A Vincent Council-less Friar squad took the floor Monday night against cross-state foes Bryant…
FAST BREAK: NJIT
• Cotton Can Play the Point, but He is No Point Guard: With Council on the bench and no backup point guard Bryce Cotton had to move from the shooting guard position to the one for the remaining 35 minutes of the game. This had both positive and negative connotations to it. On the positives Cotton showed his ball handling skills and ability to facilitate has improved over last year, notably he only turned the ball over three times. However, Cotton struggled as a leader with poor decision making in crunch time and struggling to feed the ball for assists. In particular, Cotton's drives to the hoop at the end were representative of his ball handling, but his shot selection (one went over his shoulder without any focus, the other clanged underneath the rim) and decision making is not on par with what this Friar team will need to win games should Council's injury extend beyond Bryant.
• Ball Hogs: While the team played well enough to kick the ball around and avoid the one-on-five basketball seen in years past, the assist column isn't representative of that. Together, the team only totaled for 10 assists, and Cotton lead the way with four. This is one key area that made Council's game imperative to Friar success – his ability to create for players and give them the right positioning in order to score.
• Fortune's First Game Jitters: Josh Fortune, billed as a sharpshooter, only went 1-10 from the field for the day. His struggles, however, appeared more from playing his first game rather than an inability to shoot. Hesitation when the ball was in hand and glancing around the court when open for a shot were both examples of nerves getting to the freshman shooter, and this performance is best left to be because of freshman nerves.
• Offensive woes: Combined throughout the game, Providence only landed 20 of 62 field goals, including three baskets from beyond the arc. Surprisingly, the Friars – who are usually a fast team in transition and score off the fast break – only scored four points off of fast breaks. With 32.3% shooting for the game, the Friars were surprisingly successful from the charity stripe, going 21-27 (77.8%). This would be the game difference for the Friars when, with 5 seconds left, Bryce Cotton hit the game winner from the free throw line.
• Frontcourt Curiosities: After two exhibition games it appeared that the frontcourt woes were headed in the right direction after last season, and every player seemed more complete. While Kadeem Batts was playing through injuries, this frontcourt was full of curiosities. Brice Kofane struggled to complete at the hoop but did grab nine boards and added three blocks. Batts came close to a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds, playing only 27 minutes. LaDontae Henton, who played the full 40 minutes, lead the team with 24 points but only five rebounds. Combined, the frontcourt is quickly becoming more and more competent; individually they all have their own areas that need improvement.
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