Game Recap: Friars Drop Maui Invitational Opener to Indiana, 79-58

Providence Friars 58 (1-1)

Indiana Hoosiers 79 (2-0)

Photo via IndianaHQ

Even though the Maui Invitational is taking place in Asheville, North Carolina this year, the hopes for a successful tournament were just as high for the Friars and Friartown as if it was in tropical Hawaii. The Friars never really seemed to get things going offensively, not reaching double-digits until 12 minutes into the first half.

As poor as their offensive struggles were, it was uncharacteristically the defensive end of the game where the Friars seemed to have most of their problems. The Friars were out-rebounded by the Hoosiers 42-33, a game after cleaning everything up on the boards against Fairfield, out-hustling and out-boarding the Stags to a tune of a 44-30 rebounding edge. After grabbing 17 offensive rebounds in their season opener, they managed to grab just 11 against Indiana. There were multiple instances of Indiana shooters finding themselves wide open for uncontested buckets (especially when they played zone) and a complete lack help defense on drives to the basket, leading to unobstructed finishes at the rack.

Only two Friars, Nate Watson & David Duke, finished the game in double-figure scoring with 12 apiece, however the two of them combined to go 7-23 from the floor in order to get there.

Game Notes:

  • Nate Watson looked terrific in the first half, making 3 of his 4 attempts from the field for 10 points. I’m really not sure why the Friars didn’t feed the beast down low as it appeared to be the only effective offense that the team had whilst struggling mightily to create anything in the half court.
  • However, the second half saw Big Nate go just 1-7 from the floor, finishing the game 4-11 and tied for a team-high 12 points.
  • Nate chipped in 5 rebounds and 3 blocks, along with a rare assist.
  • The Friars recorded 7 assists total as a team. 7. Considering Jared Bynum alone had 8 assists against Fairfield, that isn’t nearly close to being good enough and it showed.

“Seven assists in 40 minutes? That might be the lowest assist total I’ve had in a game at Providence. Just a bad game. Flush it down the toilet and move on to the next.”

– Ed Cooley
  • Speaking of Jared Bynum’s assist numbers, he managed to dish just 1 out in 34 minutes of action, matching that number with 1 turnover.
  • Bynum was passing up open looks in the first half but must have been told to look for his shot more in the 2nd half (appropriately so) but his shots continued to keep coming up short off the front of the rim. The Friars are going to need Bynum to be able to consistently hit threes on kick-outs going forward in order to free one-on-one matchups down low.
  • David Duke had a pretty rough night and one that I’m sure he is going to want to forget altogether. That may be the silver lining of Providence having to play tomorrow. There isn’t much time to dwell on that performance.
  • Duke finished the game with 12 points with most of his damage coming from the free throw line (5-7).
  • I didn’t think this would have been a topic that I would have to bring up but Duke couldn’t inbound the ball from the baseline under the opposing hoop whatsoever. He turned the ball over on inbounds passes at least three times in the game and without those easily fixable mistakes, would have only had 1 turnover for the game.
  • A.J. Reeves appeared to be one of the few players trying to force the issue and aggression on the offensive end. He was visibly increasing his effort to try and claw the Friars back into the game, which I really appreciated.
  • Reeves’ three-point shot looks much more fluid this season already, despite only connecting on 3-12 through 2 games. It’s going to take one game where he catches fire and I think that will carry over to the rest of the season from him. He just needs one game like that.
  • Greg Gantt the start for the second straight game.
  • Gantt had an energetic put-back dunk that showed off his athleticism and tireless motor.
  • He does a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score but pretty soon, some of the stuff better start showing up some way in the box score. He’s doing everything well but has only attempted 6 shots in two games, despite playing 19 minutes a contest and finding himself in the starting lineup.
  • The bench did not have the same impact in game 2 as it did in game 1.
  • Noah Horchler continued to rebound well, securing 9 rebounds for the second straight game and once again leading the bench in playing time.
  • Ed Croswell looked solid again but couldn’t produce anything from the free throw line, going 1-5. That makes his season total 1-7, something that can’t continue if he wants to see an uptick in playing time.
  • Jimmy Nichols Jr. saw his first action of the season after sitting out the Fairfield game and didn’t have much of an impact in his short time on the floor.
  • Kris Mornoe was once again one of the first guys of the bench but didn’t seem to have his shooters touch working in this one, going 0-2 in 5 minutes.
  • Alyn Breed got more time than I expected and looked pretty good on defense. He continues to look hesitant so far on offense but I’m hoping that confidence will come in time.
  • I would have expected to see Brycen Goodine much earlier in the game considering Duke’s bumpy play. I have a feeling that might change in the future. I want to see what he can do too.
  • Race Thompson looked incredible for Indiana. The Junior Forward led all scorers with a career-high 22 points on 8-12 shooting and a career-high 13 rebounds, accounting for his first career double-double. Not a bad night for a Race…which is also a pretty cool name.
  • Also, I think I need to get in contact with the strength and conditioning coach for Indiana immediately…
  • I expected to be more impressed with Trayce Jackson-Davis but Thompson looked a lot better than him.
  • It wouldn’t have mattered much considering how the Friars played but the refs were missing some obvious calls.
  • Bill Walton, I swear I love you buddy, but you were just way too much for me today. He doesn’t talk about what’s actually happening in the game for long stretches and goes on random tangents throughout. A story here and there is fine but asking what a list of people’s favorite waterfalls and waiting for the answer while there’s a game going on is just frustrating.

One thought on “Game Recap: Friars Drop Maui Invitational Opener to Indiana, 79-58

  1. Pingback: Game Recap: Friars Hang on to Defeat Davidson 63-62 | The Morning Hangover

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