New Basketball Facility Will Pay Off
By Jack Belanger ’21
This past weekend marked a historic moment for Providence College Athletics with the official dedication of PC’s new basketball training facility, the Ruane Friar Development Center. This $30 million facility broke ground last school year and was completed in time for the team to begin using it this fall. The facility includes two full-sized basketball courts, a float tank, a studio for interviews, and (believe it or not) a barbershop.
While some students do not see why the College would build such a large, expensive building that is used regularly by a small group of students, a new practice facility has been a long-time coming after the College undertook many other upgrades around campus.
When current men’s basketball head coach, Ed Cooley, was hired back in 2011, Athletic Director Bob Driscoll told Cooley that the school had multiple projects before creating a new practice facility. Since then, the College has seen the creation of Anderson Stadium, the relocation and upgrade of Glay Field, and renovations of Schneider Arena and the Taylor Natatorium. PC has also seen the construction of the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies and, more recently, the science complex.
For both men’s and women’s basketball, a new practice facility was a necessity to remain competitive in the Big East. Former head coach Tim Welsh found that he lost many recruits to schools with facilities specific for basketball.
Now that the Big East is comprised of schools focused on basketball, many of the schools upgraded their facilities. According to Cooley, PC was the last school in the Big East to get a basketball-specific facility. Being the smallest school in the Big East, the Friars need every advantage they can get.
To attract the best recruits in the northeast, having a facility that compares to those at Syracuse University and the University of Connecticut is crucial. This season Cooley was able to keep Providence native David Duke ’22 from leaving the state and also kept Massachusetts native A.J. Reeves ’22 close to home.
Cooley has kept the Friars relevant with five-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament. With the news of a new practice facility, he has brought in possibly his best recruiting class, which is just another step for the Friars to reach the level of rivals like Villanova University, who compete for a national championship year after year.
While a championship is far from guaranteed right now, a new practice facility and a top recruiting class shows progress in the ever-changing landscape of college basketball where recruiting has become more competitive than ever. While everyone at PC hopes for quick improvement this season in the team’s success, Driscoll and Cooley have built a program with the potential to stay competitive for years to come.
A Year in PC Sports: Friars Make Run At Big East Title
Basketball Team Falls Just Short of Third Championship
By Jack Belanger ’21
The Providence College Men’s Basketball Team had an overall successful regular season this year, going 21-14 overall and 10-8 during Big East play. While there were disappointing losses to DePaul University and to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst who would go on to finish 13-20 in the regular season.
This left some fans frustrated with the team’s performance, but the Friars certainly made up for those losses with home wins against top 10 ranked Villanova University and Xavier University.
Despite the impressive upsets, many basketball experts still had PC on the edge of being picked for the NCAA National Basketball Tournament. Most people believed the Friars had to pick up a win or two in the Big East tournament to solidify a spot in the field. With a first round matchup against Creighton University, who also finished 10-8 in the Big East, a win was no guarantee. But by the end of the tournament, the Friars accomplished more than enough to earn a bid.
The game against Creighton was tight the whole time as neither team had more than a three-point lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation. Alpha Diallo ’20 scored on a putback layup with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 59-59 and force overtime.
In OT, Kyron Cartwright ’18 scored five out of Providence’s 13 points to lead the Friars to a 72-68 victory over the Blue Jays and a matchup with first place Xavier. Diallo was the leading scorer for the team with 19 points while Cartwright and Rodney Bullock ’18 each had 13 points.
The semifinal game did not start the way Providence had hoped as they found themselves down 17 points early in the second half. The Friars then went on a miraculous 29-12 run to tie the game at 64, sparked by Cartwright and Nate Watson ’21, who had 10 points in the second half. The Friars would head into overtime tied 68-68.
Again, it was Diallo and Cartwright who led the team in OT. Cartwright hit the go-ahead shot with less than a minute to go to give the Friars a 73-70 lead and then drew an offensive foul on Xavier’s J.P. Macura to seal give the ball back to the Friars. Diallo scored four points into overtime and his last second free throws forced Xavier to shoot a three that was too late.
The unbelievable win sent the Friars to their third Big East Finals appearance in team history and first since winning the Big East in 2014. The only team left standing in their way was the defending Big East Champions, the Villanova Wildcats.
While it may have been a daunting task to upset a heavily favored Villanova team, the Friars were already able to upset the Wildcats at home earlier in the season and beat Xavier twice.
After a close first-half where the Friars found themselves down by four, Villanova made a run to extend its lead to 12 early in the second half. Luckily, the Friars found enough magic once again to make a comeback to tie the game late. Diallo gave the Friars a 60-58 lead with 40 seconds left in regulation before Villanova managed to the tie the game and force Providence’s third straight overtime game, a Big East tournament record.
In overtime, Villanova took complete control and Providence was outscored 16-6 in the extra minutes. Diallo finished with another great game, scoring 22 points and had 10 rebounds while Cartwright had 19 points.
