The Providence College men's basketball team (18-14) defeated Charlotte, 75-66, in the first round of the NIT at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. on Wednesday, March 20. The victory marks the Friars' first postseason win since 2003 and the team's 18 wins marks the most the Friars have recorded since 2009.
Providence held the advantage until the game was tied at 20 with 9:28 remaining in the first half. A basket from freshman Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.) followed by a steal and an assist to junior Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.) gave the Friars a four-point lead before the 49ers made a pair of baskets to tie the game at 24 apiece (6:51). After that a back-and-forth matchup went on for most of the half. Charlotte came out with its first lead of the game with 4:10 remaining (30-29). Dunn stole the ball once again which led to the Friars taking the lead, but the 49ers made a basket followed by four consecutive free throws to finish the half up, 36-33.
Cotton paced the Friars with 13 points during the first half. Charlotte was led by guard E. Victor Nickerson with 10 points.
Ninety seconds into the second half, Providence tied the game at 37 points. There were three more tied moments before senior Vincent Council (Brooklyn, N.Y) led the Friars with 10 points over the following five minutes of play to give the Friars a five-point lead (60-55) with 4:47 to play. Providence outscored the 49ers 27-18 in the final 10 minutes to earn the victory.
Cotton finished with a game-high 25 points. Dunn had a career-high 14 points with nine rebounds and six assists. He also tied his career-high steals with four. Council finished with 16 points and added six assists. Junior Kadeem Batts (Powder Springs, Ga.) scored 13 points.