#11 Providence Friars 99 (23-3)
Xavier Musketeers 92 (17-10)
In a game that seemingly had everything imaginable happen during the course of three overtimes, the Providence Friars once again showed their innate ability to close games out, no matter the circumstances. I feel like I’m going to sound like Bill Hader’s character Stefon from SNL, but here it goes anyway. This game had everything, overtimes, buzzer beaters, comebacks, indoor rain delays, malfunctioning monitors, Taylor Swift sing-alongs, and another one in the win column for your Friars.
Both Xavier and Providence had 6 players finish in double figures, all five starters on each squad, and one super sub each off the bench. Fortunately for Friartown, not only was our super sub Jared Bynum, but he was also the best player on the court. Bynum finished with a game-high 27 points, including a number of ginormous shots when it matter most.
- Where do I even start with this one? Maybe I should go with the off the court stuff.
- Once again The Dunk had some wetness problems with their floor. This time however, the water was actually coming from the ceiling and dripping down on the floor rather than seeping through the bottom of the floor to the surface.
- The play before, Big Nate got dropped with a cross but with the new found wet floor, he may have himself a plausible excuse…maybe.
- If Jared Bynum wasn’t already doing enough for the team during the game, he pitched in to help make the floor playable too.
- The water delay started with 2:43 left in regulation with the Friars down 3 to the visiting Musketeers. It happened to be a very “lucky” turn of events that have followed the Friars this season. Following the extended break in action, A.J. Reeves immediately hit a monster three from the top of the key as if there had been no pause in the game whatsoever.
“We’re just really fortunate. For whatever reason we play well in close games. That luck better come from somewhere. It’s called talent.”– Ed Cooley
- This was the first triple overtime game in Big East plays since 2010 (St. John’s vs. DePaul) and Providence’s first triple overtime game since 1982 vs. Dayton.
- Jared Bynum is making his case for a first-team All-Big East selection. Bynum finished with a game-high 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
- This was Bynum’s 3rd game of 25+ points off the bench, all three coming in the last 5 games.
- Over the last 6 games, Bynum is averaging 22.2 ppg, including 24/41 (58.5%) from three, making multiple three-pointers in every game during this recent stretch.
- As for the starting 5, each of them showed up at different points throughout the game to help get this hard fought victory.
- Noah Horchler had another near double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds, playing a team-high 49 minutes.
- Nate Watson was 5/6 from the field for 12 points after being held scoreless for the third straight half against Xavier this year. Xavier’s mean defensive objective is clearly to take Watson out of the game and they have been the best to implement that gameplan, but you can only hold down Big Nate for so long.
- Justin Minaya tallied 12 points to go along with 2 steals and a block.
- A.J. Reeves found his shooting stroke, hitting big three after big three when it counted the most. I’ve said this for his entire Friar career, but I’ll say it again. I don’t care how A.J. has shot in the first 35 minutes of a game, I trust him to make big shots during crunch time…every, single, time.
- Reeves connected on 5/8 from distance, finishing with 16 points and 6 rebounds before eventually fouling out.
- Durham, who also fouled out during the overtimes, finished with 13 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, while clearly pushing through his abdomen injury the entire time. The guy is an absolute warrior.
- When the Friars needed someone to make free throws at the end of the game, there was The Closer, doing his usual thing. Durham shot 7/8 from the line which was even bigger than usual considering the rest of the team was just 12/21.
- Alyn Breed was ready when his number was called. Breed entered the game in overtime and immediately made an impact on the floor. He’s been stellar defensively this season but what may have been overlooked during the season is his proficiency from the free throw line. Breed was the guy Xavier was fouling to try and extend the game and he calmly stepped to the line knocking down 5/6.
- I got my long awaited floater to go in for Breed and it couldn’t have come at a bigger time.
- Fonts entered the game to seal the win and run out the clock, which was only fitting.
- The Friars remain undefeated when Big East fan favorite John Fanta is on the call.
- The crowd for this game was nuts-o.
- As for Xavier, Paul Scruggs made a enormous three when (I hope) the Friars were trying to foul up three with under 5 seconds left.
- Jack Nunge couldn’t connect from three (0/4) but still kept the Friars honest with the threat of hitting them. Also, he got called with a questionable intentional foul in overtime, but that’s just how ‘good’ the Big East refs have been this year.
- I’m pretty sure I’m begging to really dislike Zach Freemantle. Last year I thought it was going to be because he was really freaking good, but it turns out he might be kind of a jerk.
- Adam Kunkel was a problem off the bench.
Next Up, the Friar get Creighton at home with a chance to win their first ever Big East regular season title. Lucky for the Friars, the one and only John Fanta will be on the call again.