PC trounces men’s hoops at the Dunk

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Despite coming into the game riding back-to-back wins, the men’s basketball team (3-4) looked overmatched on Wednesday night in an 86-62 loss to Providence College (5-3) at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. From the game’s outset, the Friars, who play in the powerful Big East Conference, dominated the Bears, quashing any hope of an upset.

“We knew it would be a tough game coming in, and we knew we would have to play extremely well,” said tri-captain Peter Sullivan ’11.

Sullivan was the top-scoring Bear with 16 points, and tri-captain Chris Skrelja ’09 led the Bears on the glass with eight rebounds to go along with his seven points. Center Matt Mullery ’10 scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds in the loss.

Marshon Brooks led the Friars with 22 points, while point guard Sharaud Curry contributed 14 points and 8 assists and big men Jonathan Kale and Randall Hanke each finished with 13 points.

As a team, Brown shot just 33.3 percent from the field, compared to PC’s 51.5 percent, which included 8-of-20 shooting from behind the arc.

Early on, Brown fell behind 12-5 but cut the Friars’ lead to 14-11 on back-to-back three-pointers from Adrian Williams ’11, who finished with 15 points. From there, though, the Friars began to dominate, going on a 17-4 run to open up a 16-point lead.

PC got a spark off the bench from Marshon Brooks, who knocked down three shots from behind the arc and scored 17 points in the first half en route to a game-high 22. The Bears were unable to contain the Friars’ offensive attack and went into the half with a 48-25 deficit.

“They had a lot of uncontested shots because they were getting a lot of drive-and-kicks,” Sullivan said. “We need to play better on-the-ball defense so other guys don’t have to jump in to help and leave their guy wide open.”

The second half began well for Bruno, as Williams knocked down three free throws after a foul behind the arc and Sullivan scored to cut PC’s lead down to 18. But the Friars quickly quelled any hopes of a Brown comeback, taking advantage of offensive rebounds and open jump shots to go on an 11-2 run to open up a 27-point lead. PC dominated on the boards all night, out-rebounding the Bears 40-22, including a 14-7 advantage in offensive rebounds, which led to 16 second-chance points for the Friars.

“We need to play more physical, and stress how important it is to get every rebound,” Skrelja said. “Whether it’s a center or a point guard, everyone has to … be more hungry on the glass.”

Morgan Kelly ’11 sparked the Bears’ offense with two jump shots, and Skrelja scored on a put-back to bring Brown back to within 21, but the Friars once again pulled away, widening their lead to 30.

Brown got things going on the offensive end towards the end of the game, scoring 37 second-half points after a frustrating first half. The Bears’ slow start was almost identical to the team’s game against Northwestern on Nov. 22, when they fell behind 48-26 at the half but exploded for 38 points in the second frame with the result no longer in doubt.

“We did a better job in the second half moving with and without the ball, setting screens and getting each other open,” Sullivan said. “We were a little bit stagnant in the first half. We were all standing around waiting for one person to make a spectacular play rather than all working together to get a great shot.”

Sullivan, who entered the game as Brown’s leading scorer, was held to just four points in the first half, but he scored 12 in the second half to finish with a team-high 16.

But it wasn’t enough to make a significant dent in the Friars’ lead, and PC finished with a commanding 86-62 victory.

The Bears will return to action this Saturday, when they go on the road to take on the University of New Hampshire (2-3).

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