By Chris McCormack ’18
Providence College Men’s Basketball Team turned their season around when they needed it most. After a rough start to Big East play with a near 20-point loss to Creighton University on the road and a tough overtime loss to Marquette University at home, the Friars came into what seemed to be a must-win game against the 5th ranked Xavier Musketeers.
Xavier was riding a 10-game win streak and seemed to have destiny waiting to make it 11 games going into a matchup against the top team overall, the Villanova University Wildcats. The Friars had other plans.
Kyron Cartwright ‘18 led the team with a packed stat sheet featuring 19 points, 9 assists and 4 steals helping boost the team to a much needed 81-72 win. The Friars then traveled to the Windy City to face the DePaul Blue Demons, where they won with a score of 71-64. The story of that game was the 22-0 run they had in the middle of the second half, which turned the game around.
That run turned a 10-point deficit for the Friars into a 12-point lead and that was all they needed to finish off DePaul.
The team then looked to their next matchup against Butler University which was the first game of the second semester, and this showed.
The Dunkin’ Donuts Center was rocking in the second half as the Friars were able to get off to a hot start and take the lead. The game remained close throughout, but they held off a tough Butler team with a score of 70-60.
The team had four players in double figures, led by a great second half performance from Cartwright who finished with 18 points and 11 assists. Jalen Lindsey ‘18 notched 13 points including his three 3-pointers that all came at crucial times in the game. Rodney Bullock ‘18 and Alpha Diallo‘20 also put up double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The team gets some time off before they look to seek revenge in another tough matchup against Creighton on Saturday. The Bluejays, led by Senior guard Marcus Foster, are coming off a blow-out loss against Xavier this weekend and play a tough Seton Hall team before coming to the Dunk.
The team is going to need a similar atmosphere to the one against Butler. Students need to be loud and energetic if the Friars are going to beat this team. Given the loss earlier in conference play, look for Ed Cooley and the guys to study the film and change what they need to change before taking the court.
After Creighton, the team heads to Philadelphia to take on the current best team in the country, the Villanova Wildcats. It is never good to be look past the next matchup, but if the Friars are able to beat Creighton, they are going to be right where they need to be heading into the matchup against number-one Villanova.