#17 Providence Friars 65 (18-2)
#22 Marquette Golden Eagles 63 (15-7)
After having their gam pushed back a day from Saturday to Sunday due to a blizzard, the Friars displayed great toughness and resiliency in avenging on of their two losses from earlier in the year, beating Marquette in front of a crazy crowd at The Dunk. The City of Providence did a great job at getting the roads and sidewalks clear around the arena to allow for fans to get into the see this highly anticipated game safely. PC didn’t have busses to bring the students of Friartown into the city but they all found a way to get there anyway, some even trekking on foot all the way there. And boy was it worth the extra effort.
The Friars put together a total team effort with four starters finishing in double-digits. Nate Watson (17), Justin Minaya (14), Noah Horchler (11), and Al Durham (11) all contributed at key moments down the stretch to secure the win, fully displaying their grit and experience. In my opinion, Marquette is the toughest team that the Friars have faced in conference play and have a stifling defense with multiple players who can contribute when called upon.
The hard fought victory was the 5th straight for Providence, who also improved its undefeated record at home to 13-0.
- This Nate Watson dunk was jump-out-of-your-seat AWESOME.
- Nate was making big buckets when the Friars needed to get one and the team could feed off his energy. You can tell he has taken on more of a leadership role this year.
- Watson was 7/10 from the field for 17 points, grabbing 6 rebounds (one on that clutch three-point play) and was a much needed 3/4 from the line.
- Justin Minaya played 40 minutes once again, staying on the court for duration of the contest for the 4th time in the last 5 games.
- Minaya filled it up with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal, while continuing his upward trend in three-point shooting.
- Minaya has now made least 1 three in each of the last 7 games, hitting at a 50% clip (13/26). Ed Cooley mentioned how much his confidence on the offense end has grown and it has really shown with his playmaking. And I still love watching him play basketball.
- Justin missed out on being named to the National watchlist for the best defensive player in the country and Ed Cooley felt the same as everyone else in Friartown about it.
- Al Durham turned things up in the 2nd half after not being able to convert much through the first 20 minutes. Not only did he hit some massive shots but he was able to create opportunities for Nate down low with his penetration.
- There is no one I trust more to hit free throws down the stretch than Al.
- A.J. Reeves saw his first action since hurting his finger a month ago. The Friars went 5 games without the sharpshooter, going 4-1 over that stretch with their lone lose coming at Marquette.
- Reeves opens up the floor simply with his threat to shoot from the outside. I’m sure the first game back wasn’t as smooth as he wanted it to be but he did connect on 2 bombs over 19 minutes.
- Noah Horchler threw up another double-double, his 6th of the year, finishing with 11 points and 10 boards.
- Let me know if you’ve heard this one before, but the Viking hit a huge three in the final minutes of a Friars victory.
- Jared Bynum was forced into some late shot clock situations that skewed his shooting numbers (2/8) a bit but he made up for it with his passing, finishing with a game-high 6 assists and just 1 turnover.
- Ed Croswell continued to do work no matter how much time he sees the floor. In 15 minutes, he grabbed 7 boards, three of which were of the offensive variety.
- This might be the most close-knit Friars team I’ve ever seen.
- Ed Cooley is the best.
- The student section has been extra special this year with this game being the cream of the crop for them.
- For the post-game winning pic, I’m going to have to go with A.J.’s signature look as a welcome back.
- Justin Lewis on Marquette is a future NBA player. With his size and skills, he is exactly the type of player that a good team will pick up later than all the “potential” guys and he’ll contribute right away. I didn’t realize how freaking strong that dude is.
- I really like Darryl Morsell’s game, just not against Providence.
- Tyler Kolek is one that may have slipped through Providence’s fingers being a hometown kid but I’m not so sure I would have run the last play for him to drive in a one-on-one situation. He’s got some swagger to him that once again, I like, just not against us.
Next Up, the Friars travel up to St. John’s on Tuesday at freaking 9 PM to take on the Johnnies in little ole Carnesecca Arena. Please, oh please, don’t be a trap game.