Game Recap: PC Friars Bounce Back from First Loss to Thump St. Peter’s 68-47

Providence Friars (3-1) 68

Saint Peter’s Peacocks (0-2) 47 


Even without A.J. Reeves (back), Greg Gantt (personal reasons), and Nate Watson (still), the Friars were able to handily beat the visiting St. Peter’s Peacocks at The Dunk over the weekend.  First off, who knew that St. Peter’s was the Peacocks?

Anyway, the first half was a lot prettier than the second, but the Providence win was never really in doubt.  After taking a 4-2 lead 1 minute and 9 seconds into the game, the Friars lead for the rest of the contest, leading by 21 going into the half.  During the 2nd half, St. Peter’s actually matched the Friars 26-26 while PC played some pretty sloppy basketball with the large lead.

David Duke led all scorers with 17 points and Alpha Diallo just missed out on his fourth straight double-double to start the season, finishing with 15 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.

Game Notes: 

  • I think it’s safe to say that David Duke has officially taken the next step.  Through 4 games this season, Duke is averaging 15.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 5.3 apg, all good for second on the team in each category.  Duke is one of only 13 Division I players averaging 15/5/5 through this point of the season (per
  • The areas where Duke had some struggles last season were three-point shooting, turnovers, and consistent shooting from inside the arc.
  • 3-point percentage: From 29.7% (22-74) to 58.3% (7-12).  I know it’s a small sample size but he’s already hit 1/3 of the amount of threes this year as he made all last season.
  • Turnovers: From 2.1 per game to 1.5 per game; Assist to Turnover ratio from 1.01:1 to 3.5:1.  The fact that he is turning over the ball less is even greater once you realize he’s playing 7.1 more minutes per game so far this season as well.
  • Field Goal percentage: From 38.7% to 46.5%.  He appears to be committing more on his drives and with a bit more muscle and experience, finishing through contact and also getting to the line much more because of it.
  • BONUS: Free-Throw percentage: From 68.9% (51-74) to 80.0% (16-20).  He wasn’t that bad last year but getting over that 70% threshold really helps.  Of the top free throw shooters on the team last year, he returns as having the 3rd best percentage from last season (Jackson graduated, Edwards grad transfer to Charlotte, Monroe only took 4 FTs) behind White & Reeves.  Duke is on pact for 170 free throw attempts this year and is getting to the stripe 5 times per game.
  • Duke got to the line 9 times in the game, making 8 of his freebies, and marking the highest amount of free throw attempts in a single game for the emerging Sophomore.
  • Alpha Diallo just missed out on notching his fourth consecutive double-double to start the season, coming up just one rebound short but still finishing with 15 points and 9 rebounds for the game.
  • After an erratic offensive effort in the loss to Northwestern, Diallo settled down his offense en route to an efficient 7-13 performance and only 3 three-point field goal attempts (1-3).
  • Diallo continues to turn the ball over at a high rate, coughing it up 6 times in this game, making it his third game with 4 or more turnovers to start the year.  However, his turnover percentage isn’t actually that high based on how much he has the ball in his hands, but I’d still like him to protect the rock a bit better going forward.
  • Jimmy Nichols Jr. got his first start of the season with Reeves and Gantt both being unavailable to play.  To be honest, I think this may have been Jimmy’s best game in a Friars uniform to date.
  • Nichols matched his career-high with 7 points (3-6), a total he achieved four times last season in games against Marquette (away), UMass, CCSU, & BC (away).  He also added 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and assists, and a complete posterization to his stat line.
  • I’m still not confident in his three-point shooting ability as he went 0-2 from distance and is currently 0-4 on the year after shooting just 25% last year on 20 attempts.
  • However, I still believe in his athleticism and innate ability to make game-changing plays.
  • Also adding 7 points apiece were Kalif Young and Emmitt Holt.  Holt continues to get to the free-throw line an awful lot (5-7) based on his minutes (18) and Kalif did a little bit of this and a little bit of that (4 rebounds, 2 steals, but 3 TOs) after going scoreless against Northwestern.
