Game Recap: Providence College Plays Fairleigh Dickinson. Providence Wins.

Providence Friars 79 (3-2)

Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 67 (0-4)

Photo via The Westerly Sun

The title really says it all. Even though the end score looks pretty good with Providence beating the visiting Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson 79-67, it was a struggle for the Friars to pull out the victory this evening. Despite being almost a 20-point favorite, the Friars and the Knights were all tied up going into halftime. The Friars were able to come out with a little fire lit underneath them in the second half and a couple of their bench players helped put the game away for Cooley and the Friars.

I think we can officially call this game the David Duke coming out party for his Junior campaign. Granted, it wasn’t helped by the overall team performance, but if Duke didn’t totally take the game over, this could have easily turned into a nightmare at Alumni Hall. Duke finished with a game-high 28 points and completely dominated the Knights while playing a Bryce Cotton-like 38 minutes.

Nate Watson continues to eat teams alive in the post, scoring 20 points and staying out of foul trouble in the process. The other three players that played well in the game for the Friars were Greg Gantt, Alyn Breed, and Jimmy Nichols.

Game Notes:

  • David Duke Jr.
  • At first, I didn’t even realize how great Duke was playing. All of a sudden he had 20 points and I started paying particular attention from then on. Duke scored 28 points on 9-14 shooting, including 10-12 from the free throw line.
  • On the season, David is averaging 18 ppg and 5.2 rpg, including shooting 87.1% from the free throw line while getting to the line more than 6 times per game.
  • Duke also led the Friars in rebounding, securing 8 rebounds.
  • The Friars were able to get back to their strong team rebounding ways, out-rebounding Fairleigh Dickinson 35-27.
  • Nate Watson finished with 20 points on 6-8 shooting from the floor. Watson has now scored 20+ points for the third time in five games this season. Watson is averaging 18.8 ppg while shooting a stellar 63% from the field.
  • By the end of the season last year, Watson had seemingly gotten his shooting stroke from the free throw line back after struggling to do so while recovering from a knee injury throughout the beginning and middle of the year. During his first two seasons, Watson was a 65%-70% shooter from the line but took a step back to 56.5% with the banged up knee during his Junior year. Through 5 games, after hitting all 8 of his attempts vs. FDU, Watson is making free throws at a clip of 81.3% (26-32) while getting to the line at almost twice the rate of last season.
  • Greg Gantt, the stat-filler.
  • Gantt played his best game of the year, finishing the game with 9 points, 7 rebounds, and a team-high 5 assists and 3 steals. Gantt does anything and everything on the court. His length is one of his best basketball qualities and he uses it to his advantage on both ends of the court.
  • Greg showed more aggressiveness in attacking the rim and it worked well for him, making all four of his shots from inside the arc.
  • A.J. Reeves has got to get hot at some point right? The Friars need him to be a consistent scoring threat in order to reach the potential that this team has.
  • Reeves went 0-5 from three and is now 4-25 from three on the season. That’s 16% for you mathematicians at home. I mean, just by the law of averages and some luck, that has to improve. He still has my confidence to let it fly but I think the rope should be short from Cooley. As soon as you can see his shot isn’t falling that day, you gotta get him out for a while.
  • Speaking of guys who can’t buy a three-point bucket, Jared Bynum kept his streak alive by going 0-3 from distance in this one and is now 0-14 on the season. Teams are going to start collapsing on Nate if there is no threat of our guys hitting threes if he kicks out.
  • The Friars as a team went 1-15 from three-point land.
  • If Bynum is going to get cold from the field, he should definitely be making up for it with his distribution. Bynum did not record a single assist in 29 minutes. That can’t happen from your point guard. The Friars as a team had only 9 assists…I don’t like that.
  • This play was nice though.
  • Alyn Breed has impressed me. I think because of the fact that he wasn’t a monster recruit and that the Friars looked so deep to start the season, I thought that this season would have been one os sparse playing time for the 6’3” Freshman. However…I want this kid to get some legit minutes now. He seems to be one of the only guys willing to attack a defense and does so with purpose.
  • Breed scored 8 points in just 15 minutes on 3-4 shooting. He looks much more polished and comfortable than I expected and I am all for it. Give this dude some minutes.
  • Welcome back Jimmy Nichols of old.
  • Nichols looked as close to his old self as he has this season. His length and ability to alter shots was on full display, along with his freaky athleticism.
  • Nichols had a game-high 3 blocks in 13 minutes of action.
  • The starters for FDU averaged 34.8 minutes between the five of them.

Next Up, the Friars travel to TCU to take on the Horned Frogs in the Big East – Big 12 Challenge on Wednesday at 5 PM on ESPNU.

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