Archive - Sports Article
March 20th, 2014
SAN ANTONIO ‚Äď While the point-guard matchup between Providence‚Äôs Bryce Cotton and North Carolina‚Äôs Marcus Paige has been the talk de jour leading up to Friday‚Äôs NCAA Tournament contest, there‚Äôs a frontcourt bout that could prove as important in deciding the outcome.
SAN ANTONIO ‚ÄĒ Let‚Äôs remove all the tradition and corresponding subplots from the equation.
Instead, let‚Äôs delve into how Providence and North Carolina arrived at this particular juncture ‚Äď a second-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament that‚Äôs on tap Friday night (7:20 tip) at the AT&T Center. The two schools may have arrived at the same destination, yet it‚Äôs safe to say that the steps taken to get here were vastly different.
SAN ANTONIO ‚ÄĒ There‚Äôs no question that the NCAA Tournament is the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company. Between the 14-year, nearly $11 million television agreement that CBS and Turner Sports entered into back in 2010 and the presence of recognizable corporate sponsors such as AT&T and The Coca-Cola Company, it wouldn‚Äôt come as a shock to learn that they‚Äôre printing money at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
The question is, just how big of a slice of mince pie do NCAA participants such as Providence receive?
Sports editor emeritus
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď Cumberland put its sterling credentials on the Meehan Auditorium ice for all to see on Thursday night in the Division II championship opener against the co-op team from Providence Country Day, St. Raphael Academy and Wheeler.
SAN ANTONIO ‚ÄĒ Just when everything appeared set regarding the saga involving Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock, the one-time hot topic has been thrust back into the spotlight.
The timing of the news that the Providence police are looking into a complaint of sexual assault against one freshman that left the Providence College basketball program (Austin) and another who is still a Friar (Bullock) seems a tad curious. PC is here preparing for its first NCAA Tournament contest in a decade.
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď Way back in January, St. Raphael Academy faced Scituate in a crossover tilt between league frontrunners.
Despite the Spartans‚Äô physical presence, or the fact it would eventually become the Division II-North champion with a stellar 16-2 mark, the Saints manufactured a 44-38 triumph, though head coach Fred Saunders claimed it was a tough, aggressive affair.
The two foes met again in a R.I. Division II semifinal at Rhode Island College on Wednesday night for the right to play for the state crown on Saturday. And this time, the same ensued, except ‚Ä¶
WARWICK ‚Äď In a perfect world, this would have been the match-up to determine the R.I. Division II Tournament champion.
Instead, the powers-that-be within the Rhode Island Interscholastic League bracketed regular-season unbeaten Cumberland High against archrival Lincoln, which had dropped a pair of one-goal decisions to the Clippers, in a D-II semifinal.
This one had all the drama and intrigue of a championship final, especially the rubber match between the two at Thayer Arena on Monday night.
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď They could have paraded out to center court at Alumni Hall Sunday night in the same Big East Championship t-shirts that were distributed to them the previous night at Madison Square Garden.
Instead, everyone associated with the Providence College men‚Äôs basketball program wore grey short-sleeve t-shirts that on the front features a poignant and simple battle cry ‚Äď HEART & SOUL.
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď St. Raphael‚Äôs record now stands at a glistening 19-0, but for only the third time this season, the Saints found themselves battling for a victory in the final minute of play.
But the Saints, thanks to some strong defense down the stretch, were able to withstand a fierce challenge by ninth-seeded West Warwick and squeak out a 36-33 triumph on Sunday night at Rhode Island College that advanced them to Wednesday night‚Äôs Division II semifinals.
For full story, see Monday's print edition of The Times.
WARWICK ‚Äď Lincoln controlled the tempo for most of the night and held a significant advantage in the shots-on-goal department in its opening game of its best-of-three Division II semifinal-round series against Cumberland.
Unfortunately for the defending champions, they didn‚Äôt control the first few minutes of the game. The Clippers did, and what they did in the first 2:21 of play helped them eke out their third one-goal victory of the season over their neighboring rivals.
