Dec. 1, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men's basketball team played in its SEC-BIG EAST Challenge game and earned a 73-63 win against Mississippi State on Dec. 1. The game was the first meeting for the two teams. With the win, PC helped the BIG EAST clinch the the SEC-BIG EAST Challenge with three more games yet to be played. The BIG EAST leads, 7-2.
A combination of Mississippi State turnovers and Providence shooting (83 percent) from the field resulted in a Friar's 13-1 run in the first four minutes of the first half. Mississippi State senior Wendell Lewis was the Bulldogs' offensive presence during the half, with a quick six points to end the run. Lewis ended the half as Mississippi State's leading scorer with 10 points. Providence junior Kadeem Batts (Powder Springs, Ga.) shot 7-9 during the first half and scored 16 points in the first 20 minutes. The Friars held the Bulldogs to just 21 points in the first half. Mississippi State shot just 19.2 percent.
Junior Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.) saw zero minutes during the second half after going down hard on his knee towards the end of the first half. Freshman Josh Fortune (Hampton, Va.) took over at point guard, and contributed seven points and seven assists on the day. The Friars extended their lead to 26 points during the second half, but Mississippi State was able to bring the game within six points with a minute left in the game. With a pair of made free throws from sophomore LaDontae Henton (Lansing, Mich.), Providence went up by eight. Then, Mississippi made their second three-point shot of the game to bring them within five points which was the closest margin since 17:53 in the first half. The Friars free throw shooting saved the game, and they were able to pull off the victory.
Batts had a career high 32 points and added eight rebounds. Henton also finished in double figures with 18 points. Junior Ted Bancroft (Marion, Mass.) also had a career high day with four points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Friars will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 6 versus Rhode Island at the Dunkin' Donuts Center at 7 p.m.