by The Cowl Editor on February 28, 2019
By Gavin Woods ’22
It has been a busy week for the Men’s Basketball Team. In the span of six days, Providence College played two home games versus St. John’s University and Marquette University, before their matchup at Butler University.
The Friars started the week with a home game against St. John’s, who is currently third in the Big East. To say that St. John’s had the momentum going into the game would be an understatement, especially coming off staggering wins against Marquette, Butler, and most recently, Villanova. However, the Friars had won their last matchup just two weeks prior, and they showed no signs of backing down.
PC came out hot at the start of the game, scoring an early three from Makai Ashton-Langford ’21. The name of the game for Providence, however, was defense. The Friars did not give up a single point until 7:49 into the game, with a lead of 9-2. Perhaps even more impressive, PC was able to almost completely shut down Shamorie Ponds, the leading scorer for St. John’s, who averages 19.7 points per game. Ponds finished the night with two points, well below his season average.
The Friars were able to hold on to their decisive lead, finishing with a final score of 78-59. There was not a single lead change throughout the game.
Next, PC faced the Golden Eagles of Marquette, who are currently at the top of the Big East standings. Marquette boasts a win percentage of .85 and a conference record of 12-2. Marquette certainly came into the game with confidence, as they won their last matchup against Providence.
The Golden Eagles began the game scoring early and often. They led at the half by 11 with a score of 31-20. Providence seemed to be containing Marquette’s star guard, Markus Howard, who averages 25 PPG, holding him to only 14 points. However, this enabled Marquette to adapt, using their other weapons including Sakar Anim and brothers Sam and Joey Hauser. Marquette had a total of five double-digit scorers, compared to Providence’s three.
The biggest difference between PC and Marquette was shooting accuracy. The Golden Eagles sank 54.9 percent of their field goals, 47.6 percent from three and 76.9 percent of free throws. This is compared to the Friars’ percentages of 28.6 from the field, 30 from three, and just 50 from the free throw line.
The game’s lead scorer was Alpha Diallo ’20 who dropped 19 with six rebounds. However, it was Marquette’s Sam Houser who stole the show with an impressive 18-point 13-rebound double-double.
Their next game proved to be the closest for Providence, as they traveled to face off with Butler. Of the three games, this was the closest matchup, with both Providence and Butler having an overall record of 15-13. This was the first meeting between the two teams during the 2018-2019 season, and both teams were desperate to improve their conference record.
Though the game was tight throughout, Providence seemed to have the slight edge. The Friars’ largest lead was 14 points with 7:15 left in the first half. However, a rapid comeback from the Bulldogs resulted in a Providence lead by just five points at the half. The battle continued through the second half, with a total of four lead changes. Providence continued their offensive game plan, facilitating the ball through Nate Watson ’21. Watson led the Friars in scoring with 21 points.
Towards the end of the second half, PC began to build their lead over Butler. The Friars were up by seven points with less than a minute left to play. However, Cooley elected to continue his strategy to not foul the other team until the end of the game. This enabled Butler to come back from their deficit and tie the game, due to several Providence turnovers. This gave PC one last chance to end the game, with 10 seconds left in the second half. A failed open three point shot from David Duke ’22 sent the game to overtime, where the Friars outscored Butler 11-5.
Though the Friars seem to have found themselves in a late season slump, with a record of 6-10 in the Big East conference, these two conference wins will certainly help PC in their placement for the Big East tournament.