Game Recap: Missed Layups and Threes Sink the Friars on the Road at Northwestern 72-63

Providence Friars (2-1) 63

Northwestern Wildcats (1-1) 72

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Northwestern was coming off a loss to first year Division I team Merrimack and the Friars were coming off two blowout victories over Sacred Heart and NJIT, so you think that the Friars would be able to go into Chicago and beat the Northwestern Wildcats on the road.  This Friars team learned the hard lesson that there is no such thing as easy road victories in college basketball.  Being a veteran team, you would’ve have expected the guys to not get over-confident by the respective results of each team’s previous game this early in the season.

Granted, the Friars played just about as poorly as they could have, combining an absurd amount of missed layups and bunnies with a seemingly endless number of three-point chucks, to ultimately return home with their first loss of the season.

After being down as many as 20 points, Providence clawed their way back against a focused Wildcat squad to get the score within a one-possession game down the stretch before ultimately falling by 9 points.  With only two players (Diallo & Duke) finishing in double-figures, the Friars barely shot over 30% from the field (30.6%) and 22.9% from three on 35 (35!!!) attempts, while allowing Northwestern to finish the game shooting close to 50% (48.9%) from the floor and 43.8% from three.

Game Notes: 

  • Before we get into any individual performances, I think we should take a look at the overall team numbers first.
  • I still can’t believe that the Friars shot 35 three-pointers in this game.  They are not a 3-point shooting team.  As a team, they were 8-35 from distance (22.9%) as the continually settled for three-point heaves instead of trying to attack the zones that Northwestern was throwing at them.  Last year, the team averaged 19.6 three-point attempts per game converting on just 33.3% of their attempts.  Now, with the three-point line moving back, they’re going to start throwing up even more threes?  It makes no sense.  Their game should continue to be turning their defense into offense, moving the ball, pushing the pace, and taking the open three when it shows itself during the flow of the offense or if there’s no defender around.  I know that Big Nate isn’t there to provide consistent low post scoring, but they have to do a much, much better job at attacking the zone…something that I always applauded Drew Edwards for being able to do throughout his Friar career.
  • Layups.  Layups.  Layups.
  • The Friars missed so many gimme layups from point blank range, that even if they pulled out this victory, it would be something that would absolutely have to be addressed.  Here’s a breakdown of everybody’s layup number from the game.
  • Alpha – miss, miss, miss, miss, make, miss, miss, make, make, make (4-10)
  • AJ – miss (0-1)
  • Holt – miss, make, miss (1-3)
  • Duke – miss (0-1)
  • Gantt – make, make (2-2)
  • Pipkins – miss, miss, miss (0-3)
  • White – miss, make (1-2)
  • Young – miss (0-1)
  • Combined (8-23)
  • Providence missed their first 6 layups of the game and started the game missing their first 9 shots overall.
  • The Friars assisted on only 13 of their 22 made baskets (59%) after assisting on 31 of 39 made field goals (79.5%) against Sacred Heart and 19 of 28 (67.9%) against NJIT.  I would be absolutely shocked if the next few teams to play the Friars don’t at least try some zone after watching the film on this one.
  • Even though he struggled making layups (at least in the first half) and shooting threes (1-8), Diallo still managed to record his third double-double in as many games this season.  That makes 19 career double-doubles for Diallo (3 this year, 10 last year, and 6 the year before).
  • Alpha finished the game with 15 points and 14 rebounds despite struggling to find his groove for most of the game.
  • David Duke has been the most consistent player for Providence through the first three games and continued to show his overall growth as a player.  Duke finished with 14 points on 40% shooting from the floor and 2-4 (50%) from deep.  Duke also managed to chip in 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
  • The player who in my opinion played the best game tonight for Providence was Freshman Greg Gantt.  Despite missing so much time with a variety of injuries, starting with his Senior year of High School, Gantt looked even better than advertised.  Not only was Gantt the only Friar not to miss a layup (2-2), he didn’t even miss a shot the entire game (4-4).  In just 15 minutes of playing time, Gantt was tied for the 2nd most made field goals on the team (4), the 2nd most rebounds (5), and the most blocks (1).  If that’s not making the most of your time on the court, I don’t know what is.
  • Kalif was a bit of a non-factor on the offensive end, mostly because of the zone, going scoreless in 15 minutes.
  • A.J. Reeves was also scoreless in 15 minutes of playing time, going 0-5 for the game and never looking totally engaged throughout his time on the floor.  He also managed to turn the ball over a team-high 3 times in his limited minutes, so this is a performance that he needs to just forget about instantly upon getting back to Providence.
  • Luwane Pipkins was certainly not shy about shooting the ball, going 3-15 from the floor (3-11 from 3) for 9 points.  If you’re shooting double-digit field goal attempts, you at least have to end up with double-digit points…at LEAST.  He continues to come up short from beyond the arch, just grazing the front iron when he launches.
  • Pip still showed that he has a knack for stepping into passing lanes, snatching 4 steals.  He did turn the ball over for the first time on the season and now sits at an assist to turnover total of 15:1.  Still not too shabby.
  • Maliek White led the team in assists with 4 but much like everyone else, struggled from the floor (3-10) and on threes (1-7).  He also ended up fouling out on a bullshit technical foul in the 2nd half.
  • Emmitt looked decent and was able to get to the line 6 times, converting on 5 of his free throws.
  • Always good to see Tommy Planek show up to support the guys.  Once A Friar, Always A Friar.

Next Up, the Friars head back to The Dunk to take on Saint Peter’s at 2 PM on FS2.

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