Vincent Council will get to play at least one more game for the Providence College Friars. PC beat the Charlotte 49ers, 75-66, Wednesday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., in the first round of the NIT tournament.
It was Providence's first postseason win in a decade.
"This is a great moment for us- great moment as our team is building, our program is building," coach Ed Cooley said following the game.
A big part of that rebuilding process revolves around freshman Kris Dunn. Wednesday night, Dunn played one of his best games of his young Providence career. Dunn has shown that his defense has always been up to speed from the time he first stepped foot on the court in Providence. His offense and ball handling have been a work in progress this season. Against Charlotte, Dunn scored a career high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. He tied a season-high with four steals. He crashed the boards with nine rebounds and dealt out six assists while turning the ball over only once. Not bad for a 6'3" shooting guard.
The first half was a back and forth affair with neither team opening up more than a three-point lead until less than a minute was left prior to intermission. Charlotte went into halftime with a 36-33 lead. Five minutes into the second half, Charlotte opened up a seven-point lead. That's when Providence took over. Providence's only senior, Vincent Council, spurred the comeback with eight straight points. Council finished with 16 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Bryce Cotton was the leading scorer for the Friars, scoring 25 points. The Big East leading scorer (19.4 points per game) has struggled with his shot over the last month thanks to opposing defenses clamping down on the sharpshooter.
Providence (18-14) will be deprived of playing the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats in the second round of the NIT. Providence will just have to wait until next year to play Kentucky. Coach John Calipari's team was upset in the first round by Robert Morris, 59-57. The good news is that Friars fans will be able to take in another home game. The game against Robert Morris (24-10) will be held at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Monday at 7 p.m.