Bulldogs outmatched by Friars, 81-49

Photo by Joe Eke

BULLDOGS STRUGGLE ON ROAD AGAINST PROVIDENCE COLLEGE, FALL, 81-49, MONDAY NIGHT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Despite playing against a depleted Providence College roster, the Bryant University men's basketball team was overmatched by a stronger, more physical Friar side, falling to its BIG EAST and intrastate rival, 81-49, Monday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

Kadeem Batts scored a game- and career-high 27 points to lead Providence (2-0), going 12-for-15 from the field, while junior Bryce Cotton posted 24 points and a match-best 11 boards for the only double-double of the night. The Friars outrebounded the Bulldogs (0-2), 42-28, on the contest.

Junior forward Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) paced the Black and Gold with 13 points, moving himself just 20 points away from 1,000 on his Bryant career. The junior also led the Bulldogs on the glass with eight rebounds and recorded two steals. Sophomore transfer Dyami Starks (Duluth, Minn.) added 12 more, as did senior point guard Frankie Dobbs (Berea, Ohio).

Providence controlled the pace of the game from the get-go, jumping out to a 19-7 lead early and sustaining that momentum over the course of the first half.

The Bulldogs once again got themselves in early foul trouble, putting PC in the bonus less than 12 minutes into the contest. The Black and Gold defense struggled to keep a stronger and bigger Providence side away from the basket, as the hosts shot nearly 65 percent though the opening 12 minutes.

Compounded by lackluster shooting from its own ranks, including an 0-for-10 mark from long range and a 6:29 scoreless streak through the middle of the frame, Bryant would head into the locker room, trailing, 47-21, at the half.

The Friars rarely missed in the frame and found success driving the lane, shooting 63.3 percent heading into the intermission. Batts posted 22 points and scored 10 straight for Providence within the final five minutes of the opening frame, going 10-for-11 from the field with no presence to neutralize him on the side of the visitors.

Despite shooting just 15.4 percent with eight to play, the Bulldogs would rebound in the final minutes of the stanza to convert at a 31.8 percent clip at the end of the half. Francis paced the Bulldogs with 11 points, but Bryant was outrebounded by a 24-9 margin.

Both side started out the second stanza slowly, with the opening minutes riddled with fouls and turnovers on both ends. The Friars were still without a field goal when the Bulldogs ripped off back-to-back 3-pointers from Starks and Dobbs to cut PC's lead to 48-29 with 14:16 to play, forcing head coach Ed Cooley to call a timeout.

The Friars would get their first basket with 13:06 left in the contest off a long jumper from Batts, but not before Starks added another from long range to move the score to 48-32. But that was as close as the Bulldogs would pull it, finishing the half at a 30 percent shooting clip for a .308 mark on the night. Providence closed out the game with 57.4 percent accuracy from the field in the 81-49 victory.

The Bulldogs have a four-day layoff to get ready for their home opener Saturday afternoon, a 1:00 p.m. matchup against the University of New Hampshire at the Chace Athletic Center. Can't make it to the game? Watch it LIVE on NECFrontRow.com.

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