Even though the Friars fell short of the title, the team played its best when it counted the most. After a season with several disappointing games, the Friars showed college basketball what they were capable of when they played their best, a team that plays tough defense and hustles until the end. Despite losing the first round of the national tournament, Providence’s remarkable run in the Big East tournament proved that the season was a success.
A Year in PC Sports: Miracle at the Dunk
Basketball Season Highlighted by Upset Win Over ‘Nova
By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
After seeing the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team come off an unexpected loss against DePaul University during the latter part of the week, the Friar faithful made sure to come out in force and rally behind their home team as they hosted the No. 2 ranked Villanova University Wildcats on Wednesday, February 14. Friar students stole the clothing headlines as they outmatched Villanova head coach Jay Wright and his fresh dry-cleaned suits with their pink Friar t-shirts to commemorate Pink Out in Friartown.
PC had gotten crushed by the Wildcats earlier in the year, but from the tip-off, Friar fans could see the team was going to fight all 40 minutes.
The Friars stuck with Villanova early on and had a 27-23 lead at half. PC’s defense held the Wildcats to 0-7 from behind the three point line in the first half.
Through the first 10 minutes of the second half, neither team could gain an edge. PC held a 49-47 lead when Rodney Bullock ’18 finished with an electric one-handed slam dunk that sent the Dunkin’ Donuts Center into a frenzy.
Villanova continued to struggle to find their rhythm on offense as the Friars put constant pressure on their shooters all night. Lead by Kyron Cartwright ’18 and Alpha Diallo ’20, PC pushed ahead to a 67-58 lead with about four minutes left to go.
Cartwright led the Friars with 17 points while Diallo and Bullock both scored 14. Jalen Lindsey ’18 also chipped in with three 3-pointers and playing stout defense.
Villanova did not go down quietly, however, as Collin Gillespie hit a layup with 29 seconds left to make the score 72-69, but it was too late for a comeback. The Wildcats were forced to foul and the Friars hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the unlikely win.
The Friars’ performance on the court that day prompted a court storming by the student section to celebrate the upset victory over a rival. The Friar community united to yell and scream the entire game.
Many coaches in the Big East despise coming to the Dunk, as it has been shown that the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is where ranked teams come to die. Friar fans welcomed Coach Wright with open arms and made sure to make it as difficult as possible for his Wildcat team to feel comfortable.
In a college basketball season full of upsets, PC was fortunate enough to be a part of the history, especially against one of their closest rivals.
The scene of students swarming the court only added to the tradition and the pageantry of PC basketball. From their double overtime upset bid over No. 1 Michigan in 1976 to their magical run in 1987, the Friars’ program looks to add more hardware and banners in the rafters in the near future.
A Year in PC Sports: Men’s Basketball Recruiting Class
By Sullivan Burgess ’20
The best Providence College sports moment of the year was earlier in the basketball season, when the announcement of the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team signing two ESPN Top 100 High School players: Massachusetts native A.J. Reeves and Rhode Island native David Duke.
With many of the starters of this season including Kyron Cartwright ’18 and Rodney Bullock ’18 graduating, PC students needed a silver lining for next season; luckily, that miracle came in October off the court. Point guard David Duke from Cushing Academy, ranked 46th on ESPN Top 100, declined offers from University of Florida, University of Kansas, Syracuse University, University of Rhode Island, and University of Connecticut to stay in his home state and join Ed Cooley to become a Friar. Duke grew up in Providence and his parents still live in the Elmhusrt neighborhood. Duke is the highest ranked player to commit to PC since Rickey Ledo came to campus in 2012.
He will be joined by shooting guard A.J. Reeves from Brimmer & May High School, who signed in June of last summer, after declining offers from University of Louisville, Villanova University, and the University of Virginia. Reeves, who is six foot six inches, was named the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior season, where he averaged 27.1 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game.
According to rivals.com, which ranks the recruiting classes for each team, Providence has the 22nd best class in Division I. Both Duke and Reeves are considered to be four-star recruits according to Rivals and ESPN. With the signing of these two, alongside the signing of power forwards Kris Monroe and Jimmy Nichols Jr. PC turned into one of hottest schools to sign with in the Big East.
Aside from making PC one of the stronger schools in the Big East, Reeves and Duke’s attendance at PC maintains the winning culture and mindset Head Coach Ed Cooley brings each season for the school. Both athletes attended this year’s Iverson Classic, hosted by NBA Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson, and have been in the gym together working on one goal, bringing the March Madness championship to Providence.
Their chemistry will be pivotal this upcoming season to help develop a rhythm to mix together with our current players to find the strengths of any team that stands in front of the Friars. Reeves and Duke are the spark of light this school needs to be taken seriously as contenders for March Madness. Their addition to the team will attract upcoming future Friar recruits who are looking to come here and be a part of the Friar Family and culture.
Men’s Basketball Fights Hard in Big East Championship
PC Falls to ‘Nova in the Big East Final
by Sullivan Burgess ’20
It is only two weeks into March and needless to say it has been a crazy few weeks for the Providence College Friars Men’s Basketball Team and for Friar fanatics.
