by Sullivan Burgess ’20
We have come to that special time of the year, the Christmas lights turn on, the weather becomes colder, and most importantly Providence College Men’s Basketball Big East Conference play begins.
While their first conference game against St. John’s University in Queens does not commence until Dec. 28, the Friars look to bounce back from their 75-68 loss to the University of Rhode Island last Saturday, when they take on their remaining non-conference games beginning, with a home game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against Brown University. Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley called this year’s annual URI game “one of the worse offensive games of the year” because of the Friar’s 21 turnovers and 47.6 percent from the free throw line. Cooley looks to remain motivated as he continues the positive mindset he ensues on the school and his team.
So far, the season has provided students and fans with plenty of optimism and hope as the Friar’s look to expand their 6-2 record. The student body on campus this season moved forward from the two losses of the season, as they bring a strong amount of energy to every home game. Sadly, the roster will not be fully completed this season as the sudden news that power forward/center Emmitt Holt ’18 will remain to be out for the remainder of the year due to an abdominal injury, placing him on a medical redshirt that will give him the opportunity to continue playing next season.
The sudden loss of Holt has given players such as Nate Watson ’21 and Kalif Young ’20 the opportunity for developing their skills as big men to a whole new level as they both look to provide a big presence in the paint versus any opponent. On top of Watson, freshman guard Makai Ashton-Langford ’21 has developed his skills as backup guard into ultimately the team’s sixth man. Averaging seven points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and slowly increasing the number of minutes per game, Ashton-Langford remains to be a dominant presence on the court as well a threat to any team.
Returning starters Kyron Cartwright ’18, Jalen Lindsey ’18, Rodney Bullock ’18, and Alpha Diallo ’20. While Cartwright provides the playmaking abilities as one of the best Big East guards this season leading the conference in assists by averaging 6.6 per game, Lindsey and Bullock provide the scoring efforts including Bullock leading the team with 14.4 points per game and Lindsey shooting 63 percent from the three, making it a challenge for the Big East teams to be able to guard.
Diallo has slowly risen to be one of the most improved players in the conference as he averages 11.5 points per game including his 17 point game against URI and developing an on and off ball rhythm allowing him to be deadly when on the court.
Now taking a look at this year’s NCAA men’s basketball season as a whole, Duke remains to be the country’s top team as they increase their undefeated record to 10-0, especially with the rise of freshman Marvin Bagley III averaging 22.025 points and 11.5 rebounds, ultimately making him the number one prospect for the NBA.
In the Big East, Villanova remains undefeated and fourth-ranked in the country as they lead with an overall record of 9-0, despite the loss of Josh Hart to the NBA. Georgetown also remains undefeated with an overall record of 6-0, as they continue the season with new head coach, a former player for the New York Knicks, Patrick Ewing, Providence stands tied for fourth place alongside Butler University. They are leading over the 25th ranked in the country Creighton, following their loss of freshman Justin Patton to the NBA, as well as Marquette, who currently contains the top two scorers in the Big East Conference with senior Andrew Rowsey and sophomore Markus Howard averaging 22.6 and 21 points, respectively.
PC is now faced with the difficult task of picking themselves back up after URI and looking to resurrect their hot streak of winning as Big East Conference games begin, which could provide the team with another March Madness appearance.