Game Recap: Providence Smashes Texas at Home 70-48

Providence Friars (7-6) 70

Texas Longhorns (9-2) 48

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Providence responded from their worst game of the season against Florida with quite possibly their best game of the season against Texas.  Providence was able to beat Texas in Austin last season and impressively showed that with their backs up against the wall, that they are still capable of playing at a high level against good competition.

Texas entered the game with a 9-1 record, however after shuffling through their previous wins, it looks like the only good win out of the bunch was on the road against Purdue.  Every other one of their wins was against a team with a KenPom ranking of 124 or higher.  That probably explains why they weren’t ranked coming into this matchup, even though they had the 9-1 record.

The Friars led by 15 points going into halftime and led by their defense, held the Longhorns to 29% shooting in the second half and 31.7% for the game, including just 14.3% from three.  Providence spread the scoring duties around with all 8 players that saw action scoring at least 5 points in the game.  Alpha Diallo led the way with a double-double and leading the team in the game with points (14), rebounds (12), assists (5), and steals (2).  Diallo was joined in double-figure scoring by Luwane Pipkins (13) and Nate Watson (10).

Despite shooting splits of 38.8%/38.1%/55.6%, the Friars victory was never in danger as their defense more than made up for their shooting struggles.

Game Notes:

  • First of all, how dapper was Cooley’s suit, shirt, and tie combo for the game?  I sure as hell know that I couldn’t pull this off…

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  • Secondly, I hated the alternate Texas uniforms.  The script writing looks good on the Michigan State alternates but it just doesn’t work with the burnt orange of the Longhorns.  When you already have a unique and identifiable color scheme (like Carolina blue for UNC), you don’t mess with that.

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  • Diallo led the way for the Friars in all aspects of the game.  From scoring, to rebounding, to assists and steals, Diallo showed the type of all-around stable presence that Friartown was looking forward to this season.
  • Diallo recorded his third straight double-double for the second time this year, recording 12 rebounds along with his team-high 14 points.  That makes 22 career double-doubles for Diallo (6 this year, 10 last year, and 6 the year before).
  • The one damper on this otherwise really good performance was once again, his shooting from the free throw line.  If Alpha wants to be the guy with the ball at the most crucial parts of the game, he has to get his free throw shooting right.  Diallo was 4-9 from the stripe and is 18-38 (47.4%) over the last three games.  His free throw shooting has dropped over 10% from last season, which in turn had dropped about 6% from this Freshman and Sophomore season averages.  Diallo needs to tighten up that part of his game and fast.
  • Not only did the Friars share the scoring load with all 8 players scoring 5 or more points in the game but they also shared the floor time.  Each of the 8 players who saw game action played at least 20 minutes.  Cooley has had trouble finding a consistent lineup and shortening the rotation sometimes, but he may have found the core group that he wants to run with if things keep going this way for Providence.
  • Even though Luwane Pipkins was a bit turnover prone (4) in the game, he was still able to make a positive impact on the game in other ways.  He matched his turnover number with assists (4) but will still need to improve on that ratio.
  • Pipkins did hit 4-6 three pointers, accounting for all but one of his point total (13) and grabbed 6 rebounds.  The 6 rebounds matched a season-high for Pip that he set against Long Beach State earlier this year.  Luwane looks like he might have finally found his long-distance shooting stroke as he has made 8-15 (53.3%) three over the last three games after beginning the season shooting 15-57 (26.3%) through the first 10 games of the season.  He may have been pressing a bit early on as he was trying to find his place within the offense but he’s beginning to look really comfortable now, which the Friars desperately need.
  • Nate Watson continues to look more and more comfortable on the floor.  Although he only played 20 minutes, he still wound up with 10 points and 7 rebounds for the game.
  • Working just as well as Nate in the same 20 minutes, Kalif Young finished with 10 rebounds and 6 points on 3-6 shooting.
  • David Duke struggled a little bit to get his offense going, shooting just 3-10 for 9 points but thankfully the other guys picked him up overall.  This has become the rarity for Duke this year and he will no doubt respond to an off-game by his standards when the Friars open up Big East play against Georgetown.
  • Emmitt Holt helped out tremendously with the workload down low, snatching up 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal, while providing the team with 6 points as well.
  • Maliek White and A.J. Reeves were both super solid off the bench, contributing a little bit of everything (12 points, 3 steals, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, and high energy).
  • I haven’t had a chance to post on of the post-game pics after a win, but I think Nate is back to feeling himself in this one, don’t you?

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  • As always, one of my favorite things after a home game is the Make A Wish.

Up Next, the Friars begin Big East Conference play at home against Georgetown on New Year’s Eve.

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