By Max Anderson ’18
On Friday, November 17, the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team was able to add another piece of hardware to the trophy cabinet by winning the 2K Classic Tournament, held annually at Madison Square Garden.
The tournament kicked off with a preliminary regional round matchup on Nov. 10, which saw the Friars square off with Houston Baptist University; the winner would advance to the Championship rounds of the tournament. The contest, which was also the season opener for the Friars, turned out to be a one-sided affair, as the Friars would end up winning by a final score of 84-55.
The game saw 11 different Friars score, with Maliek White ’20 leading the way with 13 points. Isaiah Jackson ’19 and Kalif Young ’20 were also big contributors, with Jackson scoring 11 points and Young contributing 10 of his own. Kyron Cartwright ’18 also reached double-digits in points, scoring 10 while also recording 10 assists to be the only Friar to achieve a double-double during the contest.
Nearly a week later, the Friars headed to New York City to take on the Univserity of Washington Huskies in the first game of the championship round. The Friars were able to hang on in a tightly-contested game, winning by a final score of 77-70 to advance to the championship game the following night. Rodney Bullock ‘18 was the star for the Friars in this one, shooting 5-11 from the field, and finishing with 17 points.
Bullock also pulled down nine rebounds, making him one rebound shy of recording the second Friar double-double of the tournament. Young and Cartwright were key cogs once again, with the former adding 12 points and the latter once again chipping in 10 of his own. The talented youth of the Friars was also on display, as Alpha Diallo ’20 and Drew Edwards ’20 both achieved double-digit point marks, with both players contributing 11 points.
The championship game proved much less competitive, with the Friars routing the previously unbeaten St. Louis Billikens 90-63 to capture the 2K Classic crown. Bullock once again led the Friars with 15 points, while Diallo and White both added 11 to the Friars 90 as well.
Cartwright, once again, showed why he is considered one of the top distributors in all of college basketball by dishing out eight assists, and seemingly finding his teammates for open shots at will. But the most impressive Friar on the floor may have very well been heralded freshman Makai Ashton-Langford ‘21. Ashton-Langford, a consensus top recruit who committed to PC this past April, went a perfect 5-5 from the floor during the game, finishing with 11 points for the Friars. Ashton-Langford also showcased his own playmaking abilities, adding three assists while also recording a steal.
The Friars played a post-tournament game at home this past Wednesday, Novemeber 22, taking on the Belmont Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The game came down to the final seconds, with Cartwright nailing a game-winning three-pointer to give the Friars a 66-65 victory at the buzzer and an unblemished 4-0 mark in the 2K Classic. Bullock and Diallo obtained double-digit points as well, scoring 15 and 13 respectively, while Jalen Lindsey ’18 also had 12, which put him in the double-digit margin.
The 2K Classic Crown is a first for the Friars, and while it is always nice to celebrate new championship hardware, the Friars have their sights set on adding a much bigger trophy to their collection this upcoming March.