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Providence looks to stay perfect at home vs. Sacred Heart

providence-looks-to-stay-perfect-at-home-vs.-sacred-heart

Providence’s five-game homestand continues Saturday against Sacred Heart in its final tuneup before the start of Big East play.

The Friars (8-2) are 7-0 at home this season and have won 26 consecutive non-conference home games after defeating crosstown foe Brown 74-54 on Sunday.

Devin Carter scored a team-high 18 points, including 10 in the first half, to help Providence build a commanding 37-13 lead at intermission.

“It was a good win to kind of get the bad taste out of our mouths after a poor showing at Oklahoma,” Providence coach Kim English said, referring to a 72-51 setback to the Sooners on Dec. 5. “I thought our guys responded well, heeded to what the mindset and the tenor of the game needed to be, especially in the first half.”

Eleven Friars played against Brown, including freshman Garwey Dual and sophomore Jayden Pierre. Pierre is still returning to full strength following a groin injury.

Sacred Heart marks the Friars’ final test before Tuesday’s Big East opener against No. 7 Marquette.

“It’s a chance to learn. Our process doesn’t change after a good game or a bad game, a win or a loss,” English said. “… Those guys are young. They’re learning how to play and navigate these games.”

The Friars have had the best average field goal percentage defense (37.7 percent) in the Big East. Their league-best 6.6 blocked shots per game, including 1.5 by Carter alone, rank seventh nationally.

Northeast Conference preseason favorite Sacred Heart (4-7) is in the midst of a five-game skid that continued last Saturday with a 67-57 home loss to Fairfield.

Raymond Espinal-Guzman scored a season-high 11 points against the Stags.

Nico Galette and Alex Sobel — who lead the Pioneers in points (14.6 per game) and rebounding (7.3), respectively — added 10 points apiece.

“He’s everything you want,” Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina said of Galette. “… “He’s 6-6, athletic, can shoot it. This guy would have an enormous amount of high-major recruitment. To stay four years, my gratitude and appreciation for that is immeasurable.”

Providence will be the Pioneers’ second Big East opponent of the season. They lost 85-50 at St. John’s on Dec. 6.

–Field Level Media

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