Jan. 27, 1998

    Jamel Thomas
    Jamel Thomas poured in 26 for the Friars against UConn.

    Friars' Upset Falls Short

    Game Stats

    PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The Providence College Friars and the ninth-ranked Connecticut Huskies scratched and clawed for 40 minutes only to see the bigger and stronger Huskies hold on for a hard-fought, 63-56 win at the Providence Civic Center Tuesday night.

    Junior forward Jamel Thomas (game and season high 26) and freshman forward Erron Maxey (16 points) combined for 42 of PC's 56 points, but it wasn't enough as UConn got double-doubles from sophomores Kevin Freeman (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Jake Voskuhl (10 points, 11 rebounds).

    The loss drops PC to 8-10 overall and 3-6 in BIG EAST play. UConn is now 18-3 overall and 8-2 in the league.

    Things started out slowly for the Friars as they couldn't buy a basket early in the game. The Friars trailed 14-4 at the 11:05 mark of the first half before they got things rolling offensively. The Friars went on an 11-1 run of their own that covered 3:10 of the first half and tied the game at 15-15. Justin Farley had five of his seven points during the run, while Thomas had four and Maxey two.

    UConn recovered quickly and scored ten straight points to open a 25-15 lead with 4:15 left in the half, but Maxey had five and Thomas four of the Friars final nine points in the half to cut the UConn lead to 28-24 at the break. PC's late surge improved their shooting to 45.5% for the half while the Huskies shot just nine-of-27 for a 33.3% success rate. It was on the boards where UConn dominated, grabbing 25 to the Friars' 11 in the half.

    The two teams traded baskets early and with the Friars trailing by four, Voskuhl was called for an offensive foul at 16:51. Huskies' coach Jim Calhoun didn't like the call and was assessed a technical foul. Thomas made the two shots and the UConn lead was down to two at 34-32. Farley followed with a short jumper to tie the score at 34-34 and Thomas gave PC its first lead of the game with a slam dunk at 15:10 for a 36-34 PC lead.

    The lead would trade hands seven times over the next five minutes and the Friars trailed by one at 41-40 when John Linehan drilled a three-pointer to give the Friars a two point lead at 42-40. UConn's Khalid El-Amin answered right back with a three of his own and UConn was back on top. Monquencio Hardnett added a layup and the Huskies led46-43 with 9:16 left when things got interesting.

    With Linehan getting called for a foul on Freeman, Calhoun again picked up another technical which led to his ejection from the game. When he said something more to official Curtis Shaw on the way out, he quickly received his third technical and the Friars made the most of it.

    Thomas made all four free throws to tie the score at 47 with 8:47 left in the game. From there, the two teams hit dry spells and it would be three minutes before UConn broke the tie on a pair of Voskuhl free throws. PC had six possessions and failed to score. El-Amin hit a clutch three-pointer before the Friars scored on a nifty layup by Maxey on which he was fouled. He converted the three-point play and that was as close as the Friars would get at 52-50 with 4:13 left in the game.

    Providence outshot the Huskies on the night by a 41.9% to 38.5% margin, but UConn dominated the boards by a 43-21 margin. The Friars did an outstanding job defensively on Huskies' leading scorer, Richard Hamilton who was held to just four points and three rebounds in the game. He was averaging over 22 points per game on the season and over 24 in BIG EAST play.

    The Friars return to action on Saturday, January 31st with a 4:00 p.m. game at home against Seton Hall.

    Notes:...Ben Perkins showed signs of returning from his knee injury as he scored 13 points in 29 minutes off the bench. He was 5-7 FG, 2-2 3 PT, 1-2 FT)....Justin Farley sustained a sprained left ankle in the first half and did not return to the game. His status is day-to-day...Kendrick Moore led the Friars with six rebounds...PC came up with 12 steals while forcing 13 turnovers agains the Mountaineers. Jamel Thomas and Corey Wright each had three.

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