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NCAAB: Nate Watson, Providence take on Fairfield in opener

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Nate Watson and the Providence Friars will look to open the season with a victory at home when they play non-conference opponent Fairfield on Tuesday night.

Watson, a center, was named a preseason All-Big East first-team selection after leading the Friars in points (16.9) and rebounds (6.7) a season ago.

Providence is coming off a 13-13 season and will be without its second-leading scorer from 2020-21 as David Duke Jr. signed as an undrafted free agent with the Brooklyn Nets.

Watson appears poised to carry the load for the Friars after leading all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in Providence’s 95-71 exhibition win against Stonehill on Oct. 21.

“I liked the way we shot the ball, I liked the way we moved the ball. I liked the pace at which we tried to score off our defense as much as we can,” said Ed Cooley, who is entering his 11th season as Providence’s head coach. “Regardless of who you’re playing, those traits carry over.”

Cooley began his collegiate head coaching career at Fairfield, guiding the Stags to a 92-69 record from 2006 to 2011.

Fairfield is coming off a 10-17 season but returns leading scorer Jake Wojcik, who averaged 13.5 points a game last season. The guard was named to the preseason All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference third team.

Wojcik joined the Stags last season after transferring from Richmond and posted double-digit scoring totals in 18 of his 21 games.

“Jake had a great offseason, and we are confident that he will pick up where he left off as one of the best guards in the (MAAC),” Fairfield coach Jay Young said.

The Stags were picked sixth out of 11 teams in the MAAC’s preseason coaches’ poll. Meanwhile, the Friars were slotted seventh out of 11 teams in the Big East.

–Field Level Media

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