Providence Punches First Ticket to Sweet 16 in 25 Years

The No. 13/13 and No. 4-seed Providence College men’s basketball team (27-5, 14-3 BIG EAST) defeated the No. 12-seed Richmond Spiders (24-13, 10-8 Atlantic 10), 79-51, on Saturday, March 19 in the Second Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The Friars improved to 27-5 overall, marking the most victories for Providence since 1973-74 (28-4). Graduate student Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) recorded a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Graduate student Al Durham (Lilburn, Ga.) recorded 13 points, including eight in the first half.

“I’m really proud of our team,” Head Coach Ed Cooley. “That was as well as we’ve played all year, and we picked the right time to do it. We clicked at every level.”

With the win, the Friars advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Friars will face No. 1-seed Kansas as part of the Midwest Regional in Chicago, Ill. on Friday, March 25.

“We’re going to enjoy this moment and know we have a really, really hard game ahead of us, but today we’re here,” Cooley added.


Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) connected on a mid-range jumper to put the Friars on the board first.
Durham scored the Friars’ next eight points. Durham converted a mid-range jumper and followed with back-to-back three-pointers. PC took an early 10-2 lead.
“There’s some days the ball just goes in the basket, and there are some days where it doesn’t, and today was one of those days where I thought Durham got us off to a great start,” Cooley said. “I thought the first four minutes set the tone.”
Horchler also had an immediate impact, scoring back-to-back threes and a hook-shot from the paint. With just under 13 minutes left in the half, the Friars lead surged to double digits, 20-8.
Due to their early success from three-point land, The Friars’ main source of offense came from three-point territory in the first half. Justin Minaya (Harrington Park, N.J.) and A.J. Reeves (Roxbury, Mass.) each entered the scoring column with a three-ball.
“We have a lot of threats on this team both on the offensive end and on the defensive end,” Reeves described. “When we play like this, I feel like we’re the best team in the country.”
At the 9:17 mark, Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) found a wide-open Minaya for his second three-point basket.
The Friars gained their largest lead of the half (16 points) as the score ballooned to 30-14.
PC cooled down on offense as the first half progressed. During a seven-minute span, the Friars were limited to just six points. However, their defense remained physical and they maintained their double-digit lead.
In the Friars’ final possession of the half, Horchler drained his third three-pointer of the game. Horchler finished as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder in the first half, recording 11 points and nine boards.
The Friars held a 15-point advantage at halftime, 39-24.
Providence shot 15-30 (50.0%) from the field, 8-15 (53.3%) from three, and 1-2 (50.0%) from the free throw line.
Richmond shot 10-28 (35.7%) from the field, 1-11 (9.1%) from three, and 3-6 (50.0%) from the free throw line.

Watson fought through the defense and finished a jump-hook to start the second half.
The Friars stuck to their game plan from the first half, finding open looks from the three-point line and converting. Durham and Horchler each added another three-ball in the opening minutes.
“When Coach calls our number, we’re ready to shoot the ball,” Horchler said. “Shots were falling tonight, and it felt great.”
Providence continued to extend the lead as the Spiders endured a three-minute scoring drought. With just under 15 minutes remaining, the Friars led by 26 points, 54-28.
The Friars made seven of their first eight shots to start the half.
At the 7:38 mark, Bynum nailed a deep three-ball to give Providence a 71-41 advantage.
The Friars led 77-51 at the final media timeout.

Providence shot 28-54 (51.9%) from the field, 12-22 (54.5%) from three, and 11-14 (78.6%) from the free throw line.
Richmond shot 21-53 (39.6%) from the field, 1-22 (4.5%) from three, and 8-21 (38.1%) from the free throw line.
The Friars never surrendered the lead in the game.
Five players finished in double figures for the Friars, including Horchler (16), Durham (13), Bynum (10), Reeves (10), and Watson (10).
The Friars out-rebounded the Spiders by 11 and dished nine more assists than Richmond.
Nathan Cayo led the way for the Spiders with a game-high 18 points.
Bynum finished with a game-high six assists for the Friars.

For the second-straight game, the Friars held their opponent below 60 points.
In the First Round victory over South Dakota State, Providence allowed 57 points, marking the fewest points the Friars allowed in an NCAA Tournament game all-time. Providence bested that mark vs. Richmond in the Second Round, allowing just 51 points.
The Friars’ 28-point margin of victory ties their largest margin of victory since defeating Sacred Heart by 28 points (92-64) on Nov. 11, 2021.
The Friars’ 28-point margin of victory marked their largest in the NCAA Tournament in program history. It surpassed the Friars’ 24-point margin victory versus West Virginia in the 1965 NCAA Tournament.
The Friars’ defense held Richmond to 20.7 points below its season average (71.7 ppg).
The Friars have advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
During the program’s Sweet 16 appearance in 1997, the Friars competed in the Southeast Regional in Birmingham, Ala. as the No. 10 seed and defeated No. 14-seed Tennessee-Chattanooga, 71-65, before falling in overtime to No. 4 seed Arizona, 96-92, in the Elite 8.
The Friars are making their first appearance as a No. 4 seed, which is the highest seed in program history.
The Friars are in the midst of their 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2018.
The Friars are 17-21 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with two trips to the Final Four (1973 and 1987).
Cooley has led the Friars to six NCAA Tournaments in 11 years, which is more than any other coach at PC.
The Friars won 14 games in BIG EAST play for the first time ever in 2022.
In their win over Creighton on February 26, the Friars won the BIG EAST regular season title for the first time ever.
The Friars have been ranked for 13-consecutive weeks after entering the polls on December 20, 2021.

The No. 4-seed Friars will face No. 1-seed Kansas in the Midwest Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The game will be played on Friday, March 25 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. Tip-time and TV information have not been released yet.
The Friars and Jayhawks will meet for the first time in the history of the two men’s basketball programs.

Categories: Sports