Friday, January 2, 2015

Providence Opens Up Big East Conference Play with a Win Over Creighton Behind Henton's 35

PC Friars 65 (11-3) - Creighton Blue Jays 53 (9-5)

Photo from Kris Craig/Providence Journal
Now THAT is how I like to start of my New Year.  The Big East was on the screen all day at my house, with all 10 teams playing on New Year's Eve to kick off conference play.  St. John's and Seton Hall started off things on a high note at with a great game and Georgetown and Xavier closing things out with a 10 PM tip off.  I can't remember if they did this last year or not but they're calling it the Big East New Year's Eve Tip Off, and they should absolutely do it every year from here on out.

Everyone either has the day off from work or it's the slowest work day of the year with everything coming to a close and people trying to squeeze every ounce of vacation time in before the end of 2014.  But enough about work, how about those Friars.

Providence clearly looked like the better team throughout the entirety of the game and LeDontae Henton looks to still be playing with a giant boulder of a chip on his shoulder after not being named to the Pre-Season All Conference First Team.  It was absurd then and its even more absurd now, since he looks like he's the best player in the conference.  Save for the Kentucky game, where Cauley-Stein was able to basically shut Henton down (and he's a complete outlier of any match-up he'll likely see for the rest of the year), LeDontae has been unstoppable against all other competition.

Henton was doing anything and everything he wanted on his way to pouring in 35 points on 12-21 shooting to go along with his 8 rebounds.  He was converting on fast breaks through the lane, raining threes from deep, posting up, all while draining 8-9 from the line.  Just take a look at all his buckets from the win and then tell me what he can't do...maybe take right-handed layups but he finishes so well from all angles that it really doesn't matter.

As good as Henton has been, and he's been amazing, I still believe that Kris Dunn is the key to this team and the guy who needs PC to play well in order for the Friars to be successful.  Dunn filled up the stat sheet once again, nearing a triple-double with 6 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds.  He also chipped in two steals, something that he's become very adapt at doing this season.  

Dunn opens up the floor for Henton and allows him to take those open threes or slice through the line with his herky-jerky, Euro-step type of stuff.

Oh, and he can do stuff like this...and he's our point guard.  

I love Carson's happy feet reaction on the bench too.

The win makes us 1-0 in conference play so far (obviously) and hopefully bodes well for the rest of conference play this season.

Some quick notes on the game:
  • Speaking of Carson, my man had a monster slam in the game too.

Just look at his game face.
Picture from Kris Craig/Providence Journal
  • Chukwu only got 3 minutes of playing time, so I'm wondering if he wasn't feeling 100% or something.
  • Ben Bentil started his second straight game with Tyler Harris coming off the bench.  Harris only shot 2-9 for the game but I like the mix up so that we can have a little more offensive firepower off of the bench.
  • Henton leads the Big East in scoring with 21.1 points and Dunn leads the conference in assists (7.4) and steals (2.8).  Not too shabby.
  • Jalen Lindsey can really get up, who knew?  Since 41 of his 53 shots have been threes, if you've blinked during a game this year, you've probably missed him take a shot around the basket too.
Next Up, the Friars travel to Marquette to take on the Golden Eagles on Saturday at 2 PM.