Gerard Coleman scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds as Providence defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 72-61 in a nonconference opener for both teams Saturday.
Lonnie Hayes paced Fairleigh Dickinson of the Northeast Conference, scoring 26 points with four rebounds and four assists. Kinu Rochford managed a double-double for the Knights, finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The game remained close throughout the first half and for much of the second. A layup by Providence forward Ron Giplaye with 3:00 remaining in the game gave the Friars of the Big East a double-digit lead and Fairleigh Dickinson never threatened to overcome that deficit.
Freshman LaDontae Henton put together an impressive debut for Providence, contributing 10 points and six rebounds, and Vincent Council added 12 points and five assists.
The game was Ed Cooley's first as coach of the Friars, who overcame 54.5 percent (12 of 22) free-throw shooting.