#11 Friars Prepare For Big East Tournament with Chip on Their Shoulder

Friar Tid Bits:

*Record in unis this season: white (9-1); black (5-1); grey (4-0); retro white (3-0); retro black (3-1); pinkout (0-1).

*The Friars missed three games with a Covid pause (12 days) before defeating Georgetown on Jan. 20.

*Friars are 4-2 vs. ranked teams – (Wins at No. 20 UConn, vs. No. 15 Seton Hall, at No. 21 Xavier, vs. No. 22 Marquette).

*The Friars are 3-0 in overtime games this season.

*The Friars won 14 games in BIG EAST play for the FIRST time ever.

*The Friars are 10-2 in games decided by five points or less.

*Since the 2013-14 season (nine years, the Friars are 67-27 (.713) in games decided by 5 points or less.

*The Friars won the BIG EAST regular season title for the FIRST time ever.

*The Friars will open the BIG EAST Tournament on Thurs, March 10 at 12 p.m. vs. the winner of the 8/9 game.

*The Friars are attempting to reach 25 wins in a season for the first time since 1986-87 (25-9).

*The Friars have earned 20 wins in a season for the 1st time since 2017-18 and the 6th time under Ed Cooley.

*The Friars have won 20 or more games in a season for the 28th time.

*Ed Cooley is 14-9 all-time at Providence while coaching in Madison Square Garden.

*The Friars are 66-62 all-time in Madison Square Garden.

*The Friars finished the season with a 16-1 mark at home, which is the best mark since 1973-74 (16-0).

*The Friars have suffered all four of their losses this season on Tuesdays (3-4).

*Jared Bynum is the 1st BIG EAST player in 25 years with 3 games of 25+ points off the bench in the same season.

*Friars’ top 7 players (Watson, Durham, Reeves, Horchler, Minaya, Bynum, Croswell) have played 807 college games.

*On Feb. 18, Ed Cooley was named to the Naismith Coach of the Year Watch List.

*As of March 7, the Friars had a Net Ranking of 26, which includes a 5-3 record versus Quad 1 teams.

*The Friars are ranked #11/#10 (12th week being ranked). The Friars entered the polls at #22/#23 on Dec. 20.

*The highest the Friars have been ranked this season was #8/#9 on Feb. 14 and #9/#8 on Feb. 28

*Prior to entering the poll on Dec. 20, 2021, the last time the Friars had been ranked was Feb. 22, 2016.

*AJ Reeves returned vs. Marquette on Jan. 30. He missed five games with a finger injury.

*Jared Bynum returned vs. UConn (Dec. 18) after missing four games with an ankle injury.

* Al Durham has missed two games due to an abdominal injury.

*Al Durham leads the BIG EAST in free throws made (153) and attempted (180) and minutes played (35.0).

*On March. 1 at Villanova, Nate Watson (1,701 points) became the 11th player at PC to score 1,700 or more points.

*On Jan. 23 in PC’s win over Butler, Ed Cooley surpassed Dave Gavitt as he posted his 210th win.

*Ed Cooley (218-139) trails Joe Mullaney (319-164) for all-time wins as a head coach at Providence.

*The Friars posted a 6-1 mark in Nov., a 6-0 mark in Dec., a 6-1 record in Jan. and a 6-1 mark in Feb.

*On Jan. 8 versus St. John’s, Ed Cooley earned his 300th victory (310-208) as a head coach.

*The Friars are 1-0 vs. the Big 12 this season. The Friars are 2-0 vs. the Big Ten this season.

*It marks the first time ever that the Friars have posted two wins over Big Ten teams in the same season.

*The Friars’ win over Wisconsin on Nov. 15 was just the fourth time PC has won a road game versus a Big Ten team and the first since winning at Wisconsin on December 23, 1996.

*The Friars win over No. 20/22 UConn on Dec. 18 was the team’s 700th win over a New England team (700-307).

*With the win over Marquette on Jan. 30, Ed Cooley posted the 100th BIG EAST win (106-92) of his career.

