Big East Game 15: Providence 76 – Rutgers 72

-Contrary to the old PC Friars that we have all come to know and love (sometimes), on Saturday night against Rutgers a slow start didn’t doom PC in the end.  In fact, PC finished the first half better than they have any game this season.  It took a little time for the Friars to realize Rutgers was handing it to them, but once they did, they stepped it up big time.

-Vincent Council is the best point guard in the Big East, hands down.  His offensive numbers haven’t necessarily been there this season, but his vision is extraordinary.  Council nearly always makes the best decision, takes shots when necessary, constantly finds the open man, and runs Cooley’s offensive like Ed was on the court himself.

-Another slow night for Cotton.  Yes, Bryce put in 22 points, but at only 3/9 from the three point line and 7/18 from the floor, there is cause for concern.  Maybe I’m blowing his play a bit out of the water, but over the last three games Bryce has been off.  I’m not giving defenses credit because they’ve known about Cotton for 2 years.  I think it boils down to shot selection and offensive rhythm.  It seems to me like PC starts almost every game trying to force Cotton the ball, who is usually blanketed, and as the game progresses Bryce feels the pressure to get shots up, which leads to poor shot selection.

-Contrary to Bryce, LaDontae is catching fire.  I’ve been very tough on Henton all season (and I’m not letting up now), but LaDontae is finding his rhythm offensively and finally draining some shots from three.  LaDontae also grabbed 10 boards.  Granted, he is still the most blocked player in the NCAA, but LaDontae is getting hot at just the right time.

-Classic Dunn: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals.  Love this kid.

-Kadeem didn’t have his best night from the floor (4/11 from the field) but the kid just keeps grinding.  Batts has transformed himself into one of the best big men in the league and an eventual NBA prospect.  Cooley’s staff certainly plays a role in that, but I’m giving Kadeem the most credit.

-PC’s win against Rutgers sets up a huge matchup against St. John’s this Saturday.  St. John’s currently stands at 9th in the Big East with a 8-7 conference record.  PC currently stands 11th in the Big East with a 7-8 conference record.  With a win against St. John’s, Providence could begin the assent up the Big East standings, looking for a bye in the 1st round of the Big East tournament.

NEXT GAME: Saturday, March 2nd vs. St John’s, 8pm (ESPN3)

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