GAME NOTES: Both the Seton Hall Pirates and Providence Friars look to extend their early-season success as they meet at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in the Big East Conference opener for both squads.
Seton Hall has won five of its last six games and has exploded out to a 9-4 start this season, which includes the two-game win streak the Pirates are currently enjoying. Seton Hall is coming off a lopsided 90-58 win over Lafayette.
Providence had won three in a row prior to the team's matchup with Massachusetts on Dec. 28. The Friars lost an overtime battle to the nationally-ranked Minutemen, 69-67, on the road, the team's third loss of the season.
This will be the 93rd meeting between Seton Hall and Providence. Providence owns a slim two-game advantage over the Pirates, 47-45, including a 25-13 mark in Providence. The Friars won both matchups with the Pirates last season.
Seton Hall had no trouble handling the overmatched Leopards on Dec. 27, as the Pirates cruised to a 90-58 win behind Eugene Teague's 18 points and 11 rebounds - his fifth double-double in the last six games. Teague only played 19 minutes and left with an injury, but still managed to record the double- double against Lafayette. It was the largest margin of victory for Seton Hall since the team's 79-47 victory over Providence in the 2012 Big East tournament. Fellow forward Brandon Mobley scored 16 points and also recorded 11 rebounds in the win, his first double-double of the season. Brian Oliver wasn't too far behind a double-double pace, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds. Seton Hall took a 32-point lead into the locker room, and didn't let its lead dip below 30 the rest of the way.
Oliver and Teague are third and fourth on the team in scoring this season, sporting an 11.7 and 10.8 ppg average, respectively. Teague is the team leader in rebounds, pulling down 9.4 rpg. Sterling Gibbs leads the Pirates in scoring with 15.9 ppg, and leads the team in assists with 47. Five Pirates players average double-digit scoring figures.
The Friars fell to UMass Saturday on a put-back by Minutemen guard Derrick Gordon with one second to play in the overtime period. A win would have represented the first road victory against a ranked opponent for Providence since the 2004 season. Senior Bryce Cotton scored a game-high 24 points for the Friars on 8-of-18 shooting from the floor. UMass gained a 10-point lead twice in the second half, but Providence managed to battle back and tie the score on a Cotton layup with 10 seconds to play in regulation. Tyler Harris scored 16 points for Providence, while LaDontae Henton recorded 13. The Friars shot 39 percent from the floor as a team in the loss.
Cotton leads the team in scoring this season with 19.5 ppg, followed by Harris (13.8 ppg) and Kadeem Batts (12.6 ppg). Cotton also leads the program in assists this season with 73, and ranks 32nd in the country with a 5.7 apg clip. Henton and Batts both average over seven rebounds per game for the Friars. Both Cotton and Harris shoot over 90 percent from the free-throw line, and both have attempted over 50 shots from the charity stripe in 13 games played.
The Friars will be looking to bounce back after a tough loss at Massachusetts. In a tight Big East Conference opener, the home team should prevail.
Game Date and Time