Thursday, November 19, 2009

Providence Opens 2009-10 Campaign with World Vision Invitational Crown

By John Sessions and Chris Crawford

The Providence College Friars survived a tough Mercer team on Sunday, Nov. 15, hanging on to win 77-75 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in downtown Providence, completing a three-game sweep as they were crowned World Vision Invitational Champions. Junior guard/forward Marshon Brooks paced the Friars with 26 points and was named the tournament MVP. Friar fans also saw the highly anticipated return of sophomore forward Jamine Peterson, who, despite being redshirted all of last year, electrified the crowd with dazzling dunks on his way to recording a career-high 22 rebounds, the most by a Providence player since Michael Smith grabbed 26 boards on Jan. 25, 1994. With the win, Providence moves to 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2005-06.

The Friars kicked off the season Friday, Nov. 13 against intrastate foe Bryant University. Nervousness was not present for this season opener, as PC jumped out to a 15-2 run, and never looked backed. By halftime the score was 50-18 and the Friars clearly looked like the superior team. Freshman forward/center Bilal Dixon led the charge for the Friars, posting a double-double in his first colligate game. Five Friars; Brooks, Sharaud Curry, Dixon, Brian McKenzie, and Peterson, finished in double figures and the press defense was pesky all night, forcing 21 turnovers. The game finished 96-53, and the 43 point victory was the largest for the Friars since 2001 when they defeated Morgan State by 44 points.

The World Vision Invitational continued for the Friars Saturday, Nov. 14 as they took on Bucknell University. The Bison proved to be a more formidable opponent for PC, as Bucknell took a 36-34 lead into halftime. Senior guard Sharaud Curry played the part of the veteran leader, putting the team ahead for the first time with a three pointer in the second half and going 8-8 at the free throw line down the stretch. The Friars were too strong for Bucknell in the paint, holding a 46-31 rebounding advantage and led 19-6 in second chance points. Ultimately, buckling down on defense and making their free throws allowed the Friars to pull away for good, winning by a final score of 76-65.

Aside from the fantastic start, Friar fans also witnessed the speed, size, and quickness of second-year coach Keno Davis’ highly touted first recruiting class. Redshirt freshman Bilal Dixon looks to be a force to be reckoned with, as he brings tremendous size and energy when he steps onto the court, while true freshmen Johnnie Lacy, Vincent Council, James Still, and Duke Mondy all contributed significant minutes this weekend. Veteran seniors Sharaud Curry and Brian McKenzie, along with junior forward transfer Russ Permenter supplied PC with the leadership they needed throughout the long weekend, especially in the closing seconds of Sunday’s game.

Providence was a perfect 3-0 in the Tournament as Curry and Peterson both earned All-Tournament accolades while Brooks was named the 2009 World Vision Invitational MVP. PC now travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Friday, Nov. 20 for an 8:00 p.m. contest against SEC opponent Alabama, beginning a string of non-conference contests in which they will look to continue their early success.

John and Chris help cover the Friars for The Cowl, the Providence College newspaper.



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