March 14, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. The Providence College men's basketball team defeated Seton Hall in the BIG EAST Semifinals, 80-74, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Junior LaDontae Henton(Lansing, Mich.) led the Friars with 26 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season and second consecutive in the BIG EAST Tournament. His 26 points were a season-high.
Providence (22-11, 10-8) will play in the Championship Game for the second time in program history. The team's only BIG EAST Championship game came in 1994 where the Friars defeated Georgetown, 74-64, on March 13.
Tonight's win snapped a Seton Hall four-game BIG EAST Tournament winning streak over the Friars. The previous Friars' win over the Pirates came on March 6, 1985 (77-75 OT).
The first half started off back-and-forth with seven lead changes. Providence then put together a 12-0 run to grab a 25-14 lead with 11:30 left in the frame. Seton Hall (17-17, 6-12) used a 9-3 run to pull within four points at the end of the stanza. Henton had a number of hustle plays, pulling down six rebounds and tallying two steals in addition to his 15 first-half points. Junior Brice Kofane(Yaounde, Cameroon) also was strong on the boards with five rebounds of his own. For the half, the Friars shot 50 percent from the floor and held the Pirates to 39 percent.
In the second half, Seton Hall trimmed Providence's lead to one (46-45) with 13:23 remaining in the game. The Friars soon increased their lead to nine (56-47) after sophomore Tyler Harris (Dix Hills, N.Y.) hit a 3-pointer. Henton hit back-to-back threes to give the Friars a 64-53 lead with 7:18 left in the game. The Pirates again chipped away at the Friars' lead. With under a minute remaining in the game, with the score 74-69, Henton connected on a tough layup to make the score 76-69. The Friar defense then forced an errant shot by the Pirates and Harris sunk two free throws (78-69). Seton Hall followed by connecting on a two-pointer and then a three-pointer to bring the score to 78-74 (00:10. Senior Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.) was then whistled for an offensive foul and a turnover. In the ensuing play, sophomore Josh Fortune(Hampton, Va.) played tight defense on senior Fuquan Edwin and grabbed the rebound off of Edwin's missed shot and hit two free throws to seal the game at 80-74.
Both teams shot 48 percent from the field in the second half. The Friars had a 37-31 advantage in rebounds.
Cotton also registered a double-double, his third of the year, with 18 points and a BIG EAST career-high 10 assists. Harris reached double figures in scoring with 17 points on the night.
Edwin led the Pirates scoring with 20 points. Redshirt sophomore Sterling Gibbs and redshirt senior Eugene Teague scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
It is the first time since 1996-97 that Providence has won 22 games a season. The 1996-97 team finished the year with a 24-12 mark.
The Friars will return to action on Saturday, March 15 in the BIG EAST Tournament Championship game in New York City at Madison Square Garden. Providence will play the winner of the Creighton/Xavier game. The Championship game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
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