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Providence preps for big weekend by hosting Wagner

With this weekend's matchup against archrival Rhode Island looming, Providence first turns its attention to a Tuesday night visit from Wagner.

The Friars (5-1) have won back-to-back games since Kansas State dealt them an overtime loss on Nov. 17 in the Bahamas. Their first home game back was Friday's 78-64 triumph over Lehigh.

Bryce Hopkins gave first-year coach Kim English's team an outstanding effort with 25 points, 14 rebounds and three assists to record his third double-double of the season.

"He was taking what the game gave him," English said of Hopkins. "If it's a long close-out, drive. If it's a short close-out, shoot. If there's an offensive rebound, go get it. If you have a lane to the rim, dunk it. ... I thought he let the game come to him and it showed."

Hopkins has averaged 15.7 points per game and ranks second in the Big East in rebounds per contest (9.3).

Alongside Hopkins, George Mason graduate transfer Josh Oduro scored the most points by a Friar this season (29) and grabbed seven boards in the victory over the Mountain Hawks.

Providence was without one of its four double-digit scorers in Jayden Pierre (hamstring) for a second straight game against Lehigh.

"We want him to feel strong and healthy before he goes full throttle," English said.

Wagner (2-3) earned its first win against a Division I opponent this season when it topped NJIT 64-51 on Saturday behind Melvin Council Jr.'s 18-point effort.

Council, who averages a team-leading 13.2 points per game, and fellow Monroe College transfer Tyje Kelton lead an experienced group that hopes to outperform its fifth-place projection in the Northeast Conference.

"It's a veteran group," Seahawks coach Donald Copeland told SILive.com earlier this month. "Older, mature guys. Only one freshman. (It's) guys who have been a part of college basketball. Also, I would say attitude-wise, guys are bringing the right attitude every day."

Kelton has averaged 9.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

--Field Level Media

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