Providence has come a long way since last playing at home.
Entering Wednesday’s visit from Manhattan, there is plenty for the Friars (6-3) to build upon from their Saturday effort against in-state rival Rhode Island.
Ed Cooley’s team shot 54 percent and beat the Rams 88-74 for its first road or neutral-court victory this season. Nonconference play now concludes with back-to-back games at home, where Providence is 5-0.
“We wanted ball movement and body movement, and we wanted to play with a little more pace,” Cooley said. “The players played with incredible pace and, more importantly, confidence.”
The Friars will aim for another balanced, confident effort, as six players scored between 10 and 14 points against Rhode Island. Bryce Hopkins, who logged a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, continues to lead the team in scoring (14.6) and rebounding (8.6).
Reigning Big East Sixth Man Award winner Jared Bynum bounced back, also scoring 14 after being held to single digits for three straight games.
“It’s a long season. It’s not where we start, it’s where we finish,” Cooley said. “I’m really proud of what Jared did to lead his team (Saturday). … Holding our composure (in a hostile environment like Rhode Island) shows a lot of discipline and character.”
Manhattan (3-4) had back-to-back wins before a 76-69 Sunday loss to former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Monmouth.
Fifth-year senior Ant Nelson scored 21 points — the most by any Jaspers player this season — before fouling out. Nelson has logged six straight double-figure scoring games and raised his scoring average (now 14.6) with each contest.
Marques Watson added 16 off the bench for an offense that averages 68.6 points per game. The Jaspers also have the third-best scoring defense in the MAAC (65.4).
Before the Monmouth loss, four of Manhattan’s first five games against Division I opponents were decided by three points or fewer.
“Coach Cooley always has his team ready to play,” interim head coach RaShawn Stores told Field Level Media. “They play with a lot of intensity so we have to be ready to match them. We also must be ready to for the crowd and the energy they will bring.”
–Field Level Media