What can you say about the 2013-2014 Providence College basketball team? In September if you told people this team would be the team to win 20 games for the first time in 10 years, people probably would have thought that was reasonable. On December 11th, people would have told you 20 wins was a pipe dream. That was the day it was announced that Kris Dunn would need a second surgery and his season would be cut short again by a freak accident in the RIC exhibition game. The Friars’ record on that day was 8-2 but it might as well have been 2-8. Spirits were down. Expectations were adjusted. But then something started happening. The Friars went down to Queens after an overtime loss at UMass followed by a double overtime loss at home against Seton Hall then a road drubbing by Villanova by 30 and they fought. They fought and clawed their way to a double overtime road win. Those are the kinds of games PC fans are used to losing. But Bryce Cotton is on a mission. It’s clear now. He wants to be on that Blue Carpet in a couple weeks. That win at St. John’s began a 5 game winning streak, the kind of streak that hadn’t happened in, you guessed it, 10 years.
20 wins is an impressive accomplishment by this group. They have the smallest bench in the country and Cotton is now averaging 40.2 minutes per game, leading the world as Coach Cooley likes to say. They lost 3 players before the season even really began, including 2 who would have been key contributors in Dunn and Brandon Austin. And yet, here they are. 20 wins and knocking on the door of the NCAA tournament for the first time since Ryan Gomes’ junior season.
Cotton passed Marvin Barnes for 5th all time on PC’s scoring list by hitting a pair of free throws early. He has already cemented himself as one of the greatest Friars of all time. His jersey will hang in the rafters at the Dunk one day and his name will don the PC Hall of Fame in the near future. Whatever happens on Saturday in Omaha or next week at MSG, this has been my favorite season as a Friar fan. I’m so glad I was able to be there last night to see Cotton, Batts, Bancroft, Goldsbrough and Kofane on their Senior Night. This is a special group and I just hope the rest of the country gets to see how special they truly are by dancing on that Blue Carpet.