*Nate Watson was named the 2021-22 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team.

*The Friars have a team record of five graduate students on the roster this season.

*The average age of the Friars’ top seven players is 23.0 years.

*Andrew and Luke Fonts are the first brothers to suit up at the same time for the Friars in 70 years.

Friars Looking To Capture Third BIG EAST Title: In the Friars’ 42-year history at the BIG EAST Tournament, the team has captured the BIG EAST Championship title twice – 1994 and 2014. When they captured their first title, the Friars defeated Georgetown, 74-64, on March 13, 1994 in the championship game. In 2014, Providence earned a 65-58 win over Creighton in the championship game.

Friars All-Time Versus Butler: The Friars lead the all-time series versus Butler, 15-5, which includes a 2-0 mark in the BIG EAST Tournament. PC has posted a 7-2 mark at home, a 6-3 mark at Butler and a 2-0 mark on neutral courts. In the first meeting ever between the two teams, the Friars defeated the Bulldogs, 65-56, on January 21, 2014 in Providence. Butler’s first win in the series was a 68-64 victory in Providence on March 7, 2015. In the first meeting this season, the Friars defeated the Bulldogs, 69-62, in Providence on January 23. In the second meeting, the Friars overcame a 19-point second half deficit to earn a 71-70 win in overtime in Indianapolis. The last time the two teams met in the BIG EAST Tournament, the Friars earned an 80-57 win on March 13, 2019.

Friars All-Time Versus Xavier: The Friars have posted an 11-11 mark all-time versus Xavier, including a 1-0 record at the BIG EAST Tournament. The Friars have posted an 8-2 mark all-time versus Xavier in Providence, a 2-9 record versus the Musketeers at Xavier and a 1-0 mark on neutral courts. The Friars are 10-9 versus the Musketeers since they joined the BIG EAST. In the first meeting this season, the Friars defeated Xavier, 65-62, on January 26 in Cincinnati. In the most recent game between the two teams, the Friars defeated Xavier, 99-92, in triple overtime on February 23, 2022. In the only game between the two teams at the BIG EAST Tournament, the Friars posted a 75-72 overtime victory on March 9, 2018.

How The Friars Got Here: The Friars defeated Creighton, 72-51, on February 26. With the win, the Friars clinched their first ever BIG EAST Regular Season Championship. The Friars posted a program best 14 league wins. The Friars will open the BIG EAST Tournament on Thursday, March 10 at 12:00 p.m. versus the winner of the 8/9 seed game. The game will be televised on FS1.

Watson And Bynum Named All-BIG EAST Second Team: It was announced on March 6 that graduate student center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) and junior guard Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) each earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. It marks the second consecutive year that the Friars have had two players earn all-league honors as Watson and David Duke received Second Team accolades last season. Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) is leading the Friars in scoring (13.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (56.0 percent). His 56.0 percent from the floor leads the BIG EAST. Watson ranks third on the team in rebounding (5.5 rpg). He was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll four times this season. Watson has scored 20 or more points seven times in 2021-22. Watson ranks as the Friars’ all-time leader in games played, having seen action in 150 games. He ranks 11th all-time in scoring at Providence with 1,701 points (11.4 ppg). Bynum had a break out season for the Friars. He led the team in scoring in BIG EAST games, averaging 15.6 ppg in 17 games. His 15.6 points per games ranked fifth in the league. He shot a team-best 46.5 percent (33-71) from behind the three-point arc in league play. Bynum also ranked third in league in assists per game (4.9) in BIG EAST action. In overall action, he averaged 12.9 ppg and 4.5 assists per game. His 4.5 assists ranks third in the BIG EAST. He was named BIG EAST Player of the Week twice. He scored a career-high 32 points in the Friars’ win at Georgetown on February 6. He was 7-8 from three-point territory and 11-15 from the field. He came off the bench in 14 of the team’s 17 league games and became the first BIG EAST player in 25 years with three games of 25 or more points off the bench in the same season. In addition, to the 32 points at Georgetown, he also had 25 points versus DePaul on February 12 and 27 points versus Xavier on February 23.

