Friars Win Second Straight, Jeff Battle Steps in for Ed Cooley

The Providence College men’s basketball team defeated the DePaul Blue Demons, 57-47, on Saturday, February 13 in Chicago, Ill. With the win, the Friars move to 11-10 overall and 7-8 in BIG EAST play. David Duke (Providence, R.I.) scored 17 points and matched a career-high 13 rebounds. Friar Head Coach Ed Cooley was out of action tonight with a non-Covid issue. Assistant Coach Jeff Battle led the Friars as he earned his first win as a head coach.

“I thought our upperclassmen showed great leadership,” Battle said. “Everyone contributed in some type of way, in the togetherness we showed and the way we defended.”

A.J. Reeves (Roxbury, Mass.) scored the first five points for the Friars. The score was knotted at six with 15:46 left in the first half. Each team entered the first media timeout on a scoring drought of over two minutes.

DePaul led 14-13 at the 11:58 timeout. Following the pause in the action, Reeves connected from three-point territory for the second time and Duke converted a dunk. The Friars held an 18-14 lead.

The teams traded baskets as the first half progressed. On the possession leading up to the 7:42 timeout, freshman Alyn Breed (Powder Springs, Ga.) made a mid-range jumper. The Friars led 20-18.

Duke took control offensively in the next stretch. With 6:32 remaining in the first half, he knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key. Duke also added the next two scores for the Friars. Providence led 30-24 at the final media timeout of the first half. The Friars were held scoreless in the last 3:45 minutes of the first half.

“(Coach Jeff Battle) has a lot of confidence in us, he has a lot of belief in us, and that gave us confidence to take control of the group and really show we can lead,” Duke said after the game. “Whatever the situation is, we can fight the adversity.”

The Friars led at halftime, 30-28. Providence shot 10-28 (35.7%) from the field, 4-11 (36.4%) from three, and 6-9 (66.7%) from the free throw line. DePaul shot 12-32 (37.5%) from the field, 2-3 (66.7%) from three, and 2-2 (100%) from the free throw line.

At the 19:28 mark, Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) made a three-pointer from the right corner to open the second half. Shortly after, Breed added a layup to extend the Friars’ lead to 35-28. The Blue Demons used their first timeout of the half.

Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) returned to the floor for the first time after missing nine consecutive games due to injury. With 15:37 remaining, Bynum assisted on Duke’s second three-point basket of the game. The Friars led 40-33.

With 10:51 left to play, Greg Gantt (Fayetteville, N.C.) converted a second-chance layup. This was the only made shot for the Friars in their previous nine attempts. Meanwhile, the Blue Demons were one for their last 10. Providence led 44-36 at the 10:42 timeout.

With 6:54 remaining, Gantt dunked it to give the Friars a double-digit lead, 50-39. The basket capped off a quick 6-0 Friars run. DePaul had not scored in over three minutes.

The Friars maintained their lead to close out the game. Inside the final minute, Duke found Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) on an alley-oop.

Providence finished 21-60 (35.0%) from the field, 7-24 (29.2%) from three, and 8-12 (66.7%) from the free throw line. DePaul finished 19-62 (30.6%) from the field, 3-9 (33.3%) from three, and 6-10 (60.0%) from the free throw line. David Jones registered a team-high 10 points for the Blue Demons.

Duke and Reeves finished in double figures for the Friars. Horchler added 11 rebounds. The Friars outrebounded and out-assisted the Blue Demons in the game.

“This was a collective effort,” Battle added. “We have a great staff and great chemistry on our staff. Everyone contributed to tonight.”

Up next, the Friars head to Storrs, Conn. to take on the UConn Huskies for the second time in less than a week. The game is set for tip-off on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 p.m. and is televised on FS1.

Categories: Sports