GAME NOTES: The Providence Friars take a run at their ninth win of the season on Tuesday night, as the Yale Bulldogs invade the Dunkin' Donuts Center for a non-conference clash.
Yale is attempting to collect its fourth win in the last five games and sixth win overall. The squad dropped New Hampshire, 71-61, when it last hit the floor on Dec. 7. This contest begins a three-game road trip for the Bulldogs, who visit Albany next.
The Friars have alternated wins and losses over their last four bouts. Most recently, they were able to escape with a 50-49 overtime victory over in-state rival Rhode Island. Providence is currently 8-2 overall, including a perfect 5-0 on its home floor. The Friars have hosting duties again this Saturday against Maine.
In the last four meetings between these two squads, Providence has been the victor each time. The most recent triumph was a 58-55 final during the 2010-11 season. Providence's recent run has lifted it to a 10-7 all-time series lead.
Led by Justin Sears' double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, the Bulldogs were able to claim a 10-point victory at home over New Hampshire. Yale had a 38-29 edge on the boards, while scoring 21 second-chance points and holding UNH to just 39.1 percent shooting.
Sears (16.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) is always a threat to log a double-double as he is the team's leading scorer and rebounder. On the season, Sears has four double- doubles, while scoring in double figures in every game. Javier Duren (14.1 ppg, 3.1 apg) is the second-best scoring option, and is the only other player averaging in double figures. However, Duren was held to just three points, all coming from the free-throw line, against New Hampshire. Brandon Sherrod (8.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg) picked up the slack and poured in 18 after managing only seven points combined in the previous two games. Yale isn't an overly prolific offensive team overall, netting just under 70 points per game.
Even though the Friars did not record a field goal in the final 2:26 against Rhode Island, they were able to hang on for the victory. Providence was able to hold the Rams off by limiting them to just 34.5 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes. Bryce Cotton scored 15 points to lead all scorers in the game, although he knocked down just 5-of-15 field goal attempts.
Erratic shooting has plagued not only Cotton, but the entire team. The Friars are connecting on only 39.8 percent of their field goal attempts, which has led to a modest 70.1 points per game. Cotton (18.6 ppg, 5 apg) is the leading scorer for the Friars most times out. The 6-foot-1 guard is converting only 36.2 percent of his total shots, primarily due to his reliance on the 3- pointer. Cotton has made up for the poor shooting as he is on pace to set a new career mark in assists. Up front is where the Friars are really strong, with Tyler Harris (12.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg), LaDontae Henton (12.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Kadeem Batts (12.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) leading the way.
Playing at home has really elevated the Friars' game this season. Expect Cotton to have a more consistent shooting night and for Providence to clean up inside en route to the victory.
Game Date and Time