Nov. 18, 1997

Friars Edge Vermont in Season Opener

Jamel Thomas Leads Friars With 25 Points

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Jamel Thomas scored a game high 25 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and freshmen John Linehan and Ben Perkins added 13 and 10 respectively to help Providence College to a 67-63 season opening win against the University of Vermont.

Vermont was led by freshman guard Tony Orciari with 15 points while Tobe Carberry added 11 and Craig Peper had 10 as the Catamounts battled the Friars until the final buzzer.

The Friars are now 1-0 on the season and return to action on Tuesday, November 25th when they host Brown University in a 7:30 p.m. game.

PC struggled throughout the first half shooting just 33.3% (9-27) and trailed 32-30 at the intermission. UVM struggled also with an 11-29 (37.9%) first half, but made four of 11 three pointers to lead by as many as six in the half. Thomas had 12 of his game high 25 points to keep PC in the game.

The Friars went ahead to stay in the second half with 15:23 left in the game. Following a Ndongo N'Diaye slam dunk, Thomas added a pair of free throws to give Providence a 41-39 lead. Vermont hung tough though and never let PC get more than four points ahead until the final few seconds. Orciari scored all 15 of his points in the second half making a pair of threes in his four field goals and five free throws.

Perkins and Thomas dominated the boards for Providence with 12 and 11 rebounds each and both players turning in double-doubles in the season opener. PC outrebounded the Cats by a 41-36 margin, but were outshot 40.4% to 36.5%.

The Friars were without freshman center T.J. McKenzie who sat out the game with a sprained right wrist which he suffered during practice earlier in the week.

The win improves Providence to 63-8 all-time in season opening games. When that season opener is at home, the Friars are 49-3. Overall in just home openers, the Black and White are 66-5 all-time. PC has now won four season openers in a row. The last loss came on November 26, 1993 at Oklahoma State (113-102 in ot).

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