March 03, 2015

Providence is starting to pick up steam with the Big East tournament just around the corner, and last year's champs have a chance to do more damage with LaDontae Henton leading the charge.

Looking to continue their push, the 24th-ranked Friars go for a fourth win in five games and fourth in a row over Seton Hall as these league foes meet at the Prudential Center on Wednesday night.

After winning last year's conference tournament, the Friars (20-9, 10-6) again appear to be hitting their stride at just the right time. Providence is in a tight race with Butler and Georgetown for the league's Nos. 2-4 spots, and it can lock up second place with a win in this game and a victory over the Bulldogs in Saturday's regular-season finale.

The Friars had dropped three of four before putting together a 3-1 run, with their lone defeat coming 89-61 at then-No. 6 and Big East regular-season champion Villanova last Tuesday. However, they bounced back to beat Marquette 77-66 on Sunday behind 25 points and a season-best 15 rebounds from Henton.

The star senior finished 11 of 18 from the floor after going scoreless over the first 10 minutes.

"When you're a natural-born scorer, you're going to find ways to score," Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "He is a big-time player."

Henton leads the conference with 20.4 points per game, and he's scored at least 22 in five of the last six. He also became just the seventh player in school history to pull down at least 1,000 rebounds.

"It means a lot to be part of something great, but it's more important to cheer with my teammates and be able to get wins like this," Henton said.

Henton has racked up a combined 48 points and 23 boards in his last two games against the Pirates after posting 22 and nine in a 69-62 victory Feb. 14. Kris Dunn also came up big with 19 points for the Friars, who were limited to 38.1 percent shooting but forced a season-high 19 turnovers.

Providence has taken five of six in the series, including the last three by an average of just 6.0 points.

The Pirates (16-12, 6-10) had been outscored by an average of 13.5 points during a six-game losing streak before sneaking by Creighton 67-66 on Saturday. Freshman Angel Delgado recorded his league-leading ninth double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, including the go-ahead putback with 14 seconds to go.

"This just shows us we still have life at the end of the season and that we can still make a push," fellow freshman Khadeen Carrington said. "I think we had a rough patch but that's behind us now. We're looking forward."

Senior Haralds Karlis came out of nowhere to score a season-high 14 points, and Carrington added 13 as Seton Hall stormed back from as many as 14 down.

The Pirates are all but certain to miss the NCAA tournament for the ninth consecutive season unless they win the conference tournament.

"It's not over," senior Brandon Mobley said. "It's not over by a long shot. We know we can still make a push. It starts with one win."

Delgado is averaging a Big East-best 9.9 rebounds for the Pirates, who lead the league with 37.2 per game.

Seton Hall has split four matchups against Top 25 teams, but it's won both at home after getting by then-No. 6 Villanova 66-61 in overtime Jan. 3.

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