Game Recap: Croswell Essentially Wills A Friars Comeback and Al Durham Finishes Off Texas Tech 72-68

Providence Friars 72 (7-1)

Texas Tech Red Raiders 68 (6-1)

I will officially be referring to this as “The Ed Croswell Game” for the rest of the season. Just eleven minutes into the game, the Providence Friars found themselves in a 14 point hole, down 25-13, seemingly unable to make anything go in the basket on offense. With the Friars unable to squeeze any entry passes down low to Nate Watson or connect from the outside, Ed Croswell decided to take things into his own hands and deliver the best game of his Friars career.

Ed (I really want to refer to him as Big Ed but Cooley is already Bid Ed) didn’t miss a field goal attempt, going 5/5 for 11 points, while bringing high energy on both sides of the floor, helping claw PC back to just a 2-point deficit at halftime in a game that was slipping away all too quickly.

Al Durham, who has been a revelation since coming over from Indiana, both as a leader and someone who has been able to make big plays when called upon, continuously provided the Friars with a go-to guy down the stretch of the game to help the Friars seal a win that will pay dividends at the end of the season.

Game Notes:

  • Let’s keep it with Ed Croswell since I did refer to this as “The Ed Croswell Game.”
  • Let’s count his highs as a Friar shall we?
  • 11 points, new Friars-High
  • 5 made field goals, new Friars-High
  • 6 rebounds, ties Friars-High
  • 22 minutes, new Friars-High
  • 2 blocks, new Friars-High
  • I’m pretty confident claiming this to be his best game as a Providence Friar.
  • Cooley and Al Durham both couldn’t say enough good things about the way Ed played but I think the snippet from this clip of how he just “wanted it more,” says everything about how he played against Texas Tech.
  • Al Durham was the star of the team down the stretch and seemed to come up with something almost every time the Friars needed him. Durham finished with a game-high (and personal Friars-High) 23 points, marking his first game with 20+ since coming to Friartown.
  • Durham continued to get to the free thrown line like it’s his second home, sinking 12 of a career-high 13 attempts. Durham is now 1st in the Big East in free throw attempts per game and has moved all the way up to 13th in the NCAA with 7.38 FTA per game.
  • Al is also connecting on a career-high 84.7% from the charity stripe.
  • Durham did cough the ball up 4 times but he ran much more point than he usually does and with Watson being routinely bracketed down low, had even more pressure on him handling the ball.
  • Both Texas Tech and Providence only had 7 assists a piece.
  • A.J. Reeves started out cold from the floor but made up for it by constantly crashing the boards to the tune of matching his career-high of 8 rebounds, 4 coming on the offensive glass.
  • Reeves tallied 14 points and hit 3 threes, bringing his new 3-point streak to 2 games. Two of his threes were huge down the stretch, just as we’ve come to expect from A.J. when the Friars need a big bucket at the end of games.
  • Noah Horchler had a bit of a rough go of it on offense, committing 5 turnovers and shooting 1/6 from the field (0/2 from three). He never seemed to be able to settle things down but played solid defense and never put his head down once.
  • Alyn Breed got the start with Jared Bynum sidelined with an injury, but much like Horchler, couldn’t find his rhythm offensively. He appeared to be a little trigger shy when he was unable to get the ball down in the post and put up a couple of floaters from 8-10 feet out that I don’t think I’ve seen him try to attempt before.
  • Still, this play was so damn pretty…
  • Nate Watson was smothered and essentially double-teamed in the post the entire game, to no fault of his own. The Red Raiders weren’t going to let Big Nate beat them and were shading the defense his way the entire night.
  • Watson had 5 points and 5 boards but only attempted 4 total shots with the defense specifically honed in on him. As you would expect from Nate, here’s what he had to say about it…
  • I am a Justin Minaya fan.
  • The stat-filler did everything to make Friars fan continue to root for him including this very Minaya-like play to help with the Friars getting back in the game in the first half.
  • I still don’t love that more than half of his shots are threes since he’s only hitting at 20% and hasn’t been a great three-point shooter in the past, but damn does his hustle make you forget about an ill-advised three.
  • He is the prototypical Ed Cooley glue guy.
  • Brycen Goodine saw his first action back since missing last game with an illness but sure didn’t look to be 100% out there. They probably gave him a go to see if he could be another ball handler on the court but he was only able to be out there for a couple minutes.
  • Texas Tech looks like it has a group that has the potential to be a tourney team come March, so this out of conference win for the Friars, along with the neutral court win against Northwestern, and the away win against Wisconsin, are a nice little start to a resume for Providence.
  • There were a lot of NBA Scouts in attendance to see Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon Jr., but he didn’t help himself by getting in foul trouble almost immediately and continuing to be in it every time he came back on the floor. Once he was able to see consistent playing time at the end of the game, you were able to see why scouts are interested in him.
  • The Junior scored 17 points in just 23 minutes and sunk a NBA-distanced three late in the game that was pretty impressive.
  • The rest of the Red Raiders team was pretty interchangeable from a position and impact standpoint in the game.

Next Up, The Ocean State Rivalry restarts after taking the last two years off with URI traveling to the Dunk on Saturday at 2 PM. The game will be on CBS Sports Network.

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