December 11, 2015

Providence will be without the Big East's second-leading scorer on Saturday and maybe the preseason conference player of the year as well.

The No. 15 Friars won't have Ben Bentil, and Kris Dunn's status is uncertain as they try to improve to 6-0 all-time against visiting Bryant.

Bentil averages 17.7 points but left Wednesday's 66-51 win over Boston College with an ankle injury after scoring 16 points in 16 minutes. The club's leading rebounder with 7.2 per game, Bentil was reportedly seen walking on crutches on campus and is not listed as a starter in the Friars' official game notes.

Neither is Dunn, who is third in the Big East with an average of 16.8 points and was named player of the year in the preseason. He did not play in the second half Wednesday due to a virus and his status is in doubt.

A third regular starter, Ryan Fazekas, missed the BC game with an illness and is also uncertain.

Quadree Smith and Kyron Cartwright started the second half for the Friars and could receive their first starts. Sophomore Jalen Lindsey started in place of Fazekas and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.

"It was survival mode where we implored `next man up,'" coach Ed Cooley said. "Guys want opportunities and they got it."

All the shuffling made the victory especially satisfying for the Friars, who got a season-low four points from Dunn. They limited the Eagles to 37.7 percent shooting - the lowest mark for a Providence opponent.

"That was more of a culture win than a team win," Cooley said. "It could be our best win of the year. Everyone is going to look at the Arizona win or beating Illinois or winning at the University of Rhode Island. This was an incredible win for us."

Providence (9-1) may not be too concerned about rushing players back Saturday with a week off after what figures to be a mismatch. The Friars have captured the previous five meetings by an average of 27.6 points.

Bryant (2-8) has dropped seven straight, shooting 34.5 percent overall and 18.7 percent on 3-pointers, and doesn't resemble the team that posted three straight winning seasons prior to this one. The Bulldogs are statistically one of college basketball's worst teams in numerous categories and have lost by at least 30 points four different times.

They fell behind 26-9 in Tuesday's 77-55 defeat to Army. Freshman Nisre Zouzoua was a bright spot with 17 points while Dan Garvin and Marcel Pettway each had double-doubles.

The Bulldogs are 0-6 all-time against ranked teams, losing by an average of 31.0 points. They were crushed 113-75 at then-No. 5 Duke on Nov. 14.

The Friars have no players left who played in their 81-49 rout of the Bulldogs the last time these teams met three seasons ago. Three Bryant players are still on the team in Shane McLaughlin, Curtis Oakley Jr. and Andrew Scocca - who combined for 29 scoreless minutes in that contest.

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