Pirates drop third straight, lose to Providence 74-69
The men’s basketball team fell to Providence for its third straight loss Tuesday night, 74-69.
The first half was quiet, with the score only 15-11 at the midway point in favor of Seton Hall. The Pirates found success on defense against the Friars, senior Bryce Cotton in particular. The senior guard was held to only 7 points in the opening period.
However, as the first half minutes came to a close, Cotton and the Friars found a spark, and did not look back the rest of the game. A dunk by Cotton in the closing seconds of the first half gave the Friars a 28-26 lead.
17 of Cotton’s 24 points came in the second half, including an impressive 11-12 shooting performance from the free-throw line.
“I’ve been so impressed with what that young man has done,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “It’s been amazing what he has done for that program and university.”
Providence ran away from the Pirates in the second half, going on scoring runs the Pirates could not find an answer to. The Pirates cut the deficit to 45-43 off a 3-pointer by Brian Oliver, but the Friars found ways to keep answering back. Multiple timeout calls by Kevin Willard could not get the Friars out of their groove.
The Pirates were also without their leading man as senior Fuquan Edwin was out with a bruised thumb.
“It’s tough man,” freshman Jaren Sina said. “He’s our go-to guy, he’s our leader. I thought we battled and made the best of it, but it’s tough not having him.”
This loss for the Pirates means they are locked into playing on day one of the Big East Tournament in a couple of weeks. Sina summed up what the teams focus is moving forward.
“The way I look at it, especially as a guard, is we just have to go into practice tomorrow and try to spark things up and get ready for the Big East Tournament,” Sina said. “I think that is the most important thing for us.”
Sina finished with 11 points in 31 minutes.
The Friars got key contributions from a strong supporting cast as well. Senior Kadeem Batts added 14 points and 11 rebounds and junior LaDontae Henton finished with 13 points.
For the Pirates, sophomore Sterling Gibbs tallied 20 points to lead Seton Hall’s scoring. Senior Eugene Teague had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
As mentioned, the Pirates have now dropped three straight and six of the last seven games. With the loss, the highest the Pirates can finish in the Big East regular season standing is seventh.
The 14-15 Pirates will return to action Monday night when they take on the Xavier Musketeers at 7 p.m. at the Prudential Center, Senior Day for Seton Hall. Fuquan Edwin is “questionable,” according to Kevin Willard.
David Heim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.