Dec. 2, 1997

    Providence Falls in the Great Eight Classic

    Ben Perkins
    Ben Perkins scored 15 for the Friars.

    CHICAGO, Ill.--The Providence College Friars coming off their worst game of the season against Boston College Sunday night, turned things around with an heroic effort against the 10th ranked University of Utah Utes Tuesday night in the Great Eight Tournament. PC dropped a 64-58 decision to the bigger and taller Utes, but gained valuable experience in the game.

    PC was hammered on the boards by a 43-17 margin, but used their quickness and speed to force 21 Utah turnovers.

    The Friars got 15 points from freshman forward Ben Perkins who also pulled down six rebounds while playing against Utah's 6-10 Michael Doleac. Jamel Thomas was held to 14 points while Kendrick Moore added 12 and Llewellyn Cole chipped in ten points. Utah was led by Hanno Mattola with 17 points and nine rebounds, Doleac had 13 points with eight boards and Andre Miller scored 11 while dishing out seven assists.

    The loss drops PC to 2-2 on the season while Utah is now 6-0 on the season. PC returns to action on December 9th when they face the Rhode Island Rams at the Providence Civic Center in a game that is URI's home game.

    The lead changed hands for the first 14 minutes of the first half when the Friars went cold. PC led 21-20 when the Utes went on a 15-4 run to open a 35-25 lead with 2:17 left in the first half on the way to a 39-31 halftime lead.

    In the second half, the Friars battled back behind the shooting of Moore and Perkins. Whe Perkins nailed a 22-foot three point shot at the 9:29 mark, the Utah lead was down to one at 45-44. That was as close as it would get as Utah's size began to wear the Friars down. The lead went back to 11 with 1:15 left but the Friars never let up. Moore's layup with seven seconds left was as close as the Friars would get at 64-58.

    PC shot 41.2% (21-51) in the game while Utah was held to 22-50 for a 44% shooting rate. The Friars tough defense was led by Corey Wright who had three steals in the game.

    T.J. McKenzie made his first start of the season, but was slapped with three quick fouls in the first half and ended up playing just six minutes. Erron Maxey added five points off the bench and Ndongo N'Diaye scored a pair and blocked two shots in nine minutes of playing time.

    Experience. It's a great thing to have. Just ask the Boston College Eagles. Sunday night at the Providence Civic Center, BC's veteran trio of Duane Woodward, Mickey Curley and Antonio Granger guided the Eagles through a slow start on the way to a 78-62 win over the young and inexperienced Friars.

    Woodward led the Eagles with 24 points and six assists while Granger added 18, with seven rebounds and seven assists and Curley chipped in 16 with eight rebounds to help improve Boston College to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in BIG EAST play.

    Jamel Thomas led Providence with 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Friars fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in league play in front of 9,704 at the Providence Civic Center.

    After a sluggish start that had Providence trailing just 12-10 at 13:30 of the first half, Boston College went on a 13-7 run to open the game for keeps. Woodward hit a layup, a three-pointer and a pair of free throws as the Friars consistently turned the ball over on the way to 13 first half turnovers. The run improved BC to a 25-17 lead that they would never relinquish.

    Woodward and Curley each had ten first half points as Boston College shot 58.6% in the first half. PC was ice cold shooting 34.5% (10-29) and trailed by 13 at the half, 39-26. Thomas (12 points) and Llewellyn Cole (8 points) combined for 20 of the team's 26 points.

    T.J. McKenzie gave the Friars an early lift off the bench scoring four of his six points as PC cut the lead to nine at 41-32 with 17:55 left in the second half, but that was as close as the Friars would get as red-hot shooting by Boston College (14-22, 63.6%) in the second half sealed the Friars fate.

    Bright spots for the Friars included Cole with a career high 12 points and a career best nine rebounds in the game. Erron Maxey, for the second game in a row, came off the bench to spark PC with a career best 12 points and added five rebounds.

    PC outrebounded Boston College by a 38-30 margin. Those totals included 19 offensive rebounds but the Friars could only shoot 36.4% from the floor including a two-for -16 night from behind the three-point arc.

    The Friars won't have much time to dwell on the loss as they travel to Chicago to participate in the Great Eight Classic on Tuesday night. Providence will face 16th-ranked Utah (5-0) in the first game on December 2nd from the United Center. Friar fans can catch that game on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. rival Brown shows that the Friars won the game by 34 points. For the 8,704 fans at the Providence Civic Center, it was two games in one.

    The first half saw the Friars come out as cold as ice, hitting just 29.6% of their shots on the way to a 26-20 halftime lead. PC trailed by as many as seven in the first half, 16-9 with 8:42 left, but never got off the game plan and kept banging the boards on the way to a six-point halftime lead.

    A three-point shot by Brown's Kamal Rountree gave the Bears that lead, but they would score just four more points in the half and just 17 in the game. Jamel Thomas made five of six free throws in a 4:04 stretch and Corey Wright added a three-point bomb to put PC ahead at 19-18, a lead the Friars never gave up.

    As cold as PC was in the first half, they were just as hot to start the second stanza.