For full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Times.
Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET ‚ÄĒ St. Raphael Academy coach Fred Saunders understands he needs a complete team effort if the Saints want to bring home a Division II state title later this month.
‚ÄúI think depth is one of our strengths,‚ÄĚ Saunders admitted on Thursday night after senior Lauren Taylor made her first start of the season and contributed 14 points, seven points and five rebounds that complemented the usual strong efforts by teammates Becca and Danyele Gonzalez along with Seun Shittu.
NEW YORK ‚ÄĒ Just in case Ed Cooley let it slip from his mind that the Providence Friars and Madison Square have gone together like oil and vinegar for the longest time, he received a reminder from the college‚Äôs president, the Rev. Brian J. Shanley.
‚ÄúFrom what (Shanley) told me, we haven‚Äôt won down here often,‚ÄĚ stated Cooley. ‚ÄúSo for us to get off the schneid, it‚Äôs a great accomplishment for our program.‚ÄĚ
NEW YORK ‚ÄĒ Ed Cooley didn‚Äôt mince words when asked if he feels St. John‚Äôs should be one of the Big East teams selected to the NCAA Tournament.
When the subject turned to whether his Providence squad has done enough to get off the proverbial bubble and move closer to lock status following Thursday‚Äôs 79-74 victory over St. John‚Äôs, Cooley refrained from politicking on the Friars‚Äô behalf.
PROVIDENCE ‚ÄĒ Tolman High head coach Mike Kayata strolled out of the visiting men's locker room in the basement of Rhode Island College's Murray Center on Wednesday night, shrugged his shoulders and tried to explain what had just transpired upstairs.
NEW YORK ‚ÄĒ At this point of the season, Kadeem Batts and the rest of his teammates are dealing with information overload when the discussion turns to the Friars and their NCAA Tournament prospects.
Like every other Providence College basketball follower, Batts is keeping abreast of the latest developments via watching games on TV, checking out bracket-bubble updates online and hearing all sorts of prognostications on where the Friars stand in their quest for the program‚Äôs first NCAA berth since 2004.
PAWTUCKET – If there’s anyone associated with the Tolman boys’ basketball program who has seen firsthand the progress and development made by Jesse Fernandes, Steven Otis and the rest of the current underclassmen, look no further than head coach Mike Kayata’s right-hand man.
PAWTUCKET ‚Äď Mike Kayata professes to know the mere basics regarding Coventry High, the squad Tolman High drew in the opening round of the 16-team Rhode Island State Open Boys' Basketball Tournament.
Based exclusively on the Power Point standings that were kept during the regular season and the divisional playoffs, the Division II Tigers are the No. 11 seed while the Division I Knotty Oakers are seeded sixth. They‚Äôll meet Wednesday night at Rhode Island College‚Äôs Murray Center, with the tip at 6.
PAWTUCKET --- You would think that a team that captured its league title with a 16-0 record and won 13 of those games by 19 or more points would be an overwhelming favorite to win a state championship.
Instead, St. Raphael is merely one of the schools in a ‚Äúteams to beat‚ÄĚ group that has its eyes set on achieving Division II glory a week from Saturday at URI‚Äôs Ryan Center.
PAWTUCKET ‚Äď Six years ago, as a freshman at Tolman High, Ethan Etheridge decided to join the swim team more or less for the fun of it.
He admitted to being a decent swimmer, but nothing premier.
Slowly but surely, his times in his specialties ‚Äď the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke ‚Äď began to drop, and that naturally caused him to strive for more speed.
Etheridge claims he never would've dreamed way back when that he'd be in the position he is now, as one of the most decorated swimmers in the history of Elms College, stationed in Chicopee in western Massachusetts.
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď The trust factor between the Providence College basketball players and the training staff is quite evident.
In separate interviews, Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton didn‚Äôt refer to athletic trainer Bryn VanPatten by his first name or his last. Truncated in such a fashion that you can just feel the cool factor, VanPatten simply goes by ‚ÄúVP.‚ÄĚ
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