Game Recap: Friars Head into Hartford and Beat #20 UConn to Open Up Big East Play

Providence Friars 57 (11-1)

#20 Connecticut Huskies 53 (9-3)

The Friars welcomed the Huskies back to the Big East with fans in attendance for the first time since UConn came crawling back to the conference. Providence led by as much as 16 points, deep into the 2nd half and were able to hold off the comeback from the Huskies in front of a raucous crowd at the XL Center in Hartford. The #20 Huskies were without their much improved big man Adama Sanogo to help with providing a presence down low but were able to get a boost from having wing Tyrese Martin return to their lineup. In the other side, the Friars received their own boost with point guard Jared Bynum making his long awaited return from an ankle injury.

A.J. Reeves continued his rampage from three, drilling 4 triples in the first half seemingly whenever PC needed a basket. Ed Croswell and Bynum provided some super-sub minutes off the bench, combining for 20 points between them on 11/15 shooting. Nate Watson burst into the second half individually putting distance between the Friars and Huskies and Ed Cooley was able to notch the 4th Quad 1 win for Providence (the most of any team in the country).

Game Notes:

  • A.J. Reeves can’t stop, won’t stop.
  • Reeves scored a team-high 16 points hitting on a series of tough threes. His confidence is sky high and it should be, as he is playing the best ball of his college career.
  • Make it 6 games in a row with Reeves hitting multiple three-pointers. Over that span, A.J. is 20/46 from distance, good for 43.8% and 3.3 made threes per game.
  • You can see the ceiling of this team rise with Reeves playing at such a high level.
  • Nate Watson was able to take make the necessary adjustments at halftime to deal with his foul trouble and take it to the depleted frontline of the Huskies. UConn has a lot of height across their lineup but without Sanogo, they lack a big with any size to them. Their frontcourt is filled with wings disguised as bigs.
  • On a quick sidenote, I was really surprised that Akok Akok didn’t get more run during the game. He started the game for UConn but I don’t think I saw him the entire second half.
  • Ed Croswell was phenomenal off the bench subbing in for the foul laden Watson. Every time you looked at the court he was dunking the ball. Croswell scored 11 points on 5/6 shooting and has now scored in double-digits in 3 of the last 5 games. Over his last 6 games, Ed is averaging 5.8 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting an insanely efficient 82.6% (19/23) from the field.
  • Jared Bynum made the most of his comeback, scoring 9 points to go along with 6 rebounds and an assist in 26 minutes. I wasn’t even expecting Bynum to be back at all, so it was even more special to see him return and come up huge in some big moments for the Friars.
  • Noah Horchler uncharacteristically missed some wide open looks that he’s been hitting all year but I’m not worried about him bouncing back in the slightest. You won’t see many, if any, 1/7 shooting nights from The Viking in the near future.
  • Al Durham had a few plays that I could have done without that we don’t have to go into but showed his veteran status down the stretch, including a late finish at the rim.
  • Justin Minaya didn’t fill it up on the offensive end but played really good defense against the athletic frountcourt of the Huskies.
  • Tyrese Martin is really big for UConn to have back. His injury appeared to be to his hand so hopefully it doesn’t hinder his shooting much going forward. I’m sure that Hurley is being extra cautious with Sanogo as he as an abdominal injury that could easily become something that lingers throughout the entire year if it’s not fully healed before he returns to the court.
  • I’ll be honest, I did not see those three coming from Andre Jackson when UConn made its run in the second half. He’s insanely athletic but watching him up until that point, that’s all I thought he was. He showed me different on his way to 8 points and 14 rebounds.
  • I don’t think RJ Cole can handle the load that is being required of him without Sanogo in the lineup. Unfortunately, he appears to be the only Husky who can create his own shot but 5/19 shooting is rough, despite some of those shots being in big spots. He did dish out 8 assists with just 1 turnover though, so overall he had a really nice performance.
  • I’m 1-0 in attendance this season…just saying.
  • Ed Cooley looks fresh as hell in person too.
  • Whoever made these shirts for UConn should be, ummmm, not too pleased with how they came out. But here, they look pretty good now…

Up Next, now that the Georgetown game had to be cancelled due to COVID protocols within their team, the Friars play at The Dunk against the #15 Seton Hall Pirates. This will be the 109th meeting between the two teams but the very first time they meet when they are both ranked (PC is #21). The game is at 7 PM on FS1.

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