Providence 77, Morgan St. 55
Marshon Brooks scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and freshman Kadeem Batts added 14 points as Providence pulled away late in a 77-55 victory over Morgan State on Thursday night.
The double-digit performance was the first of the season for Batts, one of the nine freshmen who make the Friars (3-0) the Big East's youngest team.
Vincent Council also contributed 14 points for Providence and Bilal Dixon added 12 rebounds.
Kevin Thompson led Morgan State (1-1) with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Providence scored 35 points in the game's final 10 minutes.
The Friars dug themselves into an early eight-point deficit when they answered the Bears' hot shooting by making only 3 of their first 17 attempts from the field.
Timely substitutions by Providence coach Keno Davis brought in freshmen Bryce Cotton and Dre Evans, who contributed to a 13-0 run to regain the lead.
Poor shooting returned early in the second half, as the Friars failed to capitalize on several uncontested shots, including a Gerard Coleman layup attempt at 16:07 in which the Providence guard mishandled the ball and then tripped over his own feet. The offensive miscues kept the game close, as Morgan State erased an eight-point deficit to tie the score at 42 midway through the second half.
But a one-handed dunk by Batts, followed 24 seconds later by a three-point play from Brooks, spurred the Friars to a 14-4 run.
Morgan State counted 11-of-13 free throws in the second half but made just one field goal in the game's final 7 minutes, and the Friars soon found themselves with a 12-point lead with 5 minutes to play.
An acrobatic alley-oop from Coleman to Brooks provided the dagger with 3 minutes remaining, but the Friars added another in the game's final seconds, this time from Council to Cotton, a 5-9 guard who capped the Providence victory with a crowd-pleasing dunk.
Providence, which set a Big East record last season for most points allowed per game, is the early Big East leader in points allowed per game and in field goal percentage allowed.