Providence 72, Rhode Island 57

LaDontae Henton and Kadeem Batts led Providence to a 72-57

nonconference victory over Rhode Island Thursday night.

Henton posted a double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds for

the Friars (7-2). Batts overcame a Rams double-team to shoot 8 for

19 and finish with 23 points.

”I thought Kadeem and LaDontae were the best two players on the

floor tonight,” said Providence coach Ed Cooley. ”Between their

size and girth and athleticism . I really appreciate these two

horses.”

After trailing 27-26 at halftime, the Rams (2-7) allowed two

Friars runs in the second half that put the game out of reach. One

minute into the second, Henton scored six points on an eight-point

Providence run for a 41-33 lead. The Rams cut the deficit to three

points, only to allow 10 consecutive points over the course of 4

1/2 minutes in the middle of the half.

Cooley said Henton played his ”best collegiate game.”

Providence dominated on the glass, grabbing 41 rebounds to Rhode

Island’s 28. The Friars’ 14 offensive rebounds doubled the Rams’

seven.

”I just tried to play hard and get to the board,” Henton

said.

But Providence performed on defense as well, shutting down Rhode

Island’s outside shooting to allow only three treys in 18

attempts.

Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley expressed particular

disappointment that Providence was able to disrupt his team’s

ability to hold onto the ball.

”We’ve been one of the best teams in the country in terms of

not turning the ball over,” Hurley said. ”It’s disappointing to

turn the ball over 20 times to a team playing a zone.”

The Friars, who have been playing with only six scholarship

athletes due to injury and ineligibility, had to contend with Bryce

Cotton’s jammed knee. Cotton, who has averaged 22.1 points per game

this season, played 39 minutes and scored 11 points.

”Cotton did an unbelievable job,” said Cooley. ”He dealt with

a lot of pain today.”

Between Cotton’s impairment and Vincent Council’s hamstring

injury that has kept him off the court for the past several weeks,

the Friars were missing their two strongest offensive

presences.

”Our players have done an unbelievable job,” Cooley said. He

added that if someone had told him the day Council was injured that

his team would be 7-2, he would have ”asked to have a sip of what

he was drinking.”

Several early Rams fouls brought the Friars to the bonus only 8

minutes into the second half. Providence capitalized going 18 for

19 on free throws.

In the first half, the Friars made 35.7 percent (10 of 28) of

their shots. Providence brought the ratio up to 44.8 percent (13 of

29) in the second half, shooting 70 percent over the first 7

minutes. The Friars’ final 40.4 percent (23 of 57) topped the Rams’

38.5 percent (20 of 52).

Providence set the pace throughout the opening half, only ceding

the lead twice for about 1 minute overall. Batts’ 10 points and

four rebounds carried the Friars in the first 20 minutes.

Jordan Hare led the Rams with 14 points, shooting 6 for 7. But

Nikola Malesevic, Mike Powell and Xavier Munford also reached

double digits, scoring 12, 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Cooley praised Hare after the game, calling the freshman ”a

special, special player.”