At first glance, one might assume that Providence’s core has been playing together for years.
But that’s far from the truth.
Despite having three starters in their first year in the program, the Friars have developed a strong team chemistry and will look to keep rolling Sunday afternoon when they travel to Chicago to face DePaul.
Providence (11-3, 3-0 Big East) has strung together six straight wins following an impressive 72-52 bludgeoning of Butler on Thursday night. Devin Carter finished with 21 points and four steals and Ed Croswell notched 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Friars, who used a 25-3 first-half run to take the lead for good before cruising to victory.
Although Providence steadily has climbed its way up the Big East standings, head coach Ed Cooley is aware that his team still needs to evolve as it enters a new calendar year.
“We’re going to need to continue to build our depth for us to be a quality team night in and night out,” Cooley said. “We are improving, but we’re not where we want to be.”
The Blue Demons (7-7, 1-2) have been keen on improving, too, and did so by snapping a three-game losing streak with an 83-76 win over Georgetown on Thursday. Umoja Gibson led the way with a season-high 31 points and Javan Johnson chipped in 21, with each player sinking five 3-pointers.
Johnson (16.8 points per game) and Gibson (15.9) are DePaul’s leading scorers, and head coach Tony Stubblefield has been impressed with the duo’s ability to keep the team focused during stretches of adversity.
“Javan and Mo have been providing great leadership,” Stubblefield said. “They’ve stuck with it. People have been asking if our guys’ spirits have been down. No, they have not.
“These guys have come in and have been very resilient. They’ve been working hard every day, getting to the gym in the morning, and putting that extra work in. It’s really paid off.”
Sunday marks the 50th all-time meeting between the teams. The Friars have dominated the series, leading 36-13.
–Field Level Media