Providence (8-3) at Brown (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 28, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800) -- Providence, Rhode Island. Television: NBC Sports Network. Home Record: Providence 7-0, Brown 1-2. Away Record: Providence 0-1, Brown 2-4. Neutral Record: Providence 1-2, Brown 0-0. Conference Record: Providence 0-0, Brown 0-0. Series Record: Providence leads, 92-26.
GAME NOTES: A pair of crosstown rivals are set to square off as the Providence Friars venture to the Pizzitola Sports Center to take on the Brown Bears.
Ed Cooley's Friars will be looking to bounce back after suffering a disappointing 71-68 setback at Boston College on Dec. 22, which dropped their record to 8-3 on the season. Providence had won six in a row prior to the loss. It was also defeated by Massachusetts and Penn State in mid-November, but all three of Providence's losses have been by a combined total of eight points. The Friars are decent on both ends of the floor as they are netting 69.4 ppg on 43.6 percent shooting from the field, while limiting their opposition to only 57.8 ppg on 37.3 percent shooting.
Mike Martin's first campaign at the helm of his alma mater is not off to an ideal start as Brown enters with a 3-6 record after its 63-42 loss to Northwestern on Dec. 23. The Bears have now lost three in a row, although all of those contests took place on the road. Brown is just 1-2 at home this season. During their current three-game losing slide, the Bears are scoring only 49.7 ppg and allowing their opposition to average 70 ppg.
The Bears and Providence have met 118 times, dating back to the 1921-1922 season, with the Friars holding a 92-26 series advantage. PC has won the previous five games in the series, including an 80-49 decision last year at the Dunkin� Donuts Center.
Providence had a difficult time on the offensive end its last time out as it knocked down just 36.5 percent of its field goal tries. Bryce Cotton did his best to keep the winning streak alive by pouring in a game-high 33 points thanks to a 7-of-14 performance from beyond the arc. Kadeem Batts joined Cotton in double figures with 14 points to go along with seven rebounds. The Friars' lacked the interior presence on the defensive end to slow down BC's Ryan Anderson from netting 24 points. Freshman point guard Kris Dunn made his debut on Dec. 18 with a 13-assist outing versus Colgate and followed it up with six helpers against the Eagles. Dunn's excellent court vision and passing ability will only help Cotton, who is the sixth highest scorer in the nation with 22 ppg. Batts (16.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg), LaDontate Henton (15.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg), and Josh Fortune (10.1 ppg) are all going to benefit from a true point guard's presence in the lineup as well.
With the exception of Sean McGonagill, Brown could not find its touch against Northwestern. McGonagill scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, but the rest of the Bears converted a collective 8-of-36 field goal attempts in the lopsided loss. Brown also allowed the Wildcats to drain 48.9 percent of its shots from the field including 13-of-24 from 3-point range. McDonagill is pacing the team with 15.4 ppg and averaging 38.6 minutes per bout. Matt Sullivan (14.4 ppg) and Rafael Maia (11.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg) have shown the ability to contribute, but both will be looking to bounce back from forgettable performances in Evanston.
Brown's loss to Northwestern is even worse than it looks on paper as the Wildcats' senior leader Drew Crawford was not in action after suffering a season-ending injury. The Bears have a long way to go and although Providence was handed an unexpected loss its last time out, it still holds the upper hand on the road in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Providence 70, Brown 56
12/28 10:31:50 ET