Game Recap: Horchler’s Double-Double and Reeves’ Near Triple-Double Carry the Friars Over Central 68-53

Providence Friars 68 (10-1)

Central Connecticut State Blue Devils 53 (2-8)

After a dominate first half that saw the Friars take a 19-point lead into the locker room, a floundering last 10 minutes of play from Providence couldn’t get the visiting Blue Devils of Central Connecticut close enough to make any one truly nervous of the outcome. It’s definitely not the kind of finish you want to see to a game but I’ll take another win to go into Big East Conference play at 10-1 any year.

Noah Horchler notched another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and A.J. Reeves followed up his best game of the year by flirting with a triple-double to the tune of 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Almost everybody did a little something to help the team win this game as they held Central to just 28.1% shooting for the game. Granted CCSU has a new coach and 8 (!) Freshman on the roster, so let’s not put all that much stock into this game, but a win is a win is a win.

Game Notes:

  • A.J. Reeves did it again. He looks as good as he ever has in a Providence uniform and it may sound silly to say, but looks like he’s playing with real joy out there. There is a freeness that comes with having fun on the basketball court and playing with your instincts. It helps that shots are going down, obviously, but I’m really happy for this kid.
  • Reeves flirted with a triple-double, scoring a game-high 17 points, and setting career-highs in both rebounds and assists with 9 and 7 respectfully.
  • A.J. already has 16 assists through 11 games after recording 33 all of last season. This ball-sharing thing is certainly infectious when the team is playing with this type of chemistry.
  • Reeves once again hit multiple threes, making it 5 games in a row connecting on 2 or more three-pointers. Over the last five games, A.J. is 16/38 (42.1%) from deep, hitting 3.2 threes a game. He’s taken his game to another level recently and rolling into Big East play with his confidence as high as I’ve ever seen it…and rightfully so.
  • Noah Horchler notched his 4th double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds after tallying only 1 total double-double all of last season.
  • Horchler added 2 assists and 2 blocks, continuing to add to the parts of his game that have improved the most since last year.
  • On the season, Noah is averaging 10.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, & 0.8 bpg, all while hitting threes at a 40.5% clip.
  • Just to get more of a feel for how he has risen his game from last year, let’s check out these stats real quick. He almost doubled his assist total from last season already (27 vs. 14 LY). He needs 3 more blocks to match his season total from last year (12). He made 23, 21, & 26 three-point shots in his first three seasons. He has already made 17 this season. He’s basically going to double or triple his totals from last season.
  • Have I mentioned that I love Justin Minaya, ’cause I love Justin Minaya.
  • Minaya scored a new Friars-High with 14 points on a perfecto 6/6 from the floor, including a nifty 2/2 from distance.
  • He led the team with 3 steals and chipped in 3 rebounds and 2 assists, because that’s what he does. The first 5 minutes of the game, he seemed to somehow be involved in every single play on both ends. Minaya’s 3 steals tied his career-high that he has reached twice, once this year against UVA and once last year against Ole Miss.
  • Nate Watson was a really solid presence down low, scoring 8 points and adding 9 rebounds. Big Nate only shot the ball 8 times but made half of those attempts. With a comfortable lead, Ed went to the bench to give some of the reserves some additional run.
  • Although Nate didn’t get to the line in this one, I just wanted to point out that over his previous 4 games, he’s connected on 15/20 (75%). He appears to have rightened the ship on his foul shooting struggles from the beginning of the year which should spell trouble for any team that wants to put him on the line instead of allowing him to work in the post.
  • Ed Croswell saw 15 minutes of action and was able to pick up 4 fouls in that short stint on the floor. He was 2/2 for 5 points, 2 assists, and a rebound, but it would have probably helped if he was able to stay on the floor for an extended amount of time. That smirk though…
  • Alyn Breed notched his 2nd 0-fer on the season, going 0/5 from the floor but cashing in on his 2 free throws.
  • Brycen Goodine saw his 2nd highest minutes total (17) on the year but never really got into a great flow on the offensive end. His one basket was a seriously pretty lefty scoop at the rim though.
  • Andrew Fonts saw 2 minutes of action and grabbed one off the glass. Across his 5 years as a Friar, Fonts has now played in 32 games. His 4 points match his Sophomore season but he still has some catching up to do to get to his season-high 9 points from his Junior year. Granted he did see action in 12 games (12!!!) that season which is definitely going to be hard to get to this year. Here are some categories that he can meet or beat this season that I’ll be rooting for:
  • Three-Pointers – 1 made this year, 2 from Jr. year
  • Free Throws – 1 made this year, 3 from Jr. year
  • Field Goals – 1 made this year, 2 in each his So. & Jr. years
  • Rebounds – 2 this year, 2 from Jr. year (all defensive)
  • Assists – 1 this year, 2 from Jr. year
  • Steals – 0 this year, 1 in each of his first three seasons
  • Points – 4 this year, 9 from Jr. year; Matched his 4 from So. year already
  • Fouls (why not?) – 3 this year, 4 from Jr. year
  • As for CCSU, it’s most likely going to take a few years for Patrick Sellers’ (brother of UConn alum Rod Sellers) work to really show dividends on the floor but given how young this team is, if they all stay to be upper-classmen there, should be interesting to see in years 3 and 4.
  • I prefer John Fanta and Donny Marshall on my Friars calls this season and I don’t think there’s really been a close second. I knew Fanta would be on top of this and I agree that it is the best in-game promotion going. If you don’t know, if the opposing team misses both free throw attempts at the line, then everyone in attendance gets some free chicken from Chick-fil-A.

Next Up, the Friars visit UConn in Hartford to open up the Big East Conference schedule on Saturday December 18th at 5 PM. I will be in attendance and sporting my Dunking Friar shirt proudly.

GO FRIARS!!!

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