Big East Game 9: UConn 82 – Providence 79 (OT)

-Coach Ed Cooley is sending a message to his team.  He’s sick of watching a team that lacks defensive intensity.  Vincent Council and LaDontae Henton were kept on the bench for the first few minutes of Thursday’s game against UConn to get this message across.  Kris Dunn and Ted Bancroft got the start over Council and Henton because of their constant effort on defense.  This move probably put Providence at a disadvantage on Thursday, but should pay dividends over the remainder of the season.

-That was the hardest fought game that I’ve see the Friars play all year.  Even thought they lost the game, they left it all on the court.  They got into a huge hole to start the game, battled their way back and forced an overtime.  In overtime they lost Council after he picked up his 5th foul, but instead of crumbling Dunn and Cotton stepped it up and made enough plays to win.  Sadly, UConn made one more play than the Friars, but I still love their effort and intensity throughout the game.

-Sidiki Johnson, Harlem’s favorite big man, did’t record a minute in Thursday’s game.  Evidently, Coach Cooley is sending a bigger message to his starting message.  I am just hoping that Johnson didn’t do something stupid off of the court to warrant further benching.

-Kris Dunn’s athleticism has me very excited about his future.  Although Dunn has yet to find his shot at the collegiate level, he is finding other ways to contribute.  Dunn is finding his way to the free throw line on a more consistent basis.  Many say that’s the best way to get out of a slump.  In 31 minutes, Dunn only gave up 2 turnovers.  Those are the type of numbers we need to see going forward.  Kris also made his presence felt on the boards, grabbing 8 rebounds, 4 of which were offensive.

-Kadeem Batts continues to produce for the Friars, no matter the opposition.  What an improvement over the Batts we saw through the last 2 seasons.

-Vincent Council recorded his first double digit assist game of the season.  Council is rounding into form.  He is becoming a more consistent player with every game that he plays.  With that being said, he better get his head out of his ass or Coach Cooley will continue to have Council ride the pine.

-UConn’s offensive attack was so balanced that I am surprised the Friars were in the game as much as they were.

-LaDontae Henton had decent numbers.  His play doesn’t equate to the numbers.  Henton continues to be overwhelmed on the low post.  He got blocked at least 3 times throughout the game, and I wasn’t paying as close attention as usual.  Henton sucks.  Sit him down.

-I couldn’t complete this post without giving a shout out to my man Scottie.  Word on the street is that Scottie found his way to the front row of seats behind the scorer’s table and was giving it to the refs every time they made a bad call.  From Scottie’s perspective, it was more often than not.  Supposedly, one of the refs was really feeling the heat and actually engaged in some dialogue with Scottie, who ended the conversation by telling the ref he’d, “rather have Higgins than you!”  I’m proud Scottie.  Good work bud.

-NEXT GAME: Sunday, February 3rd @ Villanova, 12pm (ESPN3)

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