Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PC Wins On Road Against South Florida, 77-62

The Friars picked up a must win on the road by beating South Florida by 15 last night. The reason this was a must win game for PC is because South Florida is not as good as they are and the Friars only have a few more games left with teams that are worse than them. They can't afford to lose to the likes of South Florida & Rutgers when they still have to play teams like Pitt & Louisville. Plus, anytime you win by 15 on the road in the Big East that has to been seen as a quality win, especially when you beat a team that is coming off an upset win of highly ranked Marquette.

Here's the scoop, via ProJo Sports:

It turns out a dose of sunshine is all Providence College needed to get back in the win column.The Friars arrived in sunny Florida and knocked off South Florida, 77-62, at the Sun Dome Tuesday night to snap a season-high three game losing streak. Providence (15-9 overall, 7-5 in the Big East) controlled the game for much of the second half, as South Florida (8-15, 3-8) didn’t get closer than five points during the final 19 minutes of the game.

"Coming down here to play South Florida, it’s an easy time for teams to get distracted," Providence coach Keno Davis said. "I thought our guys played just about as hard as they could. To be able to win on the road you have to have a great effort, and I think our guys showed that tonight."

After letting the Bulls draw within five at 62-57 with 4:15 to go in the game, Providence went on a 13-2 run to go up 75-59 just over a minute left. The Friars looked completely different from the team that had given up an average of 91 points per game during the three-game slide, holding the Bulls to just 62 points, the lowest total by a Friars’ opponent in the last 10 games.

Davis said taking control of the game early in the second half made it easier for his team to focus on defense. "I’m not so worried about our defense; I think our guys are playing hard," Davis said. "We’ve got to worry not about how many points the other team scores, but what percentage they shoot." South Florida struggled with its shooting the entire night, managing to shoot just 39 percent (27-of-69) from the field, including 16 percent from beyond-the-arc (3-of-19).

Jonathan Kale led the way for the Friars, scoring 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field while grabbing nine rebounds. "Everybody was on the same page tonight," Kale said. "Everybody was boxing out and going after the ball and we just got after it. We needed this one tonight." Randall Hanke and Weyinmi Efejuku each added 14 points for the Friars.

Dominique Jones was the lone bright spot for USF, scoring 29 points on 12-of-24 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds. "It’s tough when the guy that’s the No. 1 guy on your scouting report puts up 29 points," Davis said. "But I think that shows what kind of special player he is. Not only a guy who can beat you from three-point range, but a guy that can create his own shot."

The two teams traded jabs for most of the first half with neither able to grab more than a six-point lead. But as the buzzer sounded to end the first half, Sharaud Curry hit a three-pointer from the corner to put Providence up nine heading into the locker room. The shot capped off a 10-4 run to close the half. "Those last-second shots are big, whether they go in for or they don’t go in for other team," Davis said. "Just to build that momentum, you feel like right when you start that second half, it will be great for you."

South Florida opened the second half with a 6-0 run of its own to cut the lead to four with 18:36 left in the game, but that was as close as the Bulls would come the rest of the way. With the victory, Providence now has seven wins in Big East play this season, one more than the six the Friars managed the entire 2007-08 season.
As you can see, South Florida shot the ball horribly in this game, and while it appears the Friars played better defense than they have in the past few weeks, South Florida is just a horrible shooting team overall. Coming into this game South Florida was 252nd in 3-point shooting, connecting on just 32.1% from deep. They also shoot just 44.9% on two pointers, which is 271st in the country. Put it all together and they are 275th in effective field goal percentage, out of 344 teams. Basically, if the Friars weren't able to stop this team, then they pretty much can't stop anyone. Their next opponent, Rutgers, isn't a great shooting team either, so the Friars have no excuses if they lose to them.

More: Providence College

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