Providence, URI Resurrect Rivalry After Two Years

The PC Friars and the URI Rams will be renewing their Ocean State rivalry for the 131st time on December 4. PC holds a 74-56 edge in the series, including a 39-23 mark in Providence. In the last 17 meetings between the two teams, Providence holds an 11-6 advantage with the Friars winning eight of the last 10 games. The two teams did not play last season. In the most recent meeting between the two teams, URI defeated the Friars, 75-61, in Kingston on December 6, 2019. The last time the two teams met in Providence, the Friars defeated Rams, 59-50, on December 1, 2018 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The first two meetings between PC and URI were exhibition contests in Kingston in 1920 and 1921. The first regular season match-up was a 53-28 Friar win at the Rhode Island Auditorium on February 9, 1935.

Friar Tid Bits:

*The Friars have played Rhode Island more than any other opponent all-time.

*Al Durham (23 points) and Ed Croswell (11 points) posted their season highs in the win over Texas Tech on Dec. 1.

*The Friars are 7-1 for the just the third in Ed Cooley’s 11 seasons at Providence (2013-14 and 2015-16).

*In the Friars’ win over Saint Peter’s on Nov. 27, Ed Cooley earned his 200th victory at Providence (201-136).

*Cooley joined Joe Mullaney (319-164) and Dave Gavitt (209-84) as Friar coaches with 200 or more wins.

*The Friars posted a 6-1 mark in November.

*In the Friars’ win over Saint Peter’s, PC shot 64.1% from the field. It marked the first time PC shot over 60 % from the field in a game since 1/25/17 – 62.0% vs. St. John’s

*In PC’s win over Northwestern on Nov. 22, PC had season highs for assists (21 on 25 fgs) and threes made (14).

*The Friars are 1-0 vs. the Big 12 this season.

*The Friars are 2-0 vs. the Big Ten this season.

*It marks the first time ever that the Friars have posted two wins over Big Ten teams in the same season.

*In the loss to Virginia on Nov. 23, PC had season lows for points (40), field goals (12), and field goal percentage (23.5).

*Al Durham and Noah Horchler were named to the Legends Classic All-Tournament Team on Nov. 23.

*Ed Cooley needs nine wins to surpass Dave Gavitt and move into second place all-time at PC.

*The Friars’ win over Wisconsin on Nov. 15 was just the fourth time PC has won a road game versus a Big Ten team and the first since winning at Wisconsin on December 23, 1996.

*Nate Watson was named the 2021-22 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team.

*Nate Watson was named to the 2021-22 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Preseason Watch List.

*The Friars have a team record of five graduate students on the roster this season.

*Andrew and Luke Fonts are the first brothers to suit up at the same time for the Friars in 70 years.

Horchler Named To BIG EAST Honor Roll: Graduate Student Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) led the Friars to a 2-1 mark last week and was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Monday as he averaged 16.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg. He shot 47 percent (7-15) from three and 11-11 from the free throw line. He also averaged 3.7 assists per game. Horchler was named to the Legend’s Classic All-Tournament Team after the Friars were defeated by Virginia in the championship game. His best game of the week was a 25-point, 11-rebound effort versus Saint Peter’s. He also had five assists in the game. He was 9-10 from the field overall, 3-4 from three and 4-4 from the free-throw line.

Friars At The Dunkin’ Donuts Center: All-time, the Friars have recorded a 592-235 (.715) mark in 49 seasons of games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, formerly the Providence Civic Center, opened on November 3, 1972. The Friars had played their home games there for 48 consecutive seasons, prior to the 2020-21 season when the team played on campus at Alumni Hall with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic. PC posted an 8-3 mark at Alumni Hall last season.

Veteran Lineup: The Friars’ roster features five graduate students. It marks the first time ever the Friars have had five graduate students on the roster. The Friars’ starting lineup of Nate Watson (130 games), Noah Horchler (95 games), Al Durham (131 games), AJ Reeves (87 games) and Jared Bynum (57 games) have combined to play 500 college basketball games. The Friars’ sixth man Justin Minaya has played in 86 college games. The Friars top six players have played in 576 combined games.

Watson Named To Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Watch List: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Oct. 22 that Friar graduate center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) was named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Preseason Watch list. Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its eighth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10 and then in late February to just 5. In March the five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee where a winner will be selected.

Nate Watson Named Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team: It was announced on October 19 that Providence College graduate center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) was named to the 2021-22 Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team. Watson (Portsmouth, Va.), who earned 2021 All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades, NABC All-District 5 Second Team honors and USBWA All-District 1 accolades, led the Friars in scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg) last season. He also ranked third in the league in scoring (16.9 ppg). In 26 games last season, he recorded four double-doubles and seven games with 20 or more points. Watson shot 60 percent (180-299) from the field, which ranked second overall in the league.

Brothers In The Lineup: For the first time since 1941 when Eddie and John Lee of Attleboro, Mass. suited up for the Friars, the Providence men’s basketball team will have brothers playing together. Graduate student Andrew Fonts (Portsmouth, R.I.) and his brother, freshman Luke Fonts, are the first sibling combo for the Friars in 81 years.

