Needing a victory in the worst of ways, the Providence Friars defeated the DePaul Blue Demons 87-66 Saturday afternoon to get back into the win column.
Led by Ben Bentil, Jalen Lindsey and Kyron Cartwright, the Friars ended a two-game losing streak and a stretch in which they lost five of their last six and six of their last eight. Bentil dropped 28 points in the win, getting above the 25-point threshold for the eighth time this year. Lindsey and Cartwright scored 14 and 16 points respectively. Rodney Bullock would join the Friars in double figures with 10 points of his own.
22 points from freshman Eli Cain were not enough for DePaul Saturday as bad defense would plague a pretty solid shooting day. The Blue Demons finished with a field goal percentage of 44.4 percent but were marred at the 3-point line where they shot just 27.8 percent and 2-for-12 in the second half.
Here's what we learned from this matchup:
1. Eli Cain could be a major player going forward
It mind wind up being buried in the loss, but Cain's 22-point outburst today showcases the kind of talent that the Willingboro, New Jersey native brings to the table. double figure performances are no stranger to the freshman guard as he has picked up such performances 14 times this season and has scored 20 or more points four times. It will take a long time for DePaul to turn things around but if they do, Eli Cain should be a driving force in that movement.
2. Providence's role players need performances just like this
Reaffirmed Saturday afternoon was the fact that the Friars desperately need their complementary pieces to play well down the stretch. It can't always just be Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil and the Friars have learned that the hard way this season, especially lately during their recent slide. It's stating the obvious, obviously, but lest we forget that this was a club that was one of the best int he country not too long ago when they were running on all cylinders. They have to find their groove again. If they do, they can be as dangerous as anybody.
3. The Friars were hit hard in the paint again
Seton Hall had tremendous successes inside against Providence in their last game, and DePaul repeated that on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Demons picked up 34 points in the paint to Providence's 24, a dominant performance and where they thrived. On 2-point opportunities, Dave Leitao's club shot 52.8 percent. The Friars need to shore up their interior defense going forward because the competition is only going to get stiffer from here.