Ed Cooley collected his 200th career win Wednesday night by taking care of the New Hampshire Wildcats 76-62. The Friars were led by Rodney Bullock’s career high of 36 points (5-8 3FG).
Providence took a 16-point lead into halftime thanks to a 21-4 run over the final nine minutes of the first half, and never looked back thanks to a flurry of threes from Bullock. The Friars were also quietly led by Jalen Lindsey on both sides of the ball. Overshadowed by Bullock’s big night, the junior forward was 4-5 from the field (3-4 3FG) and continued to be the defensive leader for this young Providence team. Cooley and his staff will need Lindsey’s strong defensive play to continue if they want to find success throughout this season.
The Friars were able to contain New Hampshire’s leading scorer Tanner Leissner and hold him to just seven points in 37 minutes. This was a major defensive victory for Providence as the 6-7 forward had been averaging 17 PPG so far this season. UNH’s Jaleen Smith picked up the slack by posting 20 points and seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats.
It’s quite clear that the Friars will continue to lean heavily on Rodney Bullock to be their main scoring punch, but this team still remains a work in progress. Earlier this week, we heard Ed Cooley preaching patience with this young group, and that message will continue to be relevant after tonight’s semi-sloppy second half. Defensive lapses and poor shot selection come with a young team, but the Friars will need to tighten up rather quickly with #21 Rhode Island coming to town this Saturday afternoon.
Kyron Cartwright continued to get more looks as he tied his career high of 12 field goal attempts for the second time in less than a week. The junior guard finished with 12 points and 4 assists, but it’s becoming more and more evident that Cooley wants Cartwright to shoot plenty more than he has in the past. Dishing it out will still be his most important asset, but keep an eye out for Cartwright to be looking to score more as the season continues.
All in all the Friar faithful saw a strong showing tonight, but a total team effort will be needed to grab an upset win this weekend.
The #21 URI Rams come to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center this Saturday for the next chapter of the classic Ocean State rivalry.