NIT 2013 Round 2: Providence 77 – Robert Morris 68

-I need to start by saying that what I watched on Monday night was one of the most poorly officiated games that I have ever seen. And it wasn’t that all bad calls were against Providence.  Bad calls were going in both directions.  I’m not sure which conference the officiating crew was from, but they should be fired.

-After the completion of the game last night, Ed Cooley grabbed the mic and addressed the crowd.  Man, I love Cooley.  Here was Cooley’s statement in a post-game interview about his address, “I thought about taking that microphone all day. I wanted to thank our crowd. We have had some really good crowds. I’d like to see every seat filled, but part of building your program is building your fan base back up.  I think this is a really tough place to play when the energy is like that. I think the last three and a half minutes of this game – that was actually fun. That was a lot of fun to hear the building shake like that. The players all feed off of that. And you know what? A team will crumble under those circumstances, and I thought that happened today.”

-From what Scottie told me (because I wasn’t at the game), Cooley said that if the crowd is loud every game, that will play a huge part in PC winning a National Championship.  After that statement, the crowd and the Friars went nuts!  Love the vision that Cooley has, he is developing a championship attitude with this team, and bringing in the talent to compete on a national level.

-Before this game, Cooley went on record saying that Kris Dunn had his best week of practice.  Sadly for the Friars, Dunn was battling a stomach bug on Monday and he looked somewhat sluggish.  With a healthy Dunn, his defensive energy would have gone a long way in limiting Robert Morris’ offensive effectiveness.  However, Dunn still found ways to produce (6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists).

-LaDontae Henton played arguably his best game of the season, utilizing consistent mismatches to his advantage.  Henton tallied up 21 points and 6 rebounds on 6-7 shooting and 8-8 from the free throw line.

-Council’s offense was nowhere to be found, but 12 points and 10 assists were enough to get the Friars through to the next round.

-Lee Goldsbrough stepped up on a night where the Friars’ bigs were battling foul trouble.  Lee logged 21 minutes, grabbed 9 rebounds and 6 points.  Lee made a huge bucket as the game was winding down on a nice dish from Council.  Goldsbrough has inproved dramatically this season and I’m interested to see how much time he will get next season.

-Kadeem needs to be a more consistent focal point of the Friars offense.  Their tendency to feed Kadeem the ball is scarce, and when they do get him the ball down low it is often off of the block and he gets double teamed.  Every time Cotton gets the ball outside, Kadeem is in a great spot underneath (because offensive attention has switched to Cotton).  Cotton needs to become more alert and get Batts the ball more often.

-Kris Dunn makes some of the prettiest passes that I’ve seen in a long time.  On a fast break, Dunn threw a no-look bounce pass to Batts (who fumbled the pass) through two defenders.  That pass was awesome!

-Next up for the Friars are the Baylor Bears.  The Bears’ offense has been on fire thus far in the NIT, scoring 112 points in their 1st game (vs. Long Beach St.) and 89 points in their 2nd game (vs. Arizona St.).  The Bears average 74 points per game for the season (31st in the NCAA).  Their best player is senior point guard Pierre Jackson who averages 19 points per game on the season (and had 26 points and 16 assists against Arizona St.).  This should be an offensive showdown!

-NEXT GAME: Wednesday, March 27th @ Baylor, 9pm (ESPN2)

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