  • Luwane Pipkins continued to hand out assists like hot potatoes but had his first game this season with multiple turnovers (3).  Still, if you’re going to have 3 turnovers, making up for it with 7 assists will do nicely.
  • Pipkins currently leads all Big East players in assist to turnover ratio with a stellar 5.5:1 ratio thus far.
  • Just as a fun fact, Duke is also 6th in assist to turnover ratio amongst Big East guys.
  • Kris Monroe benefited from Reeves and Gantt missing action and in turn, scored a career-high 5 points with his opportunity.  He looked much more comfortable in this game than he has in previous games this season.  He might be one of those guys that needs to get into the flow of the game in order to really show you what he can do.  I still think he will be a contributor for this team.  He may have to wait in the wings until next season, but if he performs when he’s given a shot, I could potentially see him working his way into certain game situations this season.
  • Maliek White was solid off the bench and proved to be a man of his word by dunking the next time he got a chance to on a breakaway…
  • After chucking 35 threes last game, the Friars came back down to earth and only attempted 14 threes this time around.  The balance is probably between 15-20 threes, but it should definitely not be creeping up to 30 and definitely nowhere close to beyond that.  Providence still only connected on 3 of their 14 attempts from long range, which should tell you all you need to know.
  • The Friars currently rank 180th in 3-point percentage (31.9%).
  • There are three aspects of the game that this group excels at and should be their bread and butter throughout the season.
  • 1) Sharing the ball.  With the depth this team has and with their versatile lineups and interchangeable players, ball movement and finding the open man have been key for PC.  The team is averaging 20 assists per game and their assist percentage of 70.8% is good for 5th in the country.  This team is unselfish and has a multitude of players who can score the ball.  There’s a trust amongst the teammates and a belief that the passing up a good shot for a great shot is the way to go.
  • 2) Along those lines, Cooley has preached that the Friars are going to push the pace and run whenever the opportunity presents itself, pretty much the opposite of Cooley’s previous offensive focus on running a compact Flex Offensive System.  True to his word, the guards on the team have played fast and the average possession length has been just 14.9 seconds, ranking 30th in the country.
  • 3) The main identity of every Friar team since Ed Cooley took over at Providence is Defense. So far this season, the Friars rank 28th in the country in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.  For those who don’t know, Adjusted defensive efficiency is an estimate of the defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) a team would have against the average D-I offense.  Over the past 5 seasons, the Providence Friars have never been lower than 42nd in AdjDE.
    • 2019 (41st), 2018 (36th), 2017 (40th), 2016 (28th), 2015 (42nd)
  • This year alone may be their best defense in recent memory, including the Kris Dunn led Friars squads.  They are current 6th in Turnover % (29.9%), 9th in Block % (18.8%) and 13th in Steal % (15.3%).
  • What that equates to is what we saw against St. Peter’s.  The Friars held the Peacocks to 31.3% shooting from the floor, a paltry 18.8% from three, and made them turn the ball over 24 times, resulting in 29 points off of those turnovers.
  • Ed Cooley was not pleased with the home crowd following the game.
  • What I think Ed was going for was the quote from White Men Can’t Jump where Woody tells Snipes, “You’d rather look good and lose rather look bad and win.”
  • As a P.S. there was a half-court shot winner (Maggie McKenna) at halftime of the St. Peter’s game.
  • After it was revealed that she had only won a Nike Gear Pack for hitting the shot, there was a bit of a twitter backlash, mostly to do with what other schools give out to students hitting the same shot.  In the end, props to Providence Athletics for stepping up and awarding her $2,500 and paying for her books.  Oh, and she also gets that Nike Gear Pack…whatever the hell that is.

Next Up, the Friars stay at The Dunk to take on first year D-I basketball program Merrimack at 7 PM on FSN.

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