When Providence landed Kentucky transfer Bryce Hopkins, hefty expectations loomed considering he was the program’s highest-rated prospect since Kris Dunn.
Hopkins is living up to the hype.
Hopkins will look to continue his early-season dominance on Saturday when the Friars host Albany in Providence, R.I. It’s their final nonconference action before beginning Big East play next weekend against Seton Hall.
Despite losing its top two scorers from last season, Providence (7-3) hasn’t skipped a beat, thanks in large part to Hopkins’ team-leading 15.3 points per game. The Friars are a perfect 6-0 on their home floor and enter Saturday riding a modest two-game winning streak after a 99-59 rout of Manhattan College on Wednesday.
Hopkins posted a career-high 22 points in the victory and has scored in double figures in nine of 10 games this season. Ed Croswell added 15 points, and Devin Carter, Alyn Breed and Clifton Moore each chipped in 12.
Although it was a dominating performance by Providence, it did allow 10 3-pointers, and head coach Ed Cooley said he expects to see improvement from his team’s perimeter defense moving forward.
“We’re still having a tough time guarding the 3-point line,” Cooley said. “That’s an area of concern for us that we have to continue to improve on.”
The Great Danes (3-7) will try to exploit those defensive issues to snap their losing streak, which grew to three games on Monday following an 87-73 setback against UMass.
Gerald Drumgoole Jr. paced the Great Danes with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Jonathan Beagle supplied 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Albany head coach Dwayne Killings still was happy with the effort his team showed, though, and he seems confident that the early adversity will be beneficial for the Danes in the long run.
“I didn’t think we quit (Monday). That was a really good UMass basketball team. They are off to one of their best starts in probably eight years,” Killings said. “We’re playing a hard schedule for a reason, and I think it’s going to prepare us for league play.”
–Field Level Media