By Sullivan Burgess ’20
The last week has been difficult and disappointing for the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team, but nevertheless an improvement from what the season has provided, helping fans and students keep a positive mindset moving forward as the season progresses towards its finale at Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament.
The week began with the Friars headlining a home game against the 15-9 Georgetown University Hoyas. After a stunning defeat in overtime at Georgetown, the Friars looked to bounce back and secure a win. Unfortunately, while keeping a close game throughout the first half, the second half of the game belonged to Georgetown as they went on a scoring tear, defeating the Friars 76-67.
This put the Hoyas in fourth place in the Big East standings; while the Friars have jumped back and forth in the standings, currently they are in ninth place.
After the game, Head Coach Ed Cooley stated, “It has just been one of those years. You just have to hang in there and get onto the next game…I never want to get used to losing…and we have to get our team into a good space.”
On a side note, during the game forward/guard Alpha Diallo ’20 became one of only 50 Friars to join the 1,000-point club.
Later that week, the Friars traveled down to the city that never sleeps and took on St. John’s University with a record of 18-7. This was the first matchup of the two teams this season, and all eyes have been on St. John’s point guard Shamorie Ponds, who led his team to victory against Marquette University.
However, the Friars managed to turn things around and handed St. John’s a loss at their home court—Madison Square Garden—with a final score of 70-56. The game was led by center Nate Watson ’21 who scored 18 points and had five rebounds. There was also a notable double-double from Diallo, who had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
This spark was needed as the Friars traveled down to play against the always red-hot Villanova University. While the Friars bounced back and forth for the lead against the Wildcats, the last few minutes of the second half belonged to the Villanova as they went on a scoring tear to end the game at 85-67. Watson lead in scoring again with another 18 point game and six rebounds, however, it was not enough to stop Eric Paschall and Phil Booth’s 25 and 22 point game, respectively.
This now puts Providence at one of their lowest records at 14-11 overall, and 4-8 in the entire conference. The Friars now need to figure out a gameplay strategy that works for them for the remaining six games of the season.
The next game brings the team back home to the Dunk against Xavier University for the two teams’ second matchup of the season. The last time these two met up in Cincinnati, the Friars found themselves a 64-62 victory, and will look to reignite that spark to avoid another losing streak.
While so far the road has seemed tough, the road ahead does show some light. It may look as if the Friars are knocked out right now with no chance of a March Madness appearance this season, but fans and critics will continue to show support for their hometown Friars.