Game Recap: Friars Hang on to Defeat Davidson 63-62

Providence Friars 63 (2-1)

Davidson Wildcats 62 (1-2)

Photo via Friars.com

Just 12 minutes into the first half, the Friars had a 19-point cushion, leading Davidson 27-8 behind a blend of a pestering defensive performance that forced 7 turnovers up to that point and a cohesive and efficient offense that was running straight through the opposing Wildcats, starting the game shooting 10-16 from the floor.

Davidson cut the Friar lead to 4 points by the half and kept the score close for the rest of the contest after that. Behind another team-leading offensive effort from Nate Watson (22 points), Providence was fortunate to hold the Wildcats at bay, ultimately squeaking out a 1-point victory despite missing their free throws down the stretch.

Ed Cooley shortened the bench after playing 10 guys against Fairfield and 11 versus Indiana. Noah Horchler (26 mins) and Kris Monroe (17 mins) accounted for almost all of the minutes from the subs in the game with no guards even seeing the floor off the pine.

Game Notes:

  • Nate Watson led the Friars in scoring for the third straight game (23, 12, & 22) and is no averaging 19 points per game.
  • Watson has gotten his shooting touch back after uncharacteristically shooting poorly from the free throw line last year. Through the first three games, Watson is converting free throws at a 72.2% clip (13-18) which will only further Providence’s ability to go to him down low throughout the game, but more importantly, down the stretch as well.
  • Big Nate, known most for his brute strength and post moves, connected on 4 mid-range jumpers, showing a soft touch that could add another dimension to the Senior’s game. Just as a side note, I heard him call glass on those first two…I swear (maybe not).
  • David Duke bounced back from a rough game against Indiana in the first round of the Maui Invitational with a solid night overall, finishing with 13 points and 5 rebounds.
  • Duke still has to reel in those fouls though…PC needs him on the floor.
  • Jared Bynum had his best scoring night of the young season, hitting 5-8 from the field for a season-high 14 points.
  • Bynum also led the team again in assists with 5, without turning the ball over a single time.
  • In fact, the Friars only had 4 turnovers as a team, which is crazy good.
  • Bynum is averaging 4.7 assists per game and has an insanely good 14:1 assist to turnover ratio right now.
  • The Friars once again began the game with the same starting lineup of Watson, Duke, Reeves, Gantt, and Bynum.
  • Gantt looked really good to start the game and continues to look like one of the team’s best defenders. Gantt finished with 3 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds. I have a feeling that his box scores are going to look somewhat similar throughout this year, ticking multiple statistical boxes.
  • It looks like we’re still waiting on that A.J. Reeves breakout game with him catching fire from three point land. Reeves was 0-3 from three and is 3-15 from distance on the year. I want to see him continuing to let it fly despite the slow start because the shots do look good coming out of his hand and the Friars need that 3-point threat on this team.
  • Reeves is 8-10 from the free throw line so it’s pretty clear that he can shoot, it has just not yet translated to his long bombs.
  • Noah Horchler continues to rebound like a beast as the sixth man on the team. Cobra Frai has recorded 9, 9, & 8 rebounds as a super-sub.
  • I can’t believe at least one of his three-point attempts didn’t find the bottom of the net because they were somehow able to seemingly touch every single inch of the rim.
  • Ed Croswell saw his minutes all but disappear, only seeing the floor for 4 minutes. I’d love to hear the reasoning behind that from Cooley as he had been pretty effective so far this season.
  • No Brycen Goodine, Alyn Breed, or Jimmy Nichols Jr. (besides the few seconds at the end of the game) in this one. Still no Davis to be seen either.
  • The starters accounted for 57 of the team’s 63 points. So much for me talking up their depth and ability to not have to play the starters heavy minutes.
  • I love those gray jerseys but I still need those throwbacks to make an appearance soon.
  • Kellan Grady is a heck of a player and the Friars were able to hold him to 17 points on 5-14 shooting, as much as you can hold somebody to 17 points.
  • Also, kudos go to Grady for his Social Justice Initiative.
  • The player I was most impressed with on the Davidson side was Hyunjung Lee. The 6’7” Sophomore has a slick game that is really fun to watch. Lee recorded the same 17 point total as Grady but was able to do so on just 9 shots (6-9). It probably makes me like him even more that he missed the point blank game-winner at the end after having such a good all-around game.

Next Up, the Friars will face Alabama in the 5th/6th place game of the Maui Invitational at 7 PM on ESPN2.

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