PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)—Providence made only 26.5 percent of its shots, but it was enough to take down visiting Southern University 59-53 Tuesday night in the second round of the South Padre Invitational.
Providence’s 13 field goals made (in 49 attempts) were the fewest made by any Friars team in the shot-clock era, but they pulled out the victory nonetheless.
Friars coach Ed Cooley was not pleased with Providence’s effort despite the victory, saying, “My team needs to learn to trust, like and appreciate one another. Today I didn’t see that.”
Gerard Coleman led Providence (4-0) with 21 points and 11 rebounds, his first career double-double. LaDontae Henton added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Friars.
Providence shot only 5 for 26 from the field in the first half, but its 19 free throws made, along with an 11-2 run to close the half, helped the Friars go into the break with a 30-21 lead.
The Jaguars (1-3) gradually closed the gap in the first few minutes of the second half, eventually tying the game 38-38. After Friars guard Vincent Council drove the lane for a layup with 2:14 left to give Providence an eight-point lead, Southern never again threatened.
Southern’s Derick Beltran made a 3-pointer to close the gap to five, but the Jaguars got no closer.
The Friars managed only six assists as a team. Council had averaged seven assists per game on his own in their previous three games. “Six assists is a telling story,” Cooley said. “Three blind mice could have six assists in 40 minutes. Today we were horrible.”
Michael Celestin paced the Jaguars with a career-high 18 points, and Quinton Doggett managed 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Southern shot 33.9 percent (20 of 59) from the field, but the free-throw differential between the two sides was marked. The Friars appeared at the stripe 47 times, making 32, while the Jaguars made nine shots in only 12 attempts.
Providence guard Bryce Cotton, who had ranked third in the Big East in scoring average, scored only six points, breaking a two-game streak in which he scored at least 20.