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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 13, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dunkin' Donuts Center (12,400) -- Providence, Rhode Island. Television: SportsSouth, FS-AZ. Home Record: Brown 1-0, Providence 1-0. Away Record: Brown 0-0, Providence 0-0. Neutral Record: Brown 0-0, Providence 0-0. Conference Record: Brown 0-0, Providence 0-0. Series Record: Providence leads, 92-27.
GAMES NOTES: With their first victory already in hand the Providence Friars will get back to work on Wednesday night when the cross-town rival Brown Bears come to the Dunkin'' Donuts Center for a non-league tussle.
Brown is also coming into this contest with a win in its season opener. The Bears hosted Binghamton at the Pizzitola Sports Center and secured an easy 74-57 victory. Easy wins were not the norm for the Bears last year when they finished just 13-15 overall. However it was a noted improvement over the past few seasons as the 13 wins were the most since 2008. Defense was the key for the Bears in Mike Martin's second season opener as head coach as the Bears allowed only 17 total field goals to the Bearcats on just 30.4 percent shooting. This contest begins a four-game road trip for the Bears, who will face Sacred Heart next.
It took overtime but Providence was able to hand a loss to regional rival Boston College in Friday's opener. The Friars overcame a 31-27 halftime deficit to escape with an 82-78 triumph over the Eagles in a game that featured 10 ties and as many lead changes. The Friars are coming into this season off a 19-win campaign. It was the first time since 2009 the Friars finished a season with a winning record. Providence also got some postseason experience as the team got to the quarterfinals of the NIT. Head coach Ed Cooley is in his third season and is guiding the Friars as they transition into the new Big East. Providence will be at home in its next two games before heading to St. Thomas for the Paradise Jam.
They may be neighbors but these teams have not shared a ton of parity in their all-time series. Providence has won 92 times in 119 matchups. However, last season the Bears ended a five-game losing streak with a thrilling 69-68 victory.
Sean McGonagill doesn't have Matt Sullivan to share the scoring load with anymore. His first stint without his former backcourt running mate went as well as it could have, as McGonagill, a deadly shooter from 3-point range when in rhythm, knocked in 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to record a game-high 22 points. Rafael Maia (14 points, nine rebounds) and Cedric Kuakumensah (nine points, 14 rebounds) give the Bears a potent duo up front as they may be shifting to a more frontcourt driven scheme this year. The pair each averaged more than seven rebounds per game last year as the Bears led the Ivy League on the glass (35.8 pg). Maia was a double figure scorer last season and without Sullivan on the roster, will be getting much more offensive opportunities. Kuakumensah made his presence felt more on the defensive end as he blocked six shots.
The Friars have their own backcourt scoring dynamo in Bryce Cotton. One of the leading scorers in the Big East last season, Cotton got off to a great start against Boston College as he poured in 28 points in 45 minutes of work. Providence can also answer Brown's challenge in the frontcourt with Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton,. Batts had a slow start against the Eagles, with only eight points on 2-of-11 shooting but Henton made up the difference with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Both were double-figure scores and constant double- double threats last year. With Batts and Henton leading the way, the Friars enjoyed a 36-20 edge on the boards against Boston College. Josh Fortune added 15 points against the Eagles as he transitions into a starting role.
Batts and Henton should be able to handle Maia and Kuakumensah and Cotton is a more deadly shooter from beyond the arc than McGonagill. Expect Providence to avenge a loss from last year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Providence 71, Brown 60
11/13 10:32:58 ET
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