Game Notes & Preview: Providence (2-0) vs. Brown (1-2) 11/21/15

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 7:00PM

How: Fox Sports Networks (Don Orsillo & Tarik Turner)/WEEI 103.7 FM and (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence is 93-28 all time against Brown. Those 93 wins are the most against a single opponent in school history. This 122nd meeting between Providence and Brown is the second most amount of games played against a single opponent for the Friars. The only team they have played more often is Rhode Island. Brown defeated Providence last season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 77-67.
  • Providence is 129-49 all time against Ivy League. Providence went 1-1 last season with the loss being to Brown and the win being against Yale. Providence is 1-0 this season after defeating Harvard in the season opener on November 14th.
  • Brown is 1-2 on the season after losing to St. Peter’s in their season opener on November 13th, beating Holy Cross on November 16th in their home opener and then falling at Niagara on November 18th. The Bears are led in scoring by junior Steven Spieth at 12.0 points/game and rebounding by senior Cedric Kuakumensah at 13.3 rebounds/game. Kuakumensah is a two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and is 9 blocks shy of tying to Ivy League record for career blocks (252).
  • Providence was led in scoring and rebounding by Ben Bentil in their win over Illinois that was part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Bentil scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Illini.
  • Opening Line: Providence -14.5

Game Preview

Ed Cooley is 2-2 in his career at Providence against the crosstown Brown Bears. One loss came in the 2012-13 season at Brown’s Pizzitola Center with the other being last season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Last year’s loss was largely due to Brown’s hot shooting from beyond the arc. The Bears made 10 3-pointers on 23 attempts, while the Friars were just 4/19. Brown also shot a much better percentage from the free throw line — something that was a problem last time out for the Friars against Illinois — at nearly 80%.

Brown returns 4 starters from that team, including two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah. The Bears come in at 1-2 on the season with the losses both coming on the road at St. Peter’s and at Niagara. The win was the home opener against Holy Cross.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

  • Kris Dunn – Junior
  • Junior Lomomba – Junior
  • Ryan Fazekas – Freshman
  • Rodney Bullock – Sophomore
  • Ben Bentil – Sophomore
  • Tavon Blackmon – Junior
  • Jason Massey – Sophomore
  • Justin Massey – Sophomore
  • Steven Spieth – Junior
  • Cedric Kuakumensah – Senior

Kris Dunn should have a bounce back game against Brown after struggling to get into a rhythm on the offensive end against Illinois due to foul trouble and Illinois’ defensive strategy of throwing two and three guys Dunn’s way every possession. Dunn scored 16 points, dished out 8 assists, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 3 steals last season against the Bears. He also had 6 turnovers, which is something I don’t expect to see on Saturday night.

Brown killed the Friars from downtown last year but they have struggled so far this season from beyond the arc, shooting just 26.7% as a team through 3 games. A look at Providence’s raw offensive numbers isn’t much better but has been able to keep turnovers down and get offense off of steals and other turnovers to help supplement their 39.1% field goal shooting so far.

I think the x-factor for Providence in this game will be Rodney Bullock. He is a mismatch for many teams Providence will face this season but definitely for a Brown team that runs 3 guards and 6’6 Steven Spieth at the 4 spot. I expect Bullock to go for 20+ like he did against Providence’s other Ivy League opponent in the opener against Harvard.

Prediction: Providence 74 Brown 62

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