By Sullivan Burgess ’20
On Tuesday, November 6, the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team begin their journey for the NCAA Division I National Championship as they took on the Siena College Saints at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in a 77-67 victory.
After winning both exhibition games over the past three weeks, and with plenty of buzz over a talented recruiting class, the Friars have much to look forward to this season.
The victory belonged to the entire team, thanks to the all-around effort on both sides of the ball, excellent passing, smart shooting, and excellent defensive abilities. One player whose performance stood out amongst others was one of the newest faces, A.J. Reeves ’22.
In his first career game, as well as his first game as a member of the starting five, Reeves contributed on all facets of the game as he tallied 29 points, two rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in 30 minutes of playing time.
Reeves stated at the end of the game, “I just want to contribute to our team getting a W…They [teammates] have confidence in me shooting the ball…I just want to do my job.” Reeves’ contribution to the game included 10-13 field goals, 7-9 three point shooting, and even 2-2 on free throws, thus setting the school record for most points scored by a PC freshman in their debut.
One important aspect that contributed to Reeves’s successful shooting was the entire student body cheering for him and even chanting his name seven minutes into the first half, after he had just performed a chase down block on Siena. Friar Fanatic Vice President Joe Haughey ’20 stated after the game, “It is pretty incredible how a player such as Reeves is able to perform the way he does, and the energy he brings to us allows us to show that Friartown has his back, especially in his first career game, we are able to get the whole arena to chant his name within the first half, that’s pretty special.”
Throughout the offseason, and even in the beginning of the season, Head Coach Ed Cooley has been nothing but impressed with the development and skill of Reeves. Cooley even stated to his colleagues that Reeves has the potential to be the all-time leading scorer at PC.
After the victory last night, Cooley stated, “I didn’t expect A.J. to do what he did…I wish I was watching as a fan for this game.”
Another key player that stood out for the Friars, was Alpha Diallo ’20. Putting in 16 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, Diallo was able to step up as the team’s leader in crucial moments throughout the game, such as scoring off an offensive rebound and a put-back layup in the last three minutes of the second half. Cooley stated on his behalf, “Leaders step up…I always tell my leaders, when we need a basket you have to be that person, and Alpha stepped up.”
While the Friars need to figure out a set rotation for all players, the team as a whole was able to compete and show their true strides of professionalism, which will be important for the rest of the season. The early victory in Providence is just one step towards achieving the team’s season goals.