Friars take 2 OT thriller, beat Marquette 81-80

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


On Senior Night, the two biggest shots of the game for the Providence Friars may have come from a sophomore.

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Josh Fortune’s two second half four-point plays were big, absolutely. But it was Senior Night after all, and Bryce Cotton made the most of his last regular season game at home…leading a fierce Friar effort on the floor against the Marquette Golden Eagles. Cotton hit two free throws with 7 seconds remaining in double overtime for the margin of victory in a wild 81-80 win at the Dunkin Donuts Center Tuesday night.

“I think we had the game won three different times in regulation and the first overtime and then we were really fortunate to win in the second overtime,” Friar coach Ed Cooley said in the post-game aftermath. Fortunate, however, doesn’t tell the whole story.

That the game even came down to Cotton’s free throw attempts was indicative of the way the game was played on both sides. Marquette held an 80-77 lead with 28 seconds left in the 2nd OT, when LaDontae Henton drove the lane for a score to make it a one point game. With the clock down to nine seconds, MU’s Jake Thomas took the inbounds pass but was tied up on the play – not fouled – by Cotton. With the possession arrow belonging to PC after the crucial turnover, Tyler Harris found Cotton for the inbound pass, as he was bumped off the ball by MU's Derrick Wilson. Following the free throws, Todd Mayo missed an off-balance three-pointer just before the buzzer, giving the Friars more than just a hard-fought win.

It was exhausting and exhilarating, too…all at the same time.

With an early 16-6 lead in the opening eight minutes of the game, it appeared as if the Golden Eagles would need to make it an ugly game to get back in it and have their shot. And they did just that…a 21-11 run over the next 10 minutes put the clamps on the PC offense, which managed to regain the lead at the half as Henton hit a buzzer-beating jumper for a 29-27 lead. In the second half with the score tied at 41-41, five straight Cotton points sent Providence on an 11-0 run, punctuated by a Josh Fortune 4-point play to take command of the game at 52-41, with 8:48 left.

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Marquette, however, never gave in. Relentless rebounding on the offensive glass, and a late-arriving shooting touch sent the Golden Eagles off on a 15-3 run, grabbing their first lead since early in the game at 56-55 with 1:41 to play. Davonte Gardner inside, Mayo outside – with Mayo hitting a clutch trey to cap the comeback, had PC reeling. After two Cotton misses, sophomore guard Fortune came up with a second 4-pointer in the half…this one with 24 seconds left on the clock, as Mayo knocked him to the floor on a fade-away from the corner. Incredibly, the Friars suddenly found themselves up by three…until Fortune returned the favor and fouled Mayo on a subsequent three-point attempt. The junior calmly hit all three at the line to tie the score at 59, Cotton missed a trey that could have won it and then Gardner chucked up a half-court shot that went in, yet upon review, was waived off to send the game into overtime.

Even with that wild finish, the night had just begun. Fortune hit another three for a 68-65 PC lead that looked as if it might hold, until Marquette’s Jake Thomas buried his first basket of the game from outside of the three-point stripe with 1:06 left, and following a Cotton jumper, Mayo canned another trey to give MU a 71-70 lead with 29 seconds left. Carson Desrosiers managed to hit one of two from the line, and the game stretched into a second extra five minutes.

After another Thomas three, and an inside move from Gardner put the Golden Eagles back in the lead at 78-77, a Henton missed three gave MU the ball and momentum. Mayo hit two more free throws with 28 seconds remaining to put his team up by three, and that’s when the heroics started, all over again.

Senior Night should be one to remember for some time to come.

Friar Notes

12 of the Friars’ 30 games this season have been decided by five points or less, or in overtime…PC is now 8-4 in those games…in a quick check of the record book, it’s believed this is the first time in 87 years of Friar basketball for at least four games to go into double overtime. The Friars are also the first team in the history of the Big East to play four double OT conference games in a single season (2-2). Providence has now played six overtime games overall, with a 3-3 record in games that require extra time…Cotton led PC with 25 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in playing all 50 minutes – the 4th time he’s played a 50-minute game this year…Henton scored 20 points with a season high 16 rebounds, his 3rd double-double and the 23rd of his career, while Fortune finished with 15 points (all in the 2nd half and OT) and Kadeem Batts scored 12 before fouling out in the first extra period…Marquette had four players reach double figures, three with double-doubles. Mayo finished with a career high 26 points and 11 rebounds, Jamil Wilson 11 points and 14 boards and Gardner scored 15 points with 10 rebounds…MU outrebounded PC 54-39, with 21 offensive rebounds…Providence (20-10, 10-7 Big East) finished with 13 blocks, led by Desrosiers with five and Batts with three…the win snaps a 10-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles, and is the first for the Friars over MU since a home win January 4th, 2007…the 20th win gives PC its first 20-win season since 2004, and the first 10-win conference record since ’08-’09…Marquette falls to 17-13, 9-8 in Big East play, and finishes their regular season at home this weekend with St. John’s…PC finishes its regular season with quite a challenge Saturday night, playing at 13th ranked Creighton in Omaha, NE on their Senior Night in an 8:00 pm tip off (7:40 pre-game on 103.7 FM and…


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