PROVIDENCE – Despite a lack of depth, a single point lead at the half turned into 15 by the end of the game, as the Providence College Friars hammered the Rhode Island Rams inside for a 72-57 win Thursday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
URI (2-7) had no answer inside for center Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton, who both scored on hooks, post-ups and put-backs throughout the game’s 40 minutes.
Henton finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds, and also picked off four passes. Batts had a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds.
Providence (7-2) leading scorer Bryce Cotton visibly struggled with a knee injury most of the game, running at half speed. By the end of the game, Cotton was limping, although the Friars were forced to keep him in the game because of foul outs by Batts and Brice Kofane.
However, Cotton worked well as a decoy and facilitator. Although he only had 11 points, he finished with seven assists. Guard Josh Fortune was the fourth Friar who logged at least 39 minutes, and finished with 17 points and five steals.
In contrast, the Rams struggled to score, as leading scorer Xavier Munford finished with just 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting. Munford missed all eight 3-point shots he took.
The Rams’ other wings – Andre Malone, Nikola Malesevic and Mike Powell – also shot under 40 percent, as the Rams shot 38.5 percent as a team. URI also struggled keeping control of the ball, as they had 20 turnovers, even though the Friars played a 2-3 zone the entire game because of their roster.
Freshman center Jordan Hare was the lone bright spot for the Rams, as even Providence head coach Ed Cooley said after the game that he was a special talent.
Hare finished with 14 points, on a variety of put-backs and inside hooks, to lead the Rams in scoring. He tied with four others with four rebounds, for the team-high, as the Friars held a 41-28 margin on the boards.
Thursday’s attendance was 9,344. Include amongst the crowd were Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee and Senator James Langevin.
Both teams have a break until their next games. The Rams host Southern Methodist University (8-1) – and new head coach and NBA legend Larry Brown – Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. The Friars host Colgate (3-6) 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18.