Game Recap: PC Friars Return Home to Down Iona 91-79

Providence Friars (4-2) 91

Iona Gaels (2-3) 79

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The Providence Friars returned to the familiar confines of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center after splitting a pair of games at Mohegan Sun for the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off to take on the visiting Iona Gaels.  The Friars were able to push the pace and play at a speed that makes sense for a team with this many great athletes and this many of guys who can handle the rock.

Although the Friars looked fluid and cohesive on offense to the tune of a 91-76 victory, their defense still gives me pause as they still have too many communication breakdowns and are giving up way too many good looks at open threes.  The good news for the Friars were that the Gales weren’t hitting any of the shots from distance, shooting just 6 for 20 (30%).

The Friars were led by their usual tandem of Alpha Diallo (23 pts, 9 rebs) and A.J. Reeves (20 pts) but also had two other guys (Watson, Jackson) finish in double-digit scoring for the game.

Game Notes:

  • Alpha Diallo bounced back quite nicely from a poor shooting performance against Michigan.  Diallo scored a game-high 23 points on 8-16 shooting from the floor.  I know I keep harping on it, but Diallo’s shooting improvement from last year to this year is like night and day.  Diallo is shooting 47.8% from three this year after shooting just 24.3% and 21.4% in his first two seasons.
  • The only thing that has shown an early season dip is Diallo’s free throw shooting but after going 6-6 from the line tonight, those numbers are trending upwards with each game.
  • Diallo also took down a game-high 9 rebounds, narrowly missing out on his 4th double-double of the season.
  • Quick check in on my prediction that Diallo will lead the team in points, rebounds, and assists this season.
    • 18.5 ppg (1st)
    • 9.3 rpg (1st)
    • 4.2 apg (1st)
  • A.J. Reeves was back to shooting the lights out in the gym, hitting 4-7 three-pointers en route to a 20-point performance.  His shot is so damn pretty.
  • It’s really no wonder why A.J. already has his own fan club at The Dunk.
  • Isaiah Jackson has slid nicely back into his bench superstar role, but he’s still playing starters minutes (30 tonight).  Jackson was money stepping into his shots from distance, hitting 2-4 and tallying 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist, and this great block that led to a fantastic And-1 finish on the other end.
  • The fourth player in double-digits on the night was Big Nate Watson.  Watson did as he pleased whenever he was fed the ball down low, usually starting his post moves favorably close to the basket.
  • I guess I would try to flop myself to a charge call too if my other option was Nate dunking on my face.
  • Watson scored 13 points on a super efficient 4-5 from the floor and continues to be a major plus from the free throw line, hitting 5-6.
  • David Duke struggled with his shot throughout the game, going only 1-8 and eventually fouling out with about 5 minutes left in the second half.  Duke did distribute the ball pretty well, tying his young career-high by racking up 5 assists.
  • Duke had another ferocious block and this time he didn’t get called for a phantom foul.
  • I’m going to go on a little bit of a side rant but Duke has this habit of just letting guys finish on breakaways most of the time and just trying to avoid any contact without really challenging the shot at all.  It reminds me of Major League, and I just wnat to say, enough with that ole bullshit.

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  • I think it’s only frustrating because you see these freaky athletic blocks that he has the ability to swat out of the gym and 90% of the time he doesn’t even challenge at the rim.
  • Anyway, back to the good stuff.
  • Kalif Young hit a jumper!
  • Young seemed like he grabbed every rebound in the first five minutes of the game to get the Friars rolling and even came up with the slickest pass of the all to a cutting Reeves…
  • Jimmy Nichols Jr. played really well but only played 10 minutes after getting the start for the third consecutive game.  It seems like Cooley has landed on a starting five (Duke, Reeves, Nichols, Diallo, Young) that he’s comfortable sticking with.
  • Jimmy scored 6 points on 3-5 shooting and grabbed 3 rebounds in his limited time on the floor.
  • Nichols also had a put-back dunk that is starting to become a signature move of his.
  • Maliek White was an absolute firestarter off the bench, getting all of the back-up point guard minutes for the team.  White hit 2-4 threes, accounting for all of his 6 points but what was more impressive was his play as a distributer.  White handed out a game-high 6 assists and didn’t turn the ball over once the entire game.
  • The 6 assists matched a career-high for White that he had last year against Washington.
  • It looks like MAL may have found himself as the odd man out of Cooley’s rotation.  After the Wichita State game, Cooley had mentioned that he thought he played too many guys and hinted at cutting down the number of guys in the rotation in the future.  Both Drew Edwards and Makai didn’t see any time on the floor for the game and if Maliek continues to play like he did tonight, that trend might continue.
  • Ed Cooley moved into 4th place all-time in coaching wins at Providence College with 148, passing Al McClellan.

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  • Cooley needs just 12 more wins to tie Tim Welsh for 3rd all-time, and I have a sneaky feeling that he’ll be able to pass him this season.

Next Up, the Friars stay at home and take on Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday at 8:30 PM at The Dunk.  The game will be televised on FS1. 

One thought on “Game Recap: PC Friars Return Home to Down Iona 91-79

  1. Pingback: 2018-2019 Schedule | The Morning Hangover

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