Notes and Quotes: Providence Beats Butler in Big East Tourney Quarterfinals

Providence took care of business in the 4/5 game of the 2016 Big East Tournament quarterfinals by beating Butler, 74-60. The Friars got a school record tying 38 points from Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn scored 15 points while dishing out 7 assists. The Friars will take on top seeded Villanova in a re-match of the 2015 Big East Tournament semifinals. Here are some notes and quotes from today’s game:

  • This was Ben Bentil’s 20th game this season with 20 or more points. It was also his 5th game with 30 or more points. He tied Providence’s school record for points in a Big East Tournament that was set by Jamine “Greedy” Peterson who scored 38 points against Seton Hall in the 2010 Big East Tournament. Bentil has now scored 20 or more points in 5 straight games, a streak he has had 2 other times this season. During this iteration of the streak, Bentil is averaging 29.4 points/game.
  • Jalen Lindsey scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds against Butler. Lindsey is averaging 16.3 points/game and 4.5 rebounds/game in his last 4 outings.
  • Kyron Cartwright had 6 assists and 0 turnover against Butler. In his last 5 games, Cartwright is averaging 6.0 assists/game and just 0.8 turnovers/game. That’s nearly three times as good of an assist to turnover ratio than his average over the course of the season.
  • Rodney Bullock led Providence with 9 rebounds against Butler. This was his 20th game season with 6 or more rebounds.
  • Providence shot 55% from the field against Butler. This is their second game in a row shooting 50% and their 6th game overall this season shooting 50% or better. These last two games mark their only games shooting 50% from the field against a Big East opponent.
  • Providence had 6 blocks against Butler. That’s their second highest block total this season, a number they’ve equaled 4 other times in 2015-16. Their season high is 7 against Seton Hall on January 16th.
  • Providence only got to the free throw line 8 times against Butler. That’s a season low for the Friars and the first time they didn’t have double-digit free throw attempts.
  • Ed Cooley’s opening statement of the postgame press conference:

Really, really proud of our kids. Proud of the way we came out, withstood a run. We try to pride ourselves on not giving up threes; 7-for-10 in the first half that they made. 2-from-18 for twos. We chart those things.

As the game went I thought we had great rhythm today. Kris great leadership. Ben, I told them in the locker room, I was a fan today. Normally I’m not a fan, but today literally I was a fan to see the ball going in the net like that, and he scored it every imaginable way — drives, shots, step-backs. I’m like, man, I got to get him the ball any way I can.

Kris came in the huddle and said, “Where do we get him the ball next? Can we throw him the ball here?” I said, “Kris, I don’t know. Give him the ball. He’ll figure it out.”

That was a great offensive display. I haven’t seen that in a long, long time in our league. God bless him. Proud to advance. Really happy for our team, happy for our school.

Butler was playing as well as anybody in the country. As well as anybody. Definitely, definitely a tournament team. I thought today’s game was more about seeding for each of us. You know, but we’re going to face another tough team tomorrow. But that Butler team is really, really hard to prepare for when they shoot the ball like that.

We’re looking forward to advancing. Hopefully we can play well tomorrow.

  • Kris Dunn on identifying the hot hand and continuing to feed it:

It was simple: Don’t shy away from it. If you see somebody has a hot hand, try to get him the ball in the best spot that he can score in. Congrats to Ben. He did an amazing job today.

  • Cooley on his team’s defensive effort:

Our guys were dialed in the last couple of days preparing. We’re hungry. We’re trying to get better. We went through a spell where we weren’t healthy. There was a lot of question marks around our team. Our guys have some grit and fight. When people doubt you, you can’t doubt people who are hungry. I think our kids played today with passion and a purpose. They followed a scouting report. They followed a plan.

  • Ben Bentil on how he responded to Cooley saying he was a fan today:

I said, “Thank you.” Because he did a great job to get me the ball at the right spots. Thank God the ball went in. I said, “Thank you.”

  • Bentil on if any particular matchup was to his liking:

From the beginning of the season Coach told me I’m going to be a match-up nightmare. I let that sink in. I did. I tried to take advantage of whoever was put on me, I tried to make the best out of it.

  • Bentil on what’s allowing him to score so prodigiously, especially in March:

I would say my teammates. Playing with a great teammate like Kris, he will get you the ball in the right spot. When you have a hot hand, he’ll make sure the ball is in your hand. It’s all on my teammates.

  • Cooley on his team being refreshed after a period of illness and injury:

We had a triage center for about four weeks. Guys with a virus that went through our team. All teams go through it. As we’re trying to build our depth, our younger guys I thought got a little better during that time. He was on his ankle for about two- and-a-half, three weeks.

So I think when we’re healthy, I think we’re a tough out. There’s no mistaking our identity is Kris and Ben. But I think our younger guys are growing and developing as well. They’ll have their time hopefully some time soon.

  • Dunn on how Bentil has improved and changed his game over the last year:

I mean, he’s been doing an amazing job in the summer. He was working out. You could definitely see the improvement in his game. He got quick feet. So a lot of five men can’t guard him. He improved his shot. Everybody can see it. He was shooting phenomenal. He was shooting the ball lights out today. He’s actually kind of quick. He can take the guys off the bounce, as he showed today. You can see the hard work he put in. I’m just happy it paid off for him.

Ben is a great person. He’s a great leader for us. Congrats to him.

  • Dunn on facing Villanova in the semifinals on Friday:

We’re going to have to bring our “A” game. This is a disciplined game. They have a lot of shooters. We’re going to have to go out there and play with that same energy we had. That joy and go out and fight. I really think this is going to be a street fight. That’s how we’re going to have to do it. Go out there and fight and hit shots and make big stops.

  • Bentil on whether he had any feeling that today would be a special day:

Every day is special for me. Just waking out of bed, seeing my teammates is special. So coming out there to play felt special already.

  • Dunn on whether he’s becoming more trusting of his teammates late in the season:

I always trust my teammates throughout the whole season. As a point guard you have to know when to score and when to get the ball to your guys. Really, they’ve been stepping up huge down the stretch. Really always trust my teammates. I believe in my guys and I know what they can do.

  • Cooley on the supporting cast:

I don’t think Kyron is getting enough attention to what he’s bringing to our team. Six assists, no turnovers. Didn’t shoot it well from the floor. He gives us a different pace. He gives us a different look. He’s really, really fast. Jalen making a couple of big shots for us today. Even Drew came up with a big deflection. Didn’t play much. Ryan is a threat on the floor. We’re just trying to enjoy March. We’re trying to will our team to be the best that we can be. You’re playing in the – “the” – greatest tournament in America in the Big East, and the greatest tournament venue here at MSG. I hope all of you that are writing here today understand that these kids are special, but our league is more special.

  • Chris Holtmann on how they felt coming out of halftime:

I think we closed the half well. I don’t know that I ever felt like we necessarily had the momentum. I think we closed the half well.

But listen, we just — we couldn’t get the stops when we needed to get the stops. We just couldn’t. And we had no answer for Bentil. We had zero answer. We threw the house at him a few times. We tried to play zone. We had no answer for him. He was outstanding.

  • Holtmann on the game plan coming in against Bentil and what he did differently today:

You know, I think he and Kris are match-up issues for us. So we were trying to double him and trap him. We weren’t early enough on some of our traps. But he scored through our traps some, too. And when he’s shooting it, he got a couple of threes in the zone, but a lot of them were in our man. So we were trying to bring another guy to him on his bounce, and sometimes we were there. Other times he caught it deep enough and scored over our guys.

So listen, he’s a good player. He’s going to play in the NBA. They are going to have two guys here that are going to play in the NBA hopefully soon.

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