Staff Photo: John Bohn Providence's Nate Bucher (14) eyes an offensive rebound against Richmond in a third place game in the Deep South Classic basketball tournament played Friday at Brookwood High School.
SNELLVILLE -- Only eight dressed out and just six found the scoring column, but Providence got a lot of mileage out of that small but talented group as the Stars knocked off the Academy of Richmond County 49-39 in the third-place game of the 21st annual Deep South Classic.
Leading the way for Providence (7-6) was senior center Kareem Adekunle, who made his presence felt on both ends of the court.
To go along with his game-high 14 points and 11 rebounds, Adekunle also had eight blocked shots -- half of those coming in the decisive fourth quarter.
Adekunle also scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, including an impressive 8 of 9 from the free throw line.
Trailing 19-11 after the first quarter, Providence fought back and trailed by one at 23-22 heading into halftime as the Stars held Richmond to just four second-quarter points.
Providence wasted no time taking the lead at 24-23 to open the third quarter and the Stars would never trail again, thanks primarily to better defensive pressure.
"We weren't playing good defense early in the game and (Richmond) was getting some good looks," said Providence head coach Ivan Iverson. "But I thought we did a better job helping out and making them do some things they weren't comfortable doing."
Providence pulled out to a 36-29 lead late in the third quarter, but Richmond wouldn't go away as the Muskateers pulled to within 41-39 with 1:56 to go in the game.
But Adekunle scored on an old-fashioned three-point play and also hit three free throws in the final 1:36 to help seal the win for the Stars.
Providence's offensive push to go to the basket also resulted in a 20-for-26 day at the free throw line, including 9 of 11 in the fourth quarter.
Richmond was 6 of 9 from the charity stripe for the game.
"I told our guys to stay calm and make good decisions when the game was on the line," Iverson said. "We did that and hit our free throws down the stretch."
Nate Bucher added 11 points and Dominique Cormier had nine for Providence.
Jonathan Bradley led Richmond (5-6) with 13 points, but only two after the first quarter.
Marcus Walden added 10 for Richmond.