PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Marshon Brooks scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and freshman Kadeem Batts added 14 points as Providence pulled away late in a 77-55 victory over Morgan State on Thursday night.
The double-digit performance was the first of the season for Batts, one of the nine freshmen who make the Friars (3-0) the Big East's youngest team.
Kevin Thompson led Morgan State (1-1) with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Providence scored 35 points in the game's final 10 minutes.
The Friars dug themselves into an early eight-point deficit when they answered the Bears' hot shooting by making only 3 of their first 17 attempts from the field.
Poor shooting returned early in the second half, as the Friars failed to capitalize on several uncontested shots, including a Gerard Coleman layup attempt at 16:07 in which the Providence guard mishandled the ball and then tripped over his own feet. The offensive miscues kept the game close, as Morgan State erased an eight-point deficit to tie the score at 42 midway through the second half.
But a one-handed dunk by Batts, followed 24 seconds later by a three-point play from Brooks, spurred the Friars to a 14-4 run.
Morgan State counted 11-of-13 free throws in the second half but made just one field goal in the game's final 7 minutes, and the Friars soon found themselves with a 12-point lead with 5 minutes to play.
An acrobatic alley-oop from Coleman to Brooks provided the dagger with 3 minutes remaining, but the Friars added another in the game's final seconds, this time from Council to Cotton, a 5-9 guard who capped the Providence victory with a crowd-pleasing dunk.
Providence, which set a Big East record last season for most points allowed per game, is the early Big East leader in points allowed per game and in field goal percentage allowed.
Seton Hall sophomore Isaiah Whitehead will stay in the NBA draft and not return for his junior season.
Washington State's trio of Josh Hawkinson, Conor Clifford and Ike Iroegbu have withdrawn from the NBA draft and will play their senior season with the Cougars.
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, who missed most of last season with a back injury, says he is returning for another year.
|South Carolina State||12-4||1||19-15|
|North Carolina Central||7-9||6||13-19|
|North Carolina A&T||7-9||6||10-22|