Providence’s Bryce Cotton finished his senior season with a career night despite the Friars tough 79-77 loss to North Carolina on Friday. The 6-foot-1 senior point guard is NetScouts Basketball’s Player of the Day for games on March 21st.
Cotton, a two-star recruit out of high school, scored a career-high 36 points while shooting 13-of-23 from the field and 3-of-9 from behind the arc. He added eight assists, five rebounds, and two steals while playing all 40 minutes.
“I’ve seen Bryce perform like that in practice, but when you get to this stage and you’re able to do that – I’ve been saying the whole year I think Bryce is one of the top guards in all of America,” Providence head coach Ed Cooley told the Associated Press. “It’s just for whatever reason he didn’t get the national love. I think today if there is somebody in this national tournament that does that, they would be considered Superman.”
The native of Tucson, Arizona averaged 21.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game this season after averaging double digits in the scoring column since his sophomore year. Cotton has developed as an overall floor general in his final year, averaging almost twice as many assists compared to his junior season. His size and slender frame prevent him from becoming an ideal NBA prospect, but Cotton has been overlooked before and proven his ability to compete against elite competition. Cotton’s jumper, leadership, and basketball IQ give him a chance at the next level.
Cotton’s career may be done at Providence, but the senior certainly left a lasting legacy.
Friday Game Notes
-Friday started similar to Thursday with an upset in the opening game. 14th seeded Mercer sent Duke packing in a 78-71 win behind Jakob Gollon’s 20 points. Potential first overall NBA Draft pick Jabari Parker struggled, with 14 points on 4-14 shooting and an 0-3 display from three. His lack of defense led to Duke’s struggles as well. Likely first round wing Rodney Hood was limited to six points (2-10 FG, 2-5 3FG) and struggled on the defensive end as well.
–Baylor had no trouble handling Nebraska in a 74-60 win. Senior forward Cory Jefferson led the way with 16 points (6-12 FG, 0-1 3FG) and six rebounds while sophomore center Isaiah Austin had 13 points and seven boards.
-Despite Cameron Bairstow’s game-high 24 points and eight rebounds, Stanford prevailed in a 58-53 win. Chasson Randle scored 23 points for the Cardinal while draft prospect Dwight Powell was limited to three points and four rebounds.
-Weber State put together a late run, but Arizona held on to win 68-59. Senior guard Nick Johnson had 18 points (6-12 FG, 4-6 3FG) while freshman forward Aaron Gordon had 16 points (7-11 FG, 1-1 3FG), eight rebounds, five blocks, and three assists. Fellow freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson contributed 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 showing from the field.
–Tennessee carried its momentum from the play-in game to top Massachusetts, 86-67. Junior power forward Jarnell Stokes dominated with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Chaz Williams ended his fabulous career at Massachusetts with 12 points, five assists, and two steals.
-In one of the top scoring matchups of the day, Doug McDermott and Elfrid Payton didn’t disappoint. McDermott went for 30 points (13-23 FG, 2-4 3FG) and 12 rebounds to lead Creighton past Payton’s Louisiana Lafayette squad. Payton, a junior point guard, had 24 points (9-20 FG, 1-4 3FG), eight rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks.
-Without Joel Embiid, Kansas allowed Eastern Kentucky to stick around for most of the game before pulling away for an 80-69 win. Andrew Wiggins had a game-high 19 points (7-13 FG, 0-1 3FG) that included some incredible dunks while the frontline of Perry Ellis, Tarik Black, and Jamari Traylor combined for 43 points (19-25 FG) and 32 rebounds.
–Marcus Smart will likely end his collegiate career without an NCAA tournament victory. The sophomore point guard had 23 points (5-14 FG, 1-5 3FG, 12-19 FT), 13 rebounds, seven assists, and six steals in an 85-77 loss to Gonzaga. Kevin Pangos was crucial for Gonzaga with 26 points while Przemek Karnowski had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
-Michael Dixon Jr. had 19 points off the bench and Joe Jackson contributed another 15 as Memphis topped George Washington 71-66.
-Cotton’s career night couldn’t propel the Friars past North Carolina, but the other point guard had a big performance as well. Sophomore Marcus Paige had 19 points and four assists and continues to lead the Tar Heels to big victories.
–Wichita State ended Cal Poly’s Cinderella run to the NCAA tournament with a 64-37 rout. The Shockers showed their tremendous team defense while Cleanthony Early led the offensive attack with 23 points and seven rebounds. NBA prospect Ron Baker, only a sophomore, had seven points on three shot attempts along with nine rebounds and three assists.
–Desmond Haymon’s four-point play with 3.6 seconds left gave Stephen F. Austin an extra five minutes to pull the overtime upset against VCU. Jacob Parker scored a game-high 22 points for the Lumberjacks in the victory as they came back from a 10-point deficit with 3.5 minutes remaining to force the overtime. JaQuan Lewis could have won the game for VCU with a good look on a corner three-pointer but it wasn’t to be for the Rams.
-Coastal Carolina gave a valiant effort against Virginia, but the Cavaliers had a 40-24 second hald advantage to go on to the 70-59 victory. Freshman point guard London Perrantes played well with 12 points and six assists with no turnovers while Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
–Kentucky moved past Kansas State to create the highly anticipated matchup between the Wildcats and Wichita State. Kentucky will need the type of effort Julius Randle put forth on Friday (19 points, 15 rebounds) to take advantage of Wichita’s lack of interior size.
–Iowa State had no problems moving past North Carolina Central, but faced its biggest loss when it found out Georges Niang suffered a broken foot that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Niang had 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists on Friday and will be a huge loss for the Cyclones. Every other Iowa State starter scored in double-digits.
-The hottest team in the country right now might be UCLA. Coming off a Pac-12 tournament title, the Bruins cruised to a 76-59 win over Tulsa. Jordan Adams had 21 points and eight rebounds while Kyle Anderson had an off game offensively with eight points (3-11 FG) but added six rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Norman Powell (15 points, three steals) iced the game for the Bruins with several late steals and finishes.
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