Coach Pete Gillen, in his first season at Providence, had seen his Friars come close against many good teams.
Always, they fell short.
But on Monday night, the Friars got 37 points from the Browns--21 from senior Troy and 16 from junior Michael--and defeated fourth-ranked Connecticut, 72-70, at Providence, R.I.
"Tonight we just weren't going to be denied," said Gillen, who took over at Providence after a successful career at Xavier. "We lost two or three games like this to great teams--Georgetown twice, Syracuse once--where we had it and it just slipped through our hands in the last minute or two.
"If we play them 20 times, maybe we win once. Tonight was our one time to win."
Providence, 14-11 overall and 6-11 in the Big East, built a 13-point second-half lead before withstanding a furious comeback and a final-seconds three-point basket to keep the Huskies (22-3, 15-2) from clinching their second consecutive Big East regular-season championship.
"Providence did a great job emotionally," Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun said. "When we made our runs they stepped up, made poised plays and basically beat us. Providence really answered the emotion that we had at the end. They never broke."
No. 18 Oklahoma State 77, No. 24 Iowa State 49--Terry Collins, playing his final home game, matched his career high with 17 points and led a 17-1 run at the start of the second half that carried the Cowboys (20-8, 10-3) over the Cyclones (19-8, 5-7) in a Big Eight game at Stillwater, Okla.
Oklahoma State moved into a tie for first place in the conference and will play third-ranked Kansas on Sunday at Lawrence, Kan., for the regular-season championship.
Collins scored the first eight points of the second half, when the Cowboys turned a three-point deficit into a five-point lead.
He also helped keep Fred Hoiberg in check as the Cowboys held Iowa State to four-for-24 shooting in the second half.
"He really got us rolling in the second half offensively, but the big factor was our defense," Cowboy Coach Eddie Sutton said. "We just smothered them and pressured them out of their offense.
"It could very well be the best 20 minutes we've played all year."
Iowa State committed 22 turnovers and its scoring output was its lowest of the season.
William Moore scored 18 points to help Murray State (18-8, 11-5) to a 107-75 victory over Tennessee Martin (7-20, 5-11) at Murray, Ky., that earned the Racers a share of their seventh Ohio Valley Conference championship in eight seasons. . . . Ponce James made two free throws with nine seconds remaining to help North Carolina Charlotte (19-6) to a 77-74 victory over James Madison (14-12) at Harrisonburg, Va. . . . Tom Kleinschmidt scored 20 points to lead DePaul (16-8) to a 78-47 victory over Detroit (12-14) at Rosemont, Ill.
College Basketball Notes
A $100 million lawsuit against a former attorney for Georgetown freshman Allen Iverson has been withdrawn by Iverson's appeal lawyer. Iverson will have an appeal hearing today in Newport News, Va., on felony convictions stemming from a 1993 bowling alley brawl.