Game Recap: Friars Upset in Home Game Against Penn 81-75

Providence Friars (4-2) 75

Pennsylvania Quakers (3-2) 81

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There have been some maddening games that the Friars have lost over the past couple of season (hello DePaul) that they probably should have won, but this one has to be one of the more frustrating defeats in recent memory.  After losing to Northwestern, a game in which Providence fell behind early, a common theme this season, you would have figured that getting up for a game wouldn’t be an issue for the near future.  But alas, in trots the Quakers of Pennsylvania.

This wasn’t a game that Penn stole from the Friars either.  Penn was in control throughout after leading by 17 going into halftime.  The usual things that carry the Friars in the majority of the games (assists, defense, pace) seemed to be noticeably absent in this game.  Providence came into the game with a turnover percentage within the Top 10 in the country and with block and steal percentages not far behind that.  Unfortunately, PC allowed Penn to shoot 52.6% from the floor for the game and 50% from three on 22 attempts.  I would roughly estimate that at least half of those made three pointers didn’t have a Providence defender within at least 5 feet of them when they shot.  Providence was burned on backdoor cuts all day which you can confidently blame on lack of focus and details.  The announcers were even surprised because they saw Cooley and the Friars working on specifically guarding against that during the pre-game warm-ups.  The coaches can emphasize something in a game-plan but the players still have to execute it.

I’ve always preferred for Providence to go up against traditional bigs instead of those with the ability to stretch the floor as they seem to have trouble adapting to that style of play with their frontcourt.  That seemed to be the case with Penn big man AJ Brodeur as he appeared to get whatever he wanted on the offensive end, recording a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and a pair of assists and blocks, just for fun.  He was a real matchup problem for the Friars throughout the game and the skilled Senior was able to take advantage of the lackluster defense.

The Friars were able to come back, as has been the case this season when they fall behind early, but weren’t able to overcome the giant hole they dug for themselves early in the game.

Game Notes:

  • David Duke had his first off game of the season and it hurt the Friars offense more than I thought it would.  After recording double-figures in each of the first 5 games of the season, Duke was held to a season low 2 points on 1-7 shooting before fouling out.
  • Alpha Diallo’s statistics look very familiar, ending the game with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.  He continued to turn the ball over at a high-rate, finishing with 4 turnovers to make it 5 out of 6 games with at least 4 turnovers on the season.  That’s the one thing that is seriously hindering his game so far this year.
  • The turnovers seem to be mostly lapses in judgement which is some-what good news since that should be correctable with a little more attention to detail.
  • Maliek White was the only Friar to actually show in the first half, providing the majority of the Friars scoring.  White finished the game with a game-high 20 points on 6-14 shooting and 3-7 from three.
  • While Mr. White was 3-7 from three-point land, the rest of the team finished 4-11.
  • White may supplant A.J. Reeves in the starting line-up soon based on the stellar play from Maliek and the disappearing act of Reeves.  I’m sure there’s something to be said for a scoring threat of the bench and you might not want to mess with his routine right now, but Reeves is continuing the same play that we saw from him after he came back from injury last year.
  • Reeves scored 5 points in 22 minutes in the game and is currently averaging just 6.4 ppg on 41.7% shooting and 23.1% shooting from distance.  I couldn’t tell you if it’s a loss of confidence or something else but his complete free-fall in three-point accuracy, his forte, has been stunning.  Prior to his foot injury last year, Reeves had started the season 24-53 (45.3%) though 10 games.  He was also averaging 14.2 ppg up to that point.  His shooting percentages and in turn, scoring average, have taken a steep dive since he hurt his foot.  I though they would clear themselves up with the off-season and recovery time but so far, it doesn’t look that way.
  • I still have the utmost confidence that he’ll be able to turn things around, I’m just hoping it’s sooner rather than later.  He just needs one game to catch fire and then he’s going to keep that mother burning…I can feel it.
  • Nate still needs a little more time to re-assimilate himself and get up to game speed but you can see glimpses of him getting there.
  • He really needs to get those free throws down though.  I think he’s in his own head right now after he went 0-4 in the game and moved to 2-13 on the season.  It’s as if him and Kalif has switched free-throw bodies.  Nate averaged 69.6% in Year 1, 65.2% in Year 2, and is shooting 15.4% so far in Year 3.  Kalif averaged 37.0% in Year 1, 49.2% in Year 2, 51.4% in Year 3, and is shooting 71.4% so far this year.  I don’t like this version of Freaky Friday.
  • Luwane Pipkins continues to distribute the ball effectively, handing out 7 assists for the game.  He’s also fallen into a 3-point shooting groove, going 5-9 over the last two games.  I think he’s realized which shots of his fall within the offense and is taking much more appropriate shot attempts within the flow of the game.
  • Whatever happened in the game, and however crappy it was, it still won’t dampen my happiness for seeing Greg Gantt rejoin the team after the passing of his mother.  I just hope that basketball can take his mind off such a traumatizing situation.
  • Emmitt Holt was the other guy off the bench who made an impact besides White, scoring 10 points and snagging 6 boards in 19 minutes of action.
  • Penn kids are just too smart in the end.

Up Next, the Friars head to Cali for the Wooden Legacy and will take on Long Beach State on Thanksgiving Thursday at 2 PM on ESPNU.

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