GREAT FALLS — After dropping two on the road two weekends ago to Corban and Lewis-Clark State, the University of Providence men’s basketball team bounced back this last weekend to beat Our Lady of the Lake and Northwest University at home to improve to 4-2 on the season as they look to continue improving before their conference schedule.
Although there were struggles early on for Head Coach Steve Keller’s squad, they’ve looked to improve in their rebounding and defensive pressure to negate the fact that they are smaller than many of the teams they have and will face with their tallest rotation player being 6’7.
“I’ll say we’re definitely a little smaller but I’ll we’re definitely more active, a lot faster [and] a lot scrappier,” Junior Marcus Stephens said. “This team has to get under guys skin, has to pressure the ball defensively and we’ve been working on a lot of that in practice this week so that’s the way we’re going to have to play this game going forward.”
The Honorable Mention All-American Stephens has continued to make a name for himself in the Frontier Conference despite the departure of former First Team All-American and NBA prospect Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, who now plays overseas. Stephens has taken over the mantle having already accrued two Erck Hotels Frontier Conference Player of the Week recognitions averaging 22.0 points a game.
“He’s been playing really well,” Keller said. “He went to the point guard [spot], had two 10 assist games plus he’s averaging about 20 a game so yeah he’s a key on our team.”
“It’s been a learning process but coach has done a great job putting his trust into me and my teammates are also doing a great job of just putting that trust in me and we kind of just lean into each other,” Stephens added. “It’s not just one person who can make up for what Z[accheus] brought to the game so we all just lift our game and lift our level of play.”
The Argos were scheduled for two home games against Lincoln University this Friday and Saturday but those games were cancelled due to the inability of Lincoln University to travel. The team will be back on the floor instead Dec. 2 at home against Rocky Mountain College for their first conference game of the year.