By Kevin Sweeney
Emmitt Holt had 22 points in his first game as a Friar to carry Providence to a 80-58 win over Vermont on Tuesday night at Dunkin Donuts Arena in Providence. Holt, a transfer from Indian Hills Community College who began his collegiate career at Indiana, was expected to help fill the void left by star forward Ben Bentil’s departure, and he certainly was impressive in that role tonight.
“We brought Emmitt here to be a stud. That’s his job” head coach Ed Cooley said in his postgame press conference, per Kevin McNamara/Twitter.
There were plenty of questions about the Friars coming into this season, as Bentil and Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn accounted for nearly half of the team’s total offense from last season. However, those questions were put at ease tonight, as the play of Holt, along with returning contributors Rodney Bullock and Kyron Cartwright, made the Friars look like contenders in the Big East.
Providence kept the America East favorite Catamounts at bay for the majority of the first half, limiting them to just 28 first half points. However, cold shooting by the Friars kept their lead to just 6 at halftime.
The second half was a different story, however, as the Friars began to pull away, thanks largely to the play of Bullock and Holt. A Bullock 3, one of three he knocked down in the game, with 6:02 to go stretched the Friars’ lead to 18 and seemingly put the game away.
One bright spot for the Catamounts was the play of Tulane transfer Payton Henson, who put up 21 points & 6 rebounds. It appears that Vermont has a star on its hand in Henson, who seems to be an all-conference candidate in the America East.
Providence’s next test comes Thursday, when they take on Ohio State in Columbus. The Catamounts are back in action Wednesday against Marist.