Bynum Earns BIG EAST Sixth Man Award: It was announced on March 7 that Providence junior guard Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award. Bynum becomes the first Friar to earn the honor.

Friars Ranked No. 11/10 In The Nation: The Providence College men’s basketball team is ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 10 in the most recent Coaches Poll. Both polls were released on March 7. The Friars, who entered the polls on December 20 at No. 22/23, have been ranked for 12 consecutive weeks. The Friars were ranked No. 9/8 in both polls last week.

Ed Cooley Named To Naismith Coach Of The Year Watch List: It was announced on February 18 that Head Coach Ed Cooley was named to the 2022 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Watch List. Cooley is one of 15 candidates on the Watch List.

PC Hoops With Coach Cooley Show: The Providence College men’s basketball program has partnered with FOX Providence for PC Hoops with Coach Cooley. The 30-minute show will air the following Sundays this season (Feb. 27, March 6, March 13, and March 20) on FOX Providence at 10:30 p.m. WPRI 12 Sports Director Morey Hershgordon will host the show that will feature an exclusive interview each week with Friar Head Coach Ed Cooley, as well as features on the Friars.

Friars Earn 20 Wins For The First Time Since 2018: With the Friars’ 71-52 win at Georgetown on February 6, the team posted its 20th victory of the season. It marks the first time the team earned 20 wins in a season since 2017-18 and the sixth time under Ed Cooley (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022). It also marked, the 28th time the Friars have won 20 or more games in a season. In 2016 and 2022, the Friars registered 24 victories, which is the most wins by the Friars under Ed Cooley.

Athletic Director Bob Driscoll Announces Retirement: Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll announced on January 21 that he will retire in June after serving the College for 21 years. Driscoll has worked in collegiate athletics for 47 years.

Steve Napolillo Named Next Athletic Director: It was announced on January 26 that Steve Napolillo would be the 11th athletic director in the history of Providence College. On July 1, Napolillo will replace Bob Driscoll, who announced his retirement on January 21. Napolillo, who is the senior associate athletic director/assistant vice president for external relations, has worked at the College since 2004.

Ed Cooley Ranks Second On The PC All-Time Win List: With the Friars’ win versus Butler on January 23, 2022, Ed Cooley recorded his 210th victory as the Friar Head Coach and moved into second place on the all-time win list for PC Head Coaches. The the top three all-time winningest Friar head coaches are: Joe Mullaney (319-164), Ed Cooley (218-139, 11 seasons) and Dave Gavitt (209-84).

Friars All-Time Versus Top-25 Teams: The Friars have posted a 127-273 (.318) mark all-time versus top-25 teams, including a 4-2 mark this season.

Friars Play Their First Game In 12 Days After Covid Pause: On January 8, the Friars defeated St. John’s, 83-73. The team then went on a 12-day pause due to Covid within the program. It marked the first time in the last two seasons the Friars have had to pause due to Covid within the team. The Friars returned from the Covid pause to defeat Georgetown, 83-75, on January 20.

Friars Ranked For First Time Since 2016: When the Friars entered the polls on December 20 at No. 22/23, it marked the first time the Friars had been ranked since they were No. 24 in the Coaches Poll on February 22, 2016. It also marked the first time the team has been ranked in both polls since February 15, 2016 when the Friars were 23rd in the Associated Press Poll and 20th in the Coaches Poll.

Friars At The Dunkin’ Donuts Center: All-time, the Friars have recorded a 603-236 (.718) mark in 49 seasons of games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, formerly the Providence Civic Center, opened on November 3, 1972. The Friars had played their home games there for 48 consecutive seasons, prior to the 2020-21 season when the team played on campus at Alumni Hall with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic. PC posted a 16-1 mark at the Dunk’ this season, the team’s best record at home since 1973-74.

