Providence Friars 59 (10-5)
Villanova Wildcats 65 (11-4)
Well that was about the most frustrating game I’ve seen in a long time. You got to see just how shitty the Friars can play for the first half, followed immediately by how damn good the team could play for the second half.
The Friars went into halftime down 18 points at home to the defending National Champs, shot just 1-11 from deep, missed countless layups, clanked most of their free throws and gave up 43 points. After what I can only imagine was a “spirited” halftime speech from Coach Cooley, the Friars came out with a fire lit under their collective asses. The fight was there once the second half started but the shots didn’t start dropping until after the halfway mark of the 2nd frame.
With 8:55 left to go and Providence trailing by 20 points, PC went on a 16-0 run over the next 7 minutes to close the gap in what felt like the blink of an eye. Unfortunately for the Friars, they dug just a little too deep of a hole to come all the way back and came up just short in a game I didn’t think that they could be in down the stretch. In the end, a loss is still a loss but at least there were some things that you could take away from this game.
- This may be remembered as the Makai Ashton-Langford breakout game. After continually improving his play recently, MAL exploded for a career-high 20 points to lead the Friars in scoring. Those 20 points came in just 24 minutes of action.
- Makai was 6-9 from the floor including a perfect 4-4 from three. After failing to connect on a single three-point attempt over the first 8 games, while not even seeing the floor in 2 others, Ashton-Langford is now 10 for his last 13 from deep over his last 5 games. For those statisticians at home, he is shooting 76.9% from three over his last 5 games and is now, incredibly, shooting 50% from three on the season.
- Here’s Makai’s stats over his last 5 games.
- 10.0 ppg
- 2.4 rpg
- 3.0 apg
- 58.1% FG
- 76.9% 3-PT FG
- I think it’s safe to say that MAL has earned a chance to start against Georgetown next game.
- Even though Makai was by far the best friar on the floor, he did have a little brain fart down the stretch…
I’m not a huge x’s and o’s guy but I didn’t love this Providence possession. By the way Pc is +3. They did not cover. pic.twitter.com/WRf3rW755e
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 5, 2019
- Despite scoring 11 points, Isaiah Jackson had his 2nd straight poor game. Jackson was 3-15 from the floor, including 0-6 from three.
— The Morning Hangover (@TheMorningHang) January 5, 2019
- After a streak of 8 straight games with a made three-pointer, Jackson has now failed to hit a three in back-to-back games, going 0-9.
- Funnily enough, he managed to go 5-5 from the line. The rest of the team was 8-20.
- Finishing off the bench scoring was Kris Monroe who made a surprise appearance and played 8 minutes while Coach Cooley was looking for guys who wanted to play hard. Between MAL, Jackson, and Monroe, they combined to score 34 bench points, outscoring the starters by 9. You can’t have your starting five combine for 25 total points and expect to win.
- Alpha Diallo led the Friars starters with 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and had 4 steals. Here’s were Diallo stacks up statistically on the season:
- 16.9 ppg (1st on team)
- 8.5 rpg (1st on team)
- 3.1 apg (1st on team)
- 1.8 spg (1st on team)
- David Duke found himself in foul trouble for most of the game and his time on the bench was made much easier by the stellar play of Ashton-Langford.
- The Friars as a team had 11 assists compared to 12 turnovers, not a recipe for success.
- Neither are these shooting numbers: 34.5% FG / 24.0% 3-PT FG / 52.0% FT.
- I thoroughly enjoyed Ed Cooley’s postgame speech about his players showing toughness.
Ed Cooley started the 2nd half w/ Makai Ashton Langford, Alpha Diallo, Drew Edwards, Isaiah Jackson, & Kalif Young.
— Ian Steele (@ISteeleABC6) January 6, 2019
- If the Wildcats can find a third banana to go along with Eric Paschall and Phil Booth, then they might be able to put something special together by the end of the year.
Up Next, the Friars have the week off before traveling down to DC to take on Georgetown on Saturday at Noon on FS1.