown during the holidays and they are 1-3 over that time during the Holiday week. The lone victory was his first game against Rhode Island back in 2011. Since then they have not fared well when he has donned the red suit.
This Saturday, Providence plays hosts to Maine in what looks like the final game they can sleepwalk through. The Black Bears are 1-8 on the season with their lone victory coming against the Fisher College Eagles. They have yet to defeat a Division I program so expect the Friars to get up big early in this one and be able to give their core six players some rest before they travel to take on #22/20 UMass on Saturday, December 28th.