The month began for the Friars with a trip to the Big Apple for the Big East Tournament held annually in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.
The Friars began the tournament as a fifth seed in the Big East standings, playing against the third seed Creighton University Bluejays. This season the Friars went 1-1 with Creighton, so expectations were high coming into the game.
The game came down to the wire and ultimately had to be decided in overtime after battling back and forth over each half. The victory was handed to the Friars as they took over in the last few minutes to secure the win 72-68.
Small forward Alpha Diallo ’20 led the game in scoring for the Friars with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Point guard Kyron Cartwright ’18 after the game said he was excited about the atmosphere of the Garden and stated to the press, “It’s like, feels like our second home sometimes. We got a lot of great alumni who come out, a lot of great fans, a lot of students here from the New York area. They always come out. They support us. They’re really loud out there and we feed off their energy.”
The Friars played the next day in the semi-final against the one seed Xavier University, who came off of a strong victory against St. John’s University.
Again the game went back and forth throughout each half and overall had to be decided again in overtime. In overtime, the Friars played with confidence and strength and defeated Xavier 75-72 to secure a spot in the championship game.
Cartwright and Rodney Bullock ’18 came in clutch as they made many great plays to win the game, including 15 and 17 points, respectively.
The time had then come to show the world what the Friars are really made of as they entered the championship game against conference rivals, the two seed Villanova University Wildcats. To match the common theme throughout the tournament for the Friars, the game had gone to overtime, after the Friars came back in the second half.
Unfortunately, overtime went to the Wildcats as they out-scored the Friars 16-6 in overtime resulting in a final score of 76-66. In the end, Cartwright and Diallo were named to the All-Tournament Team in the guard and guard/forward position.
Despite the loss, Coach Ed Cooley stated to the press after the game “I thought we played great. I thought we played tough. I thought we played together.” These strong words were enough to boost the spirits of the fans and students.
The next day after the championship was more nerve-wracking than the championship, as it was Selection Sunday for the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
While fans were tense throughout the day, they were anxious to see the placement of the Friars in the tournament. The performance of the Friars in the Big East Tournament was definitely able to push the team from on the bubble to either a seventh, eighth, nineth, or tenth seed.
The team was ultimately placed in the west region at a 10 seed, playing against seven seed Texas A&M. Providence was one of the six teams from the Big East that made the March Madness Tournament, along with Villanova and Xavier at one seeds, Creighton and Seton Hall University at eight, and Butler University at No. 10. Overall the Friars are ready to go dancing this March.
Friars Reignite Their Fire
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.
PC, like College Basketball, is Unpredictable this Year
By Jack Belanger ’21
One thing that has become clear this year in college basketball is that there is no team that is the clear-cut favorite to win the NCAA tournament come March. No team was able to make it to January undefeated. While Villanova University is currently ranked first in the country, their loss to Butler University shows how tough the Big East is and how challenging it will be for them to finish the season without another loss. Preseason favorite Duke University lost two games to unranked Boston College and North Carolina State University and needed a miracle comeback to beat the University of Miami. The Universities of Virginia and Oklahoma were both unranked coming into the year and have slowly made their way into the top-10 ranking (they are ranked second and fourth respectively).
Now how does Providence College fit into all of this? The Friars were picked to finish fourth in the Big East, behind Villanova, Xavier College, and Seton Hall University. After starting 6-1, it looked at though PC was on the verge of cracking the Associated-Press Top 25 teams, but then the Friars suffered through a 2-3 stretch that included a bad loss to University of Massachusets-Amherst, an overtime win against an average Brown University team, and a 2-point win over a poor Stony Brook College squad. With a record of 9-4 heading into Big East play, many were left questioning how PC would handle a tough Big East schedule.
So far in Big East play, PC is 4-2 with wins over Xavier, who was ranked fifth, and Butler, who beat Villanova. That’s the good side of PC’s unpredictability. The bad side is the 19-point loss to Creighton University and an overtime loss to a Marquette team where the Friars let a 6-point lead with a minute to go slip away from them. For this team to have a chance to make the NCAA tournament, PC needs to get at least a combination of two wins over Villanova, Creighton, Seton Hall and Xavier and avoid any bad losses to St. John’s University, DePaul University or Georgetown University.
It is too early to tell how PC will finish their season. The Friars had an outside chance of making the tournament last year until they tallied off six straight wins to finish the regular season. With 12 games left in the season, PC still has plenty of work to do.
· After only scoring 10 or more points twice in his first 10 games, Isaiah Jackson ’19 has reached double-digit figures six times in his last nine games
· During PC’s 3-game streak, the Friars have held opponents to an average of 65.33 points after allowing 95 points in a loss to Marquette
· In the Friars’ six losses this season guard Jalen Lindsey ’18 shoots 44.4 percent from the 3-point line but in the 12 wins he has played in, he brings that number up to 49.3 percent.