Providence Friars 77 (5-0)
Northwestern Wildcats 72 (4-1)
Nate Watson provided his consistently dominant performance in the paint as a number of Friars shot the lights out from the outside to get Providence their 2nd win away from home against a Big Ten team this year. The 75-72 win was the Friar’s 1,500 career win as a basketball program and set them up with the Virginia Cavaliers in the Championship game of The Legends Classics.
- As usual, we can’t start talking about the Friars without first talking about Nate Watson.
- Watson scored a team-high 16 points on 8/12 shooting from the floor, adding 5 rebounds and a block. Watson already has 7 blocks through the first five games after typically ending each season with 25-26 blocks on the year. His ability to be a factor around the rim on the defensive end has been a welcomed site so far this season.
- And then there was this…
- He sent that dude to the Shadow Realm. Not to be overlooked is the perfect pass from Jared Bynum but man, oh man, I didn’t not think Nate was going to be able to throw that down.
- It was good enough to be #1 on Sportscenter’s Top Ten plays.
- Northwestern eventually reverted to the only known defensive scheme that could possibly contain Big Nate.
- Jared Bynum was a sight for sore eyes on the offensive end and must have started to hear the footsteps of Alyn Breed off the bench.
- Bynum 15 points on 5/9 shooting, including going 3/5 from three. The 15 points were his high since becoming a Friar.
- Bynum has already made as many 3 this year (5/14) as he did all of last season (5/42). I don’t want him to fall in love with jacking shots but when the opportunity presents itself with a kick-out for a look, I’ve become comfortable with him letting it fly. His confidence looks night and day to last year.
- Brycen Goodine was so freaking impactful.
- Goodine scored a career-high 12 points in just 11 minutes on the floor. HIs 4 made threes (4/5) were also a new career-high. Cooley said exactly what I was thinking…
- Al Durham didn’t have his best night from the floor, going 1/7, but he was still able to effect the game in other ways by getting to the line 8 times, making all 8 attempts. Over the last two games, Durham is 15/15 from the line.
- Durham also handed out 7 assists over a team-high 39 minutes on the floor.
- Justin Minaya got the start over A.J. Reeves for the first time this season but it was unclear if it was because Reeves wasn’t feeling well or something to do with the matchup.
- Per usual, Minaya was all over the court once again, taking down 6 rebounds.
- Noah Horchler came up HUGE down the stretch with 2 massive threes to put the game away for the Friars.
- Noah continues to money from downtown, hitting 3/7 from deep in the game and hitting at a 47.1% clip so far on the season.
- I am so confident with Noah taking and making big shots at the end of games. Horchler also rebounded like his usual self, leading the team with 7 boards.
- Horchler continues to hand out assists like Halloween candy this season, tying his career-high with 4, and making it back to back games with 4 dimes. He’s recorded 11 assists, already almost matching his season total last year of 14.
- Reeves knocked down a pair of three, extending his streak to 5 straight games with a made triple.
- Ed Croswell added some quality minutes to spell Big Nate and looked great cheering on his teammates on the sideline.
- Northwestern guard Boo Buie (great name) was lights out shooting the ball, helping the Wildcats claw (see what I did there) their way back into the game late. Uncharacteristically for the Wildcats, he did turn the ball over 4 times.
- The throwback shorts made their season debut for the late night game watch.
- I can never say enough good things about John Fanta. He’s one of the best in college basketball.
Next Up, the Friars stay in Newark to take on Virginia in The Legends Classic Championship at 7:30 PM on ESPN2.