Game Recap: Friars Start Slow but Turn Things Up in the 2nd Half to Beat Sacred Heart 92-64

Providence Friars 92 (2-0)

Sacred Heart Pioneers 64 (1-1)

Photo via Bill Koch Twitter (@BillKoch25)

The Providence Friars had to deal with a quick turnaround for their second game of the season, just two days after beating Fairfield in their return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Arena. Fortunately, the Friars were able to stay at home and benefit from a home crowd that has been patiently waiting to see their favorite team on the court in person.

After what appeared to be another similar slow defensive start to the game that plagued the Friars against Fairfield, the Friars put together a 2nd half that showed what their true potential could be as this season progresses. Asked if the change in the team’s play had anything to do with some implemented adjustments during halftime, Cooley said, “there was no adjustment that we made other than an attitude.” That statement reiterates what Cooley said after the Fairfield game, when he indicated that it was a lack of focus and preconceived thinking on how the game would go based on the score from the previous season’s opener.

Ed Cooley was quick with the hook if there were mistakes made due to lack of effort, distributing minutes amongst the team and playing 11 different guys during the game. Alyn Breed showed that he is ready for an increase in minutes, leading the team in scoring with a game-high 15 points. Nate Watson notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Friars to their second victory in as many games this season. The Friars had 8 players with at least 7 points in a well-balanced team effort.

Game Notes:

  • Alyn Breed, after only seeing 10 minutes of action against Fairfield, took immediate advantage of an uptick in playing time (20 mins) on his way to lead the team in scoring with 15 points on 5/6 shooting (3/4 from deep).
  • Breed was also a perfect 2/2 from the line and chipped in 3 rebounds and 3 assists for good measure.
  • Nate Watson posted his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds after notching 4 last year.
  • So far on the season Nate is an efficient 16/23 (70%) from the floor.
  • Al Durham finished his second game with the Friars in double-figures again, adding 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal to his 12 points.
  • Durham was a little shaky from the floor, particularly from three, going 2/9 from deep and shooting 5/13 overall. There was a stretch in the first half where he seemed to be settling a little bit for long jumpers early in the shot clock but I still like his veteran presence running the offense.
  • Noah Horchler was the 4th Friar in double figures, scoring 11 points to go along with 7 rebounds.
  • Horchler was 1/2 from three and sits at 50% on the season (3/6). I have a feeling he’s going to be the most consistent three-point threat for the team this season, but Breed might take issue with that after the game he just played.
  • After a rough first game where the Friars shot 4/18 (22.2%) from three and had every Friar fan anticipating another season without any outside shooting, the team redeemed themselves going 11/25 (42.3%) from distance.
  • Jared Bynum was solid once again, scoring 9 points and dishing 4 assists without committing a turnover. On the season, Bynum has a 4:1 turnover to assist ratio so far (8:2), finished at the rim in control and hit a three as well. This is exactly the Jared Bynum we need this season. Take care of the ball, finish at the rim, and hit the occasional three.
  • A.J. Reeves scored all 7 of his points in the 2nd half and has now hit a three-pointer in each game this season. Let’s see how long we can keep that streak going, shall we? I’m going to be officially tracking them now.
  • Brycen Goodine looks much improved from last season and his athleticism was on complete display over the course of the game.
  • Goodine scored 7 points, shooting perfect from the field (1/1) and the line (4/4) to go along with 3 steals on the night. He looks especially fast on the court and has very active hands on the defensive end. He just looks like he’s more comfortable overall when he’s on the floor and it’s starting to show. Oh baby, I like it.
  • Justin Minaya filled the stat sheet with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
  • The look on Ed Cooley’s face when he missed perhaps the easiest bunny we’ll see all season was priceless.
  • Ed Croswell looked more calm on the floor for his second game. His 7 points were the 3rd most he’s scored in a game as a Friar. Last year he scored 10 in the opener against Fairfield and 8 against TCU.
  • Andrew Fonts, I will miss you after this season. That is a guarantee.
  • Seriously though, he might be my spirit animal.
  • Fonts came in and immediately had an impact, scoring 4 points in just 6 minutes.
  • How about Matteus Case with his first collegiate points on a floater off of one foot.
  • For some reason, that shot gave me some real Jared Dudley vibes.
  • As far as the post-win picture, I’m going to go with the pure joy of Al Durham as my favorite.
  • Once again, the Friars did some good work getting to the line, holding an edge over Sacred Heart of 26-8 after a 36-15 advantage against Fairfield. I will definitely take getting to the line an average of 31! times a game.

“No offense to him, but he can’t jump. He’s not athletic. He’s had back surgery, but I trust him more than any player I’ve ever coached.”

– Ed Cooley on Andrew Fonts

Next Up, the Friars get their first real test of the season on Monday at Wisconsin at 9 PM on FS1.

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