Nov. 8, 1997
Friars Rally to Defeat Washington D.C. Explorers
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-The Providence College Friars rallied from an 11-point deficit with 5:18 left in the game to defeat the Washington D.C. Explorers, 74-71, in a college basketball preseason game in front of 8,117 fans at the Providence Civic Center.
Junior Jamel Thomas, despite a cold shooting night (5-21 from the floor) led the Friars with 19 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Llewellyn Cole added 18 points and seven rebounds while freshman Ben Perkins added 14 and junior guard Corey Wright added 11 to give PC four players in double figures.
Devon Williams led the Explorers with 19 points, Mike Geilen added 13 and Arne Duncan had 12. Williams also led D.C. with six rebounds. The Explorers shot 62.5% (15-24) in the second half to erase a 33-31 Providence halftime lead. For the game, D.C. was 26-51 for a 51.0% shooting night.
Providence shot just 33.3% (21-63) in the game, but made 30 of 39 free throws to keep the game close to set up the rally to win the game. PC also won the battle of the boards with a 41-29 edge in the game.
The Friars, who struggled offensively the entire night saw their slim halftime lead disappear early in the second half when Neil Phillips and Mike Geilen hit back-to-back threes to cap a 12-1 run that turned a 42-35 PC lead into a 47-43 Explorer lead. Geilen would add two more threes as Washington went up, 59-48 with 8:08 left in the game.
At that point, Friars' coach Pete Gillen went to a quicker lineup that put pressure on D.C. The Explorers kept the lead at 11 on easy layups by Malcolm Hollensteiner and a pair by Arne Duncan before the PC press took hold.
Over the last 5:16, the Friars went on a 20-6 run to pull out the game. Perkins led the way with eight big points down the stretch. His two free throws with 1:15 left cut the lead to 69-68 and Corey Wright put the Friars ahead to stay with a steal and a layup with 57 seconds left to give PC a 70-69 lead. Thomas added four free throws down the stretch to seal the close win for the Friars.
Perkins led the Friars with four steals while Kendrick Moore and John Linehan each had five assists in the game.
The Friars return to action in another preseason game on Wednesday, November 12th when they host the Around The World All-Stars at the Providence Civic Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.