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No. 23 Providence flexing home dominance in prep for Seton Hall

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No. 23 Providence aims to extend an undefeated Big East Conference start when it begins 2024 with a visit from Seton Hall on Wednesday evening.

The Friars (11-2, 2-0) have been idle since beating Butler 85-75 on Dec. 23 in overtime, an outcome that sets up the opportunity for Providence to complete the sweep of a five-game homestand.

Four nights earlier, Providence toppled then-No. 6 Marquette 72-57.

Success at home has been a hallmark of the Friars in recent years, as they are 46-3 in their last 49 games at Amica Mutual Pavilion.

“This place is so special,” Providence coach Kim English said. “Our guys do have great resilience, but it helps when you have (such great) support behind you.”

The victory over Butler came in dramatic fashion. After Ticket Gaines hit a game-tying 3-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation, Devin Carter scored 10 of his team-high 24 points — outscoring the Bulldogs by himself — in overtime as Providence won its fourth straight game.

Carter leads the Friars with an average of 16.8 points per game. Bryce Hopkins and Josh Oduro, each of whom finished with a double-double against Butler, average 16.3 and 14.1, respectively.

Hopkins also averages 8.7 rebounds per contest.

Despite the team’s recent highlights, Providence is using two successful rivals that had to shake off conference-opening losses as examples as its own early season continues.

“We want to be where UConn and Marquette are, so even after a victory, we want to make sure we’re refocusing and keeping our shared purpose and making sure we’re not letting any bit of arrogance creep into our group after some mild and early success,” English said.

Villanova is the only other 2-0 team in Big East play.

UConn’s opening league loss was 75-60 on Dec. 20 against Seton Hall (8-5, 1-1), which will visit Providence following a 74-54 loss on Dec. 23 at Xavier.

Dre Davis scored 18 points, while Kadary Richmond had 13 points and eight rebounds vs. Xavier, but the Pirates couldn’t extend their win streak to four games.

Richmond averages a team-leading 15.2 points per game.

Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway felt his team lacked energy heading into the holiday break, so he will hope for a turnaround in that department come Wednesday.

“(Xavier) played desperate, they played hungry, and we played satisfied,” Holloway said. “I saw it in practice the last two days (entering the game); everybody was hurt and nobody practiced. … They seemed satisfied and looking forward to the break and resting their bodies.”

Richmond had 23 points and tied a program record with eight steals against UConn in the Pirates’ largest margin of victory ever against a top-five-ranked opponent.

Seton Hall shot 51.8 percent from the floor against UConn and held the Huskies to 37.9 percent, including just four 3-pointers.

Those numbers turned around on the Pirates against Xavier, as they shot just 32.4 percent from the field and allowed the Musketeers to shoot 44.3 percent.

The type of effort Seton Hall showed against UConn will be necessary as the Big East gauntlet continues.

“I told my guys (before UConn), this is a different season,” Holloway said. “This is part two.”

–Field Level Media

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