‘Soft’ Friars Give Up Halftime Lead To #3 Villanova


The Providence College men’s basketball team was defeated by the No. 3 Villanova Wildcats, 71-56, on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Villanova, Pa. The Friars fall to 8-7 overall and 4-5 in BIG EAST play. Freshman Alyn Breed (Powder Springs, Ga.) registered a double-double in the game, with game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Friars. Junior David Duke (Providence, R.I.) also added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

At 18:29, Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) put the Friars in the scoring column first with a mid-range jumper. Both teams struggled from the field to start the game. The Friars took an early 4-3 lead into the first media timeout.

By the 11:40 timeout, Villanova had regained the lead, 8-6. The Friars had made only three of their first 12 attempts from the field and Villanova had made only two of their first seven. The Friars also entered the timeout on a two-minute scoring drought.

With 10:36 left in the first half, David Duke (Providence, R.I.) took the ball coast-to-coast and completed a three-point play. Villanova’s Eric Dixon responded with an and-one of his own. Villanova led 11-9.

At the 8:19 mark of the first half, Jimmy Nichols, Jr. (Conway, S.C.) threw down a contested dunk. Coming out of the 7:59 media timeout, Duke and Nichols each made a three-pointer. A free throw by Breed capped off an 11-0 scoring run. The Friars held control, 20-11.

With 0:04 remaining in the half, Breed drew a foul on a three-point attempt. Breed made each shot from the free throw line. Villanova’s Collin Gillespie followed with a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.

Providence led at halftime, 27-24. Providence shot 9-26 (34.6%) from the field, 2-7 (28.6%) from three, and 7-8 (87.5%) from the free throw line. Villanova shot 8-30 (26.7%) from the field, 3-12 (25.0%) from three, and 5-9 (55.6%) from the free throw line.

At 19:33, Breed found Watson for an open dunk to start the second half. The Wildcats answered with a 7-0 scoring run. The game was knotted at 33 at the first media timeout of the second half.

Following a quick 6-0 Villanova scoring run, the Friars used a timeout at the 13:57 mark. A.J. Reeves (Roxbury, Mass.) knocked down his first three-pointer of the game outside of the timeout. On the ensuing offensive possession for the Friars, Nichols made a jumper. The Wildcats led the game, 39-38.

Villanova added an 11-0 scoring run in the next stretch of the second half to take a 50-38 lead. Watson broke a Friars scoring drought with a layup with 9:36 remaining. At the 8:00 media timeout, the Wildcats held a 54-42 advantage. The Wildcats maintained their lead through the final minutes of the game.

Providence finished 20-52 (38.5%) from the field, 5-16 (31.3%) from three, and 11-14 (78.6) from the free throw line. Villanova finished 24-63 (38.1%) from the field, 7-25 (28%) from three, and 16-22 (72.7%) from the free throw line. Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore led the way for the Wildcats with 15 points apiece.

Three players finished in double-figures for the Friars, in Breed, Watson, and Duke. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Friars by four and had four players in double-figures. There were seven lead changes in the game.

Up next, the Friars return home to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday, January 27 at Alumni Hall in Providence, R.I. The game is set for tip-off at 7:00 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Categories: Sports