Game Recap: Friars Take Down DePaul 70-67 in AJ Reeves’ Return

Providence Friars (13-7) 70

DePaul Blue Demons (11-8) 67

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That makes it two Big East wins in a row, and three wins in their last four games, for the Providence Friars as they kept things rolling against a much improved DePaul team visiting The Dunk.  The Friars got a much needed boost from A.J. Reeves who returned to the lineup after missing the last 9 games with a foot injury.

PC was led by Alpha Diallo and a continued presence from Drew Edwards off the bench as they were able to force the Blue Demons into turning the ball over 17 times and hold off a surging DePaul team down the stretch with some good clock management and clutch free throws from a couple of different players.

Game Notes:

  • Although Alpha Diallo struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 3-14, he was able to get to the line a ton and made the most of it once he got there.  Diallo was a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line.  The 14 free throw attempts tied a career-high that Alpha set this season against Texas and the 14 made free throws set a new career-high for the do-it-all Junior.  This was the 4th time this season that Diallo has gotten to line 10 or more times in a game and the 5th such game in his career.
  • Alpha finished with 20 points and also led the team with 9 rebounds, coming up just shy of another double-double.  This was the 8th game this season that Diallo scored 20 or more points.
  • Diallo also played 39 of the possible 40 minutes which shows you just how much faith Ed Cooley has in his ability to drain clutch free throws down the stretch, even with such a heavy workload.  Diallo has no climbed over the 70% threshold and is shooting 71.6% from the line on the year, right in line with his career percentages.
  • Quick check in on Diallo’s team ranks this season:
    • 17.0 ppg (1st)
    • 8.5 rpg (1st)
    • 3.3 apg (1st)
    • 1.8 spg (1st)
  • A.J. Reeves returned to the line-up after being sidelined for the past 9 games with a foot injury.  Reeves came off the bench and was limited to just 11 minutes of playing time as Ed Cooley wants to ease him back into playing time.  Reeves barely practiced this week so I was actually a little surprised that he played double-digit minutes in this one.
  • Reeves received a big ovation upon entering the game and hit a three almost immediately upon touching the floor.  Reeves was 3-6 from three in the game and give the Friars a much needed outside shooting presence that they have sorely missed since he has been hurt.
  • Just to show you how much his shooting prowess is missed, the rest of the team went 1-15 (6.7%) from three.
  • Reeves finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.
  • DePaul did not have an answer for Nate Watson in the paint.  That seems to be becoming a common thread throughout the Big East slate.  Watson was 6-7 from the floor for 14 points with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block.  The 2 assists tied a career-high for Watson and included a really nice find to a cutting Maliek.
  • To put that in perspective, Watson had a total of 4 assists all of last season.
  • Unfortunately, the best defense against Watson was the refs as he was called for some very soft fouls that kept him off the floor for a while.
  • Nate has started to get his free throw shooting back on track as well.  Over the last 5 games, Watson is 16-22 (72.7%) from the line and has finally raised his free throw shooting over the 60% mark to 60.4% on the season.  Last season, Watson was 69.6% from the line and he would be even harder to guard if he could get back up around that number and stay there for the rest of the season.
  • Drew Edwards continue to be awesome.  Just to give you an idea of where he started the season to how he is playing now, give these stats a glance.
  • Through the first 12 games of the season:
    • 0/12 FGs; 0/5 3FGs; 0.5 ppg, with 3 DNPs
  • Last 5 games:
    • 14/26 (53.8%) FGs; 7/15 (46.8%) 3FGs; 9.6 ppg
  • The best part of Drew’s game this season is that he is shooting 90.5% from the line.  With the team free throw shooting having been a real problem this season, it’s good to see someone you can count on from the line down the stretch.
  • He has been a total revelation and such a reliable piece of the Friars winning ways as of late.  Here is a great article from FriarBasketbal.com that you should definitely check out.
  • Also, him and Makai have no cuts and are looking fresh to death.
  •  Sticking with Makai, while MAL only took one shot (and made it), he did have 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals playing solidly while he was on the floor.
  • I feel like MAL can finish from any angle when he’s driving to the hole.
  • Isaiah Jackson seems to be really hit or miss offensively these days.  After seemingly finding his shot again last game against Xavier, Jackson went cold again from the floor, shooting 2-8 from the floor and 0-5 from deep.  But as is always the case with Isaiah, even when his shots are not falling, he’s still helping the team in other ways.  Super Glue had 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a whopping 4 steals.
  • Jackson seemed to get his hand on a lot of passes and was a pest in the passing lanes for the DePaul.
  • David Duke had one hell of a dunk in this one.
  • Duke finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, an assist, and a steal.  He was one of 7 Friars to record a steal in the game en route to 12 steals as a team.
  • Maliek White only saw 9 minutes of action during the game and as of right now, it looks like he might be the sacrificial lamb whose minutes go down with the return of Reeves and the emergence of Edwards.  Just like how Edwards stayed focused until his number was called upon, I know White is going to have multiple games where we need his scoring punch off the bench going forward.  The 9 minutes of playing time were Maliek’s second lowest total of the season (8 against South Carolina).
  • Big Kalif wasn’t able to score in the game, only taking 1 field goal attempt, but he did take down 5 rebounds.
  • Jimmy Nichols Jr. is apparently hampered with a shoulder injury but at least he held off on getting hurt until Reeves was back in the lineup.
  • Kris Monroe saw the floor for the 6th game in a row and was somehow able to pick up 3 fouls in just 4 minutes.
  • How sweet were these kicks that the coaches were wearing during the game for Coaches vs. Cancer?  The answer: So Sick.

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  • It’s hard to pick a favorite guy from this game winning photo but I think I’m going to have to give the honor to A.J. in his first game back.

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  • Nice to see the guys doing some good things after the game as well.

Up Next, the Friars travel to Seton Hall to take on the Pirates on Wednesday at 7 PM on FSN. 

One thought on “Game Recap: Friars Take Down DePaul 70-67 in AJ Reeves’ Return

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

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