PC Friars Push Past Fairfield In Season Opener
Providence College Press Release
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Providence College men’s basketball team defeated Fairfield University, 97-56, on Wednesday, Nov. 25 in Alumni Hall at Providence College in both team’s season opener. Senior center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) finished with a double-double and a career-high in scoring, with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
“It felt great to be out there,” Head Coach Ed Cooley said. “I am so glad we were able to get a game in. I was really proud of how we performed.”
The Friars forced a shot-clock violation on their first defensive possession of the game. Watson scored the first two baskets for the Friars in the paint. After 2:30 minutes of scoreless play for the Friars, A.J. Reeves (Roxbury, Mass.) knocked down his first jump shot.
“I just felt better as a person and as a player on the court,” Watson said. “I am in much better shape than I was last year coming off an injury.”
Following a steal, Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) drew the foul and converted on both free throws. The Friars narrowed the deficit to three points (11-8) with 13:27 remaining in the first half. Reeves knocked down the team’s first three-pointer of the game from the corner to tie it up at 13 with 11:46 left in the half.
The Friars forced Fairfield to take their first timeout of the game after an Ed Croswell (Philadelphia, Pa.) layup. With 10 minutes left in the half, the Friars took the lead, 17-15. The Friars continued to extend their lead with three-point baskets from David Duke (Providence, R.I.) and Greg Gantt (Fayetteville, N.C.). Providence led an 18-4 run ahead of the final media timeout. The score was 35-23 with 3:36 left in the first half.
The Friars led at halftime, 41-29. Providence shot 16-38 (42.1%) from the field, 4-12 (33.3%) from three, and 5-9 (55.6%) from the free throw line. Fairfield shot 12-26 (46.2%) from the field, 1-6 (16.7%) from three, and 4-4 (100.0%) from the free throw line.
Duke converted on an and-one to get the second half started. At the 14:35 mark, Fairfield took a timeout. The Friars led by 24 points, 56-32, and were on a 6-0 run. Meanwhile, the Stags were held scoreless in the last 2:07 minutes.
Kris Monroe (Raleigh, N.C.) made a three-pointer with 13:27 left to extend the run to 11-0. The Friars took a commanding 29-point lead. Fairfield’s nearly seven-minute scoring drought ended with 9:59 remaining.
At the final media timeout, the Friars led 86-47. Providence had made three of their last four shots from beyond the arc. Brycen Goodine (New Bedford, Mass.) threw down a highlight dunk to close out the game.
Providence finished 34-70 (48.6%) from the field, 7-16 (43.8%) from three, and 22-29 (75.9%) from the free throw line. Fairfield finished 19-51 (37.3%) from the field, 2-15 (13.3%) from three, and 16-24 (66.7%) from the free throw line. Taj Benning and Jalen Leach led the way in scoring for the Stags with 10 points each.
The Friars forced eight more turnovers and 14 more points off turnovers than Fairfield. The Friars also dominated the glass with 44 rebounds while Fairfield had 30.
The Friars finished with five players in double-figures. Providence consistently shared the ball with 21 assists compared to the Stags’ six. Junior guards, Duke and Reeves, scored 18 and 14 points, respectively, to go along with Watson’s career-high in scoring. Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) and Croswell finished with 11 and 10 points in their Friar debut. Bynum finished with a team-high eight assists.
Up next, Providence will head to Asheville, N.C. to compete in the Maui Invitational from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. The Friars will take on Indiana in the first round on Monday, November 30 at 2:30 p.m on ESPN2.