Veteran Lineup: The Friars’ roster features five graduate students. It marks the first time ever the Friars have had five graduate students on the roster. The Friars’ top seven players – Nate Watson (150 games), Noah Horchler (115 games), Al Durham (149 games), AJ Reeves (102 games), Jared Bynum (74 games), Justin Minaya (106 games) and Ed Croswell (111 games) have combined to play 807 collegiate games.

Brothers In The Lineup: For the first time since 1941 when Eddie and John Lee of Attleboro, Mass. suited up for the Friars, the Providence men’s basketball team will have brothers playing together. Graduate student Andrew Fonts (Portsmouth, R.I.) and his brother, freshman Luke Fonts, are the first sibling combo for the Friars in 81 years.

Essandoko, Berry and Pierre Sign NLIs To Attend PC: Ed Cooley announced on Nov. 16 that student-athletes Christ Essandoko (Paris, France), Quante Berry (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Jayden Pierre (Elizabeth, N.J.) each have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Providence College beginning in September 2022. Essandoko, a 6-foot-11-inch, 260-pound center is in his senior year at Winston-Salem Prep (N.C.). He is coached by Antonio Lowe at Winston-Salem Prep. Essandoko played for Boo Williams on the EYBL Nike Circuit. He averaged 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 62.5 percent from the field. He is ranked as the 20th best center in the country (134 overall) and the sixth best player in France, according to 247Sports.com. Rivals.com ranked Essandoko as the 150th best player in the country and the No. 23 center. Berry, a 6-foot-4-inch, 175-pound guard, also attends Winston-Salem Prep. Berry played AAU basketball for B. Maze Elite on the UAA circuit. As a sophomore, Berry averaged 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and earned All-State honors at Bradley Central High School in Tennessee, before transferring to Winston-Salem Prep. Berry is the 33rd ranked guard in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. Pierre, a 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound point guard, is in his senior year at Long Island Lutheran. He is coached by John Buck at Long Island Lutheran. Pierre played AAU basketball for Team Rio. He is ranked as the 15th-best point guard in the country and the top-ranked point guard in New Jersey, according to 247Sports.com. ESPN.com has Pierre ranked as the 39th point guard in the nation and sixth best player in New Jersey.

Nate Watson Registers His 1,000th Career Point: Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) scored his 1,000th career point on December 20, 2020 in the Friars’ win at Seton Hall. He became the 51st Friar all-time to register 1,000 career points. In 150 career games, Watson has registered 1,701 points (11.3 ppg). He ranks 11th all-time in scoring at Providence College.

Horchler Registers His 1,000th Career Point: Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) scored his 1,000th career point on March 10, 2021 in the Friars’ BIG EAST Tournament game versus DePaul. In 115 career games (61 at North Florida and 54 at Providence), Horchler has registered 1,286 points (11.2 ppg).

Friars Are 79-5 In Non-Conference Home Games Under Ed Cooley: The Friars have posted a 79-5 mark in 11 seasons under Ed Cooley in non-conference home games.

Friars In Overtime: The Friars recorded a 3-0 record in overtime games this season. On February 23, the Friars defeated Xavier, 99-92, in triple overtime. They have registered a 71-67 mark all-time in overtime games.

“DG” Patch On Friar Uniforms: In memory of former Friar Head Coach Dave Gavitt the Friars have worn a “DG” patch on their uniforms since the 2011-12 season. Gavitt led PC and Eastern basketball into the modern age. In 10 seasons as the head coach of the Friars, Gavitt led PC to 209 wins, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons, five NCAA appearances, three NIT appearances and five New England Coach of the Year honors. He led the Friars to 23 wins over Top-20 teams. His 1973 team made it to Final Four. In 1971, Gavitt was named Director of Athletics at PC, a position he held until 1982 when he resigned to be the director of the BIG EAST Conference. He also was named Head Coach of the 1980 USA Olympic basketball team. He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Providence College Basketball: The 2021-22 campaign marks the 95th season of basketball at Providence College. Since the program started in 1926-27, Providence has posted a 1,519-1,012 mark, good for a .600 winning percentage. The Friars have made the NCAA Tournament 20 times and the National Invitation Tournament on 20 occasions.

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