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Friars pushed around, lose at Georgetown 83-71

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Sometimes, even Superman needs a little help from his friends.

Senior guard Bryce Cotton has been just about everything for the Providence Friars this season, and the all-American candidate certainly was everything again for his team against the Georgetown Hoyas Monday night in Washington, DC. But even Cotton’s 31 points couldn’t overcome his teammates’ inability to hit key shots down the stretch – or defend them, for that matter – and withstand a physically punishing Hoyas’ push to the finish line. The end result was an 83-71 Big East beat-down at the Verizon Center.

Providence led Georgetown 54-47 with 10:25 to play in the second half, punctuating an 11-2 run with two Cotton free-throws and momentum clearly on their side. The Hoyas began their climb back into it with their two dynamite guards, Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Starks hit a three, Smith-Rivera responded with a jumper after grabbing an offensive rebound…and the Hoyas were on their way to a devastating 26-9 run over the next 10 minutes.

The Friars missed open shots, missed free throws, and didn’t (or couldn’t) defend Georgetown on the other end, either. It was almost as if an offensive water faucet was turned off, and defensively? There simply weren’t any answers as the Hoyas took care of the ball (only five turnovers for the game) and hit the offensive glass hard…which had been a Friar strength.

PC led at halftime 36-32, thanks in large part to a huge 21-5 run over Georgetown after the Hoyas had managed a 12-point early cushion. Cotton got started late, but once he started, only the clock hitting 0:00 could stop him – he scored his 19 first-half points all in the final seven minutes of the period, including a three at the buzzer to give the Friars the lead, and momentum. Defensively, PC held the Hoyas to no field goals in the final seven minutes.

After Providence (16-9, 6-6 Big East) extended the lead to six, the Hoyas charged back behind Smith-Rivera (22 points) and freshman Reggie Cameron, as the two ignited a 13-5 run to put GU back in the lead. Providence then scored 11 of the next 13 behind Cotton and Kadeem Batts (14 points, seven rebounds) to re-take the lead and push the margin to seven, before the Hoyas’ big rally.

Georgetown’s run over the final 10:25 was crushing…outscoring Providence 36-17 to turn the seven-point deficit into a 12-point win. Two key misses during the run stood out – Cotton missing a wide-open trey with the Friars up by two, and Tyler Harris missing a free-throw line jumper with 8:17 remaining. Both shots could have extended leads, and stopped the Hoyas’ charge. Neither did.

And now, saddled with a three-game losing streak, the Friars find themselves a bit dazed and confused, coming out of this fight with just six games left on the regular season slate.

Even Superman can’t do it all by himself in the always-rugged Big East Conference.

Friar Notes

Cotton’s 31 points were his second-best total on the season, after the 32 he put up against St. John’s – also in a loss – last week. In between, Xavier held him to nine points in a road loss last Saturday…Batts (14 points) and Tyler Harris (13 points) were the only other players in double figures, as LaDontae Henton struggled with just four points (one-of-five shooting) and Josh Fortune managed just 2-for-14 from the floor for five points, after hitting Xavier for a season-high 17. Fortune and Carson Desrosiers each had eight rebounds…Smith-Rivera’s 22 led Georgetown (now 15-9, 6-6 Big East), while Markel Starks finished with 14, Jabril Trawick scored 12 and Cameron finished with 11…the Hoyas shot 47% from the floor, but won the game on the offensive glass (in the second half) and at the free-throw line. Georgetown connected on 24-of-30 from the line, both season-high totals allowed by PC, and committed just five turnovers (a season low against the Friars)…the win is Georgetown’s 4th straight, while the loss is the 3rd straight for PC…the second-half collapse is perhaps best underscored by this statistic – in the game’s first 29:35, the Hoyas managed 47 points. But in the final 10:25, they scored 36 points…the Friars have managed only one win in 10 tries at the Verizon Center, with that coming back in 2005. Georgetown has now won nine of the last 10 meetings overall with Providence, as PC beat the Hoyas 70-52 at the Dunk on January 8th…the Friars return home to the Dunkin Donuts Center Saturday afternoon for a 2;00 pm tip against DePaul (pre-game 1:45 on 103.7 FM and friars.com)…


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