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UC-Providence Rock 'N Roll Party

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So, a really good win for the Bearcats, especially considering what could have happened if they had lost. Now they're 5-4 in the Big East and in sixth place. A couple points I want to make:

 

-Cashmere Wright surprised the Friars tonight. He scored a career-high 24 points, and Providence didn't seem to have anybody that was capable of stopping him. Remember, this is the same Cashmere Wright who hadn't started since the Dec. 16 UAB game and had played 6 minutes against UConn, 7 minutes against Rutgers, 4 minutes against Pitt, 9 minutes against St. John's, 4 minutes against South Florida and 0 minutes against Notre Dame.

 

Although Providence managed to keep Deonta Vaughn, Yancy Gates and Lance Stephenson in check (they scored a combined 31 points), the Friars were stunned by Wright, who made 9 of 11 shots.

 

"Definitely surprised," said Providence guard Sharaud Curry. "Our main concern was Vaughn and Stephenson. They threw us off balance by throwing him in the starting lineup. He came out and shot the ball great and he was big for them."

 

Said Wright: "I was just playing my game. Things started falling and that's how it happens sometimes."

 

Mick Cronin, though, wasn't surprised. Those are the kind of performances he witnessed when Wright played at Urban Christian Academy in Savannah, Ga.

 

"It has been a learning experience for him," Cronin said. "He went to an excellent school academically, but it is also very small. His high school is not allowed to play the other public schools in Georgia. Consequently, he hadn't had a lot of real game experience. He didn't get to play in big games. He played in front of 15 people - friends and family only. I think that hurt him, combined with sitting out for a year."

 

-Lance Stephenson didn't start, Cronin said, because he's suffering through a lower abdominal strain.

 

"There was a thought that he might not even play," Cronin said. "He struggled to get loose in walk-through. He came in and shot after the women's game. He felt much better. I know it bothered him a little bit."

 

-Darnell Wilks had quite a game as well, scoring 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting to go with four rebounds in 16 minutes of action.

 

"It was me listening to what coach says and being patient," Wilks said. "When I get the ball, not rushing it."

 

-One last thing to address: the abysmal free throw shooting that nearly cost UC the game. After tonight's 20 of 41 performance from the foul line, the Bearcats are shooting 63.0 percent.  That would rank 15th in the Big East and 311th out of 334 teams (using the statistics from before today's games).

 

Said Cronin: "We won't be able to do that on the road at Notre Dame. I'm a big believer in the law of averages. Deonta Vaughn hadn't missed a free throw since Gonzaga. Dion Dixon hadn't missed one in eight games. It is eventually going to catch up. Let it catch up tonight when we have a 14-point lead. If we do that Thursday, we will not win."

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