Providence Loses First Home Game of the Season after Historic Defensive Struggle
The No. 20/20 Providence College men’s basketball team defeated the No. 19/17 Xavier Musketeers (22-8, 14-5 BIG EAST), 94-89, on Wednesday, Mar. 1 at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, R.I. The Friars fell to 21-9 on the season and 13-6 in BIG EAST play. With the loss, the Friars moved to third place in the BIG EAST.
Redshirt senior Ed Croswell (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the way for the Friars with his second consecutive double-double, 17 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Bryce Hopkins (Oak Park, Ill.) contributed 17 points and six boards. Five players finished in double figures for the Friars.
Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) drove to the rim and scored the first basket of the game for the Friars.
With an 11-2 run, Xavier jumped out to an early 16-6 lead with 14 minutes remaining. The Friars used their first timeout.
The Friars opened the game 2-for-17 from the field. Xavier extended their lead to 26-10.
At the 8:23 mark, Noah Locke (Baltimore, Md.) drained the Friars’ first three-pointer. On the ensuing possession, Xavier’s Souley Boum matched it with a three-point play.
The Musketeers extended their lead to 20 points after a Providence technical foul. Xavier’s largest lead was 22 (40-18).
With six minutes left until halftime, Colby Jones continued Xavier’s hot shooting night with another three-ball. Locke answered with his second triple on the other end.
The Friars went on a timely 18-5 run to end the half. The run narrowed the gap to single digits, 45-36. Corey Floyd, Jr. (Franklin, N.J.) hit two triples during the run.
Xavier missed nine of their final 10 shots of the first half.
Boum was the first player to notch double figures in the game. He had 19 points at the half.
Providence shot 9-29 (31.0%) from the field, 4-7 (57.1%) from three and 14-17 (82.4%) from the free throw line.
Xavier shot 16-36 (44.4%) from the field, 5-11 (45.5%) from three and 8-11 (72.7%) from the free throw line.
Hopkins scored the first basket of the second half.
With less than 16 minutes remaining, Hopkins and Locke knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to make it a one-possession game. PC trailed 55-53.
As the second half progressed, Devin Carter (Miami, Fla.) played a pivotal role in keeping the Friars in the game, with several key baskets on offense paired with defensive firepower.
Boum spearheaded an 11-2 Xavier run to push the Musketeers’ lead back to double digits. PC trailed 77-64.
At the 7:06 mark, Bynum knocked down his first triple of the game. Shortly after, Carter drained another three-pointer to bring the deficit back to nine.
With just over four minutes remaining, Hopkins and Xavier’s Colby Jones traded three-balls. PC trailed 84-77.
Xavier extended their lead to 90-78 with two minutes left. The Musketeers had made four of their last five shots.
The Friars went on a 9-2 run to close the game, but it was not enough to level the game.
Providence finished 26-64 (40.6%) from the field, 11-22 (50.0%) from three and 26-34 (76.5%) from the free throw line.
Xavier finished 34-61 (55.7%) from the field, 10-20 (50.0%) from three and 16-20 (80.0%) from the free throw line.
Five players finished in double figures for the Friars: Croswell (17), Hopkins (18), Carter (15), Locke (15) and Bynum (14).
The Friars never held the lead in the game.
The Friars narrowly out-rebounded the Musketeers by a margin of 38-38. Xavier dished two more assists and had eight more points in the paint.
Souley Boum led the way for the Musketeers with a season-high 33 points on 11-19 from the field. Colby Jones finished with 29 points, going 10-10 after missing his first shot.
Xavier swept the Friars for the first time since the 2016 season.
The Friars are 8-1 in BIG EAST home games this season. Tonight marked their first home loss of the season.
The Friars are ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll. It is the team’s eighth week in the polls.
The Friars have 13 BIG EAST wins for the second consecutive season and the second time in team history.
Cooley and Xavier’s Sean Miller coached together with two USA Basketball teams in 2014 and 2015.
The Friars will take on the Seton Hall Pirates (16-14, 9-10 BIG EAST) on Saturday, Mar. 4 at 12:00 p.m. on Senior Day at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, R.I. The game will be televised on FOX.
Providence holds a 57-54 all-time edge versus Seton Hall. Earlier this season, the Friars earned a 71-67 road win over the Pirates on Dec. 17, 2022 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.