Sun, 29 Jan 2023

Providence, Rhode Island clash with state bragging rights on line

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2022, 07:40 GMT+10

Providence and Rhode Island are not where they want to be in the course of a long basketball season, but a rivalry win could be just what the doctor ordered.

The in-state foes will meet for the 134th time when they clash on Saturday in Kingston, R.I.

"We've got a couple of desperate teams," Providence coach Ed Cooley said. "We're coming off a really, really hard loss, and we've got a hard game to prepare for."

Cooley's Friars (5-3) seek their first road win after falling 75-62 at TCU on Wednesday.

While returning All-Big East guard Jared Bynum was held to a single basket, sophomores Bryce Hopkins and Devin Carter each scored 17 points against the Horned Frogs. Hopkins averages a team-leading 14.6 points per game and Carter is second with 11.3 per contest.

Providence's other two losses came on a neutral court in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

"We'll have a chance to make some games up (in the Big East)," Cooley said. "We don't want to lose games like this, but ... we're going to learn from all of our games. This is just another one to learn from."

The Rams (2-5) have not played since Sunday's 53-49 loss at Boston College, their third loss in four games.

George Washington sophomore transfer Brayon Freeman has scored a career-high 21 points in consecutive games.

Freeman spent a night on the bench after scoring just four points combined in Rhode Island's first two games.

"He's got a lot of fight in him," Rams coach Archie Miller said. "There are a lot of guys who want to go away and hide when things aren't off to a good start. He didn't do that."

Ishmael Leggett (18.3) and Freeman (12.5) average double-digit points per game for Rhode Island.

Friends Miller and Cooley were both assistant coaches with the 2015 Team USA U-19 team that included Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

Although Miller is in his first year as the Rams' coach, he knows what the rivalry is about.

"PC-URI is built over decades of tough kids playing," Miller said. "I just want our game to honor that and I know it will."

Cooley is 8-2 against Rhody as the Friars' coach, but both losses have come at the Ryan Center.

"The old adage that records don't matter ... it's so close all the time," Cooley said. "The energy that's in the building is second to none."

--Field Level Media

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