Bentil leads No. 14 Providence to 73-65 win over Rider
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) While Kris Dunn recovers from a stomach virus, No. 14 Providence just keeps rolling along.
Ben Bentil had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Friars beat Rider 73-65 on Saturday night.
Dunn, who is second on the team with 16.8 points per game, missed his second consecutive game. He practiced on and off during the week, and then sat on the bench in black sweats during the game.
''He's just not there,'' coach Ed Cooley said. ''He's weak, he's down, he's said. I don't want to put someone on the floor who isn't feeling well. It's more about the bigger picture than the present.''
With Dunn watching from the sideline, Providence (11-1) got three double-doubles in its fifth straight victory. Jalen Lindsey had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and fellow sophomore Rodney Bullock had 16 points and 11 boards.
The Friars also got a lift from Kyron Cartwright, who posted a career-best 13 points to go along with nine assists. The sophomore logged 39 minutes, a product of the Friars missing their primary point guard in Dunn.
''Coach has been telling me to be more aggressive and that it will actually help open up other things for my teammates,'' Cartwright said. ''Just trying to get other people going by taking a few shots myself helps to loosen everyone else help to the point that I'm able to help them out.''
Rider's Jimmy Taylor had 22 points. The Broncs (2-9) have been beset by injuries, and coach Kevin Baggett thinks their best basketball is still to come.
''It's not about the opponent. It's about us and how we can get better,'' Baggett said. ''We've just got to continue to stay together and I think that's what we'll do.''
After jumping out to a 15-0 lead and looking completely dominant, the Friars played just OK the rest of the night. Providence led 33-29 at the half and then 69-57 with just inside five minutes to play, but a late surge allowed the Broncs to close to 69-64 with 1:59 left.
Junior Lomomba responded with a big jumper with 1:32 left, helping Providence hold on.
''That was a hard game for us,'' Cooley said. ''I thought we played perfect in the first nine minutes, then it looked like we got a little fatigued. We caught a second wind in the second half then had some missed free throws and bad turnovers before finishing it out.''
Baggett first met Cooley 20 years ago at a summer basketball camp. They have remained in touch ever since.
''We've always rooted for one another and I just love him to death,'' Baggett said. ''He's kind of like that mentor to me. Sometimes when I'm going through some things, it helps after talking to him. I'm really proud of what he's done at Providence. He's a great coach but an even better human being.''
Rider freshman Kealen Ives grew up in Providence and attended Classical High School. The 5-foot-9 guard was in the Broncs' starting lineup for the fourth straight game, but had to take a seat after picking up two quick fouls. He finished with one point and four rebounds in 17 minutes.
Ives played a game at the University of Rhode Island last month as part of the Cancun Challenge. He had a career-best 15 points in Rider's 82-72 win over Charleston Southern on Dec. 12.
Rider: The last time the Broncs defeated a top-20 team was in the 2009-10 season opener, an 88-74 win at then-No. 18 Mississippi State.
Providence: The Friars now hold a 100-25 record against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams.
Rider travels to Morgan State on Wednesday.
Providence plays at Massachusetts on Monday.