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Yes, a Big East team can upset a MAAC school

Lost Monday night amid the excitement for the 24-hour college hoops marathon and yet another Jerry Sandusky development was an upset Providence pulled off against Fairfield.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Friars hail from the Big East. The Stags play in the MAAC. Yet the Big East squad was a 7.5-point underdog by virtue of playing on the road in front of a record crowd, but pulled off an 80-72 win. Not that new coach Ed Cooley enjoyed much of it.

Cooley spent the last five years at Fairfield, turning it into a conference power. He’s now tasked with doing the same for his hometown Friars. And he’d very much like to talk about Providence, not his Fairfield return. But there was enough going on that made it impossible to ignore -- such as the first Friars road win in nearly two years.

From Matt Norlander:

Cooley did his best to answer all the questions one more time, but to make it more about his current kids. He acknowledged how much [Fairfield’s Rakim] Sanders meant to him, but, really, the win was more uplifting than symbolic at this point for him.

“It was an emotional day for me, all-around,” Cooley said. “Today was about Providence College. … I’m very proud of the community coming out to support both teams. I’ll forever be a part of this (the Fairfield) program.”

Consider this a bit of closure for Cooley’s Fairfield’s tenure and a solid start to his Providence time. The Friars are 2-0 and should be 4-0 when the South Padre Invitational rolls around. It might not sound like much, but given the obstacle ahead of Cooley, it’s a helluva good start.

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