Game Recap: The Friars Put Together a Nearly Perfect First Game, Throttle Sacred Heart 106-60

Providence Friars (1-0) 106

Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-1) 60 

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Now THAT is how you open a college basketball season.  I didn’t think that the Friars could play well enough to match my excitement for meaningful college basketball games to be back, but they actually managed to somehow exceed my high anticipation.  We saw a couple new guys take the floor and one guy in particular, return to the form and presence that we saw a couple of years ago.

Emmitt Holt being on the court at all is great, but to see him excelling and looking like the Holt from his first season with the Friars is miraculous.  The Friars missed Holt’s toughness, leadership, and heart over the past two seasons and just his presence on the court alone can be felt throughout the team.  I’m so happy for him.

Led by Pre-Season First Team All-Big East selection Alpha Diallo, the Friars were great in pretty much every aspect of the game.  Their passing and ball movement was great, their team chemistry looks like it’s in mid-season form, and suddenly everyone on the team can shoot, ending with 7 players finishing the game in double-figures.  On the other side of the ball, the squad was forcing turnovers, pushing the pace, and wreaking havoc on the perimeter.

Game Notes:

  • Alpha Diallo is the consensus star of this year’s Providence team and he reminded everyone why.
  • Alpha finished the game with a team-high 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.  Diallo added 4 blocks, 3 assists and two steals while shooting 3-7 from deep.
  • The one aspect of Alpha’s game that needed some improvement was his three-point shooting.  He has was able to increase his proficiency 10%+ from his Freshman and Sophomore season to finish last year at 33.3%.  It’s nice to start the first game of these season shooting 42.9% so far.  It’s only one game, but I’ll take it.
  • Diallo recorded 10 double-doubles last year, finishing the season with three in a row.  His Sophomore year, he was able to tab six, all of them of the rebound and points variety.  With tonight’s double-double, he now has 17 career double-doubles and will continue to rack them up as the season goes along.
  • Alpha did seem to learn a new skill for his Senior season: Levitation.

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  •  Luwane Pipkins lived up to exactly the player he was billed as.  He was able to take advantage of some clean looks from the outside with much of the defensive focus on guys like Diallo and Reeves.  Pipkins was one of five Friars who hit multiple three-pointers, finishing 3-7 from deep for 13 points.
  • In addition, he recorded 4 rebounds and 3 steals, showing that he can get after the ball even as an undersized guard.
  • Even better than the shot-making ability, his presence as a true point guard who can distribute the ball was what the Friars were missing last season.  Pipkins handed out 7 assists and didn’t turn the ball over once.
  • The guy who gains the most with Pipkins joining Providence this year is without a doubt David Duke.  Duke will see minutes at the point but he’ll be able to play off the ball and utilize his natural playmaking ability more often.  Not to be outdone by Pipkins, Duke actually dished out 8 assists to 0 turnovers.  Overall, the two were pretty much perfect running the show for PC, with 15 assists and 0 turnovers as a pair.
  • Duke stuffed the stat sheet with 11 pts/6 rebs/8 assts
  • Kalif Young also finished in double-digits with 10 points on an efficient 5-7 shooting from the floor.  Young got the majority of the minutes at Center with Nate Watson still sidelined with an injury.
  • If you know Kalif Young, then you know he loves to run the floor and of course he seemed to be the first guy down the court on any defensive rebound for the team.  Young contributed 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
  • AJ Reeves looks like he’s back to 100% after dealing with a foot injury for the 2nd half of the season last year.  Reeves finished with 15 points on 6-10 shooting, including 3-6 from downtown.  His shooting form is picture perfect and he needs about 0.1 seconds in order to get it off.
  • Reeves also looked comfortable taking the ball inside the three-point line which is a good preview of how he can elevate his game to the next level.
  • Emmitt Holt looked fucking awesome.  He looked athletic and healthy again with some additional muscle added since last year.  In the 6 games he appeared in last season (playing just 36 minutes) he seemed to get fatigued quickly and had less hops when he tried to get a rebound or finish at the rim.  That no longer applies and he looked great.
  • Holt chipped in 16 points off the bench on 5-7 shooting, going 2-2 from three, and 4-5 from the line.
  • Finally the sixth Friar to score in double-figures was Maliek White.  I think he somehow gets forgotten when people are talking about the guards for Providence but he absolutely should not be.  Maliek can fill it up and fill up quickly.  He isn’t afraid to pull up from anywhere and when he decides to take it hard to the rim, get out of his way.  He is going to be needed to provide a lot of positive minutes this year.  White chipped in 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block on the night.
  • Greg Gantt did not look like a Freshman on the floor.  He came out with intensity and confidence right out of the gates, hitting on his first shot almost immediately upon entering the game.  Plus, my man’s hair is on point.  Nate might have him beat there but since Nate is suiting up quite yet, Gantt takes the cake for the Friars.
  • Kris Monroe got a lot of playing time with Watson being sidelined.  It will be interesting to see if that continues with Monroe’s size potentially being a factor as time goes on.  Monroe wasn’t able to connect on a bucket on opening night, but with every other single player being able to put the ball in the hoop, he didn’t really need to.
  • Death Lineup.  The new Death Lineup of Tommy Dempsey and Drew Fonts surprisingly got some run at the end of the first half but it wasn’t until the end of the game that they were able to show off their telekinetic abilities, ending with a Harden-like pump-fake and three from Fonts.
  • Some quick hits.
  • The Friars assisted on 31 of their 39 buckets.
  • The Friars recorded 31 assists to just 8 turnovers.
  • PC finished with shooting splits of 51.3% FG / 47.1% 3-PT FG / 75.0% FT
  • Providence won the rebounding battle 47-37
  • PC’s defense forced Sacred Heart into 19 turnovers, held them to 32.2% shooting from the field and 30.0% from three.

Next Up, the Friars stay at home and face NJIT at The Dunk on Saturday at 4:30 PM.  

2 thoughts on “Game Recap: The Friars Put Together a Nearly Perfect First Game, Throttle Sacred Heart 106-60

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