By Chris McCormack ’18
The Providence College Men’s Basketball Team kicked off their season last weekend with a 84-55 win over the Houston Baptist Huskies in Alumni Hall. With comic-con being held at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Nov. 10, the Friars were able to play the first men’s basketball game on campus since 1972.
After this win, the Friars went into one of their biggest out of conference games this season against the no. 15 ranked, Minnesota Gophers. The Gophers, coached by Richard Pitino ’05, proved to be resilient as their veteran team was able to fight off the Friars and win with a final score of 84-72.
Although they lost, the Friars looked solid throughout most of the game and there were a lot of positive things to take away. They got off to a slow start as Minnesota opened the game with a 12-2 run, but they quickly recovered with a run of their own and closed the half out with a three-point lead 39-36.
The second half started similarly to the first with both teams going back and forth up until about the 10 minute mark. The Friars offense seemed to cool off while the Gophers continued to flourish offensively. The Friars seemed to miss Emmitt Holt ‘18, who is out indefinitely after having stomach surgery. The Gophers’ Jordan Murphy scored 23 points with 14 rebounds. As a 6’6” forward, this seems to be the ideal player for Holt to be guarding. The Friars were still able to put up a bit of a fight with a pretty solid offensive performance.
Four players scored in double figures, but what they needed was someone to step up as the rest of the team cooled down. Regardless of the result, there is no doubt they have a promising season ahead of them. They will travel to New York City and face Washington University at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
The remaining out-of conference games are games the Friars should win. It is definitely a good thing for them to face such a tough opponent early in the season as it will prove to be a learning experience and they will improve as the season goes on. Given the atmosphere in the Dunk on Monday, there is no doubt Friars fans are ready for this season.