Friars Unable To Execute Down The Stretch, #9 Villanova Leaves Providence With Win

The Providence College men’s basketball team was defeated by the No. 9 Villanova Wildcats, 64-60, on Saturday, January 25 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. The Friars’ record dropped to 11-10 on the season and 4-4 in BIG EAST play. Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) shined in the game, as he scored 18 points and added nine rebounds. David Duke (Providence, R.I.) had a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“My team is a good team,” said Head Coach Ed Cooley. “Our record isn’t indicating the effort and energy that we are putting in. We haven’t been able to put the ball in the basket.”

Watson got a bucket in the paint for the first Friars points of the night. A three-pointer by Duke would level the game at 5-5 heading into the first media timeout. Duke continued to stay hot from behind the arc, knocking down his second of the game coming out of the timeout.

Maliek White (Richmond, Va.) finished down low with 12:37 to give Providence a 12-11 lead. The Wildcats found themselves in a scoring drought for just under three minutes. Back-to-back three pointers for the Wildcats put them back on top.

Villanova held a 24-18 lead at the media timeout with 5:48 remaining in the half. The Friar offense capitalized right away with a second-chance layup by Watson. Shortly after, A.J. Reeves (Roxbury, Mass.) made a corner three to cut the deficit back to four.

In the remaining minutes of the first half, Villanova went on a 6-0 run, giving them a lead of 10 points, which was their largest so far. Watson worked down low, getting another offensive rebound and tip-in basket.

Villanova led 37-30 at the half. Providence shot 13-33 (39.4%) from the field, 3-13 (23.1%) from three, and 1-3 (33.3%) from the free throw line. Villanova shot 13-25 (52.0%) from the field, 4-12 (33.3%) from three, and 7-8 (87.5%) from the free throw line.

Watson made two free throws for the first Friar points of the second half. After baskets by Reeves, Duke, and Kalif Young (Vaughan, Ontario), the Friars had made three of their last three shots. The score was 44-38 at 14:47 media timeout, with the Wildcats leading.

With 12:20 left in the game, Emmitt Holt (Rochester, N.Y.) converted on two free throws to end a Friars scoring drought, which had lasted more than three minutes. Heading into the media timeout with 10:27 to play, both teams were struggling offensively. Providence had made only one of their last eight shots, while Villanova faced a scoring drought and were 0-4 on their recent shots.

The Friars cut the deficit to three after going on 7-0 run. The score was 48-45 with 9:28 minutes left in regulation. Watson gave the Friars a one-point lead on yet another tip-in in the paint. The Wildcats responded quickly with a three-point ball down the other end.

With 4:16 left in the game, the Friars took a timeout. Villanova held a 57-52 lead in the tight game. White finished down low immediately following the timeout, cutting the deficit to three points.

Duke drew an offensive foul on Saddiq Bey with just under three minutes remaining. Villanova had not made a field goal in the last five minutes of play. The Friars struggled scoring as well. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl of Villanova made a dunk with 54 seconds remaining to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 61-56.

The Friars would not back down in the final minute, though. Duke dunked it home with 48 seconds to play to bring the deficit back to three points. Collin Gillespie made two free throws with :29 left, and the deficit was back to five. The game was back-and-forth at the free throw line, as Reeves added two points next. The score was 63-60. Robinson-Earl made one free throw to eventually close out the game.

Providence finished 20-63 (31.7%) from the field, 3-23 (13.0%) from three, and 17-22 (77.3%) from the free throw line. Villanova finished 21-48 (43.8%) from the field, 6-21 (28.6%) from three, and 16-22 (72.7%) from the free throw line. Collin Gillespie led the way for Villanova with 18 points. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 17.

“Collectively we all have to do a better job,” said Cooley. “We’ll see if we can get one when we go to Butler.”

The Friars finished with three players in double-figures in Duke, Luwane Pipkins (Chicago, Ill.), and Watson. They had seven players in the scoring column. The Wildcats finished with four players in double-figures and six in the scoring column.

Up next, the Friars head to Indianapolis, Ind. to take on the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 1. Tip-off is at 2:00 p.m. ET on FS1.

Categories: Providence, Sports