Essandoko, Berry and Pierre Sign NLIs To Attend PC: Ed Cooley announced on Nov. 16 that student-athletes Christ Essandoko (Paris, France), Quante Berry (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Jayden Pierre (Elizabeth, N.J.) each have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Providence College beginning in September 2022. Essandoko, a 6-foot-11-inch, 260-pound center is in his senior year at Winston-Salem Prep (N.C.). He is coached by Antonio Lowe at Winston-Salem Prep. Essandoko played for Boo Williams on the EYBL Nike Circuit. He averaged 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 62.5 percent from the field. He is ranked as the 20th best center in the country (134 overall) and the sixth best player in France, according to 247Sports.com. Rivals.com ranked Essandoko as the 150th best player in the country and the No. 23 center. Berry, a 6-foot-4-inch, 175-pound guard, also attends Winston-Salem Prep. Berry played AAU basketball for B. Maze Elite on the UAA circuit. As a sophomore, Berry averaged 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and earned All-State honors at Bradley Central High School in Tennessee, before transferring to Winston-Salem Prep. Berry is the 33rd ranked guard in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. Pierre, a 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound point guard, is in his senior year at Long Island Lutheran. He is coached by John Buck at Long Island Lutheran. Pierre played AAU basketball for Team Rio. He is ranked as the 15th-best point guard in the country and the top-ranked point guard in New Jersey, according to 247Sports.com. ESPN.com has Pierre ranked as the 39th point guard in the nation and sixth best player in New Jersey.

Watson Returns For 2021-22 Season: It was announced on March 17 that Providence College center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) would return for his fifth season with the Friars. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NCAA granted all winter athletes an extra season of eligibility. Watson (Portsmouth, Va.), who earned All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades, NABC All-District 5 Second Team honors and USBWA All-District 1 accolades in March, led the Friars in scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg). He also ranked third in the league in scoring (16.9 ppg). In 26 games, he recorded four double-doubles and seven games with 20 or more points. Watson shot 60 percent (180-299) from the field, which ranked second overall in the league.

Horchler Returns For 2021-22 Season: It was announced on March 28 that Providence College forward Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) would return for another season with the Friars. Horchler, who transferred to Providence College in 2019 with one season of eligibility, is able to play in 2021-22 due to the NCAA granting all winter athletes an extra season of eligibility due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Horchler started 13 of the team’s 26 games in 2020-21, including the final eight games of the season. He played an integral role for the Friars during those final eight games, shooting 43.2 percent (16-37) from three-point territory, grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game and scoring 11.5 points per game. For the season, Horchler ranked first on the team in three-point shooting (41.9 percent, 26-62), third in rebounding (5.7 rpg) and fourth in scoring (6.7 ppg). He registered 20 points and nine rebounds in the team’s win over Xavier on February 24. Horchler recorded his first double-double as a Friar when he scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the team’s win over No. 10 Villanova on March 6.

Nate Watson Registers His 1,000th Career Point: Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) scored his 1,000th career point on December 20 in the Friars’ win at Seton Hall. He became the 51st Friar all-time to register 1,000 career points. In 130 career games, Watson has registered 1,446 points (11.1 ppg). He ranks 20th all-time in scoring at Providence College.

Horchler Registers His 1,000th Career Point: Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) scored his 1,000th career point on March 10, 2021 in the Friars’ BIG EAST Tournament game versus DePaul. In 95 career games (61 at North Florida and 34 at Providence), Horchler has registered 1,097 points (11.5 ppg).

Friars All-Time Versus Top-25 Teams: The Friars have posted a 123-271 (.312) mark all-time versus top-25 teams, including a 2-2 mark this season.

Ed Cooley Ranks Third On The PC All-Time Win List: With the Friars’ win versus Butler on March 9, 2019, Ed Cooley recorded his 161st victory as the Friar Head Coach and moved into third place on the all-time win list for PC Head Coaches. The two all-time winningest Friar head coaches are: Joe Mullaney (319-164), and Dave Gavitt (209-84). Cooley has a 201-136 mark in 11 seasons as the Friar head coach.

Friars Are 72-5 In Non-Conference Home Games Under Ed Cooley: The Friars have posted a 72-5 mark in 11 seasons under Ed Cooley in non-conference home games.

Friars In Overtime: The Friars recorded a 3-0 mark in overtime games in 2020-21. They have registered a 68-67 mark all-time in overtime games.

“DG” Patch On Friar Uniforms: In memory of former Friar Head Coach Dave Gavitt the Friars have worn a “DG” patch on their uniforms since the 2011-12 season. Gavitt led PC and Eastern basketball into the modern age. In 10 seasons as the head coach of the Friars, Gavitt led PC to 209 wins, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons, five NCAA appearances, three NIT appearances and five New England Coach of the Year honors. He led the Friars to 23 wins over Top-20 teams. His 1973 team made it to Final Four. In 1971, Gavitt was named Director of Athletics at PC, a position he held until 1982 when he resigned to be the director of the BIG EAST Conference. He also was named Head Coach of the 1980 USA Olympic basketball team. He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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