#4 Providence Friars 79 (27-5)
#12 Richmond Spiders 51 (24-13)
The Providence Friars have officially advanced to the program’s first Sweet Sixteen in 25 years. The last time the Friars were this deep in the NCAA Tournament, the 1997 team lost a heartbreaker in Overtime to Arizona in the Elite Eight. For the second straight game of the tournament Providence held their opponent to their lowest scoring output of their respective season.
After halting South Dakota State’s prolific three-point shooting offense to a mere 57 points (30 points below their season average of 86.7), the Friars clamped down on Richmond’s scoring to the tune of 51 points (20 points below their season average of 71.6). The three leading scorers for Richmond were held under the season averages with Tyler Burton, Grant Golden, and Jacob Gilyard combining for a total of 19 points after averaging 42 as a trio for the season. Gilyard and Burton were the defensive focal points for the Friars and were held to just 3/18 shooting between the two of them.
The Richmond Spider were an astonishing season low 1/22 (4.5%) from three, while the Friars were a season-best 12/22 (54.5%). You could not have had two more polar opposites of shooting the ball from deep in a game if you tried. The Friars were better in every single facet of the game and seemingly did everything they wanted to on each side of the ball. Every offensive possession looked like it was run to perfection with 5 Friars scoring in double-figure and Richmond struggled to even get the ball in the basket. This game could not have gone down any better if you’re a Friar fan.
- The Friars had 4 players with multiple made threes but it was Noah Horchler who led the way with 4 makes on 6 attempts.
- Horchler finished with a team-high 16 points, a team-high 14 rebounds, and an assists, steal, and block to round out his stellar performance.
- The double-double was Noah’s 9th of the year and his 14 rebounds were the most in his two seasons at Providence.
- So far in the NCAA Tournament, Horchler is averaging 14.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg while shooting 11/22 from the floor and 5/9 from three.
- Also, this block was hilarious. He basically got it with his elbow he anticipated it so well ahead of time.
- Al Durham continues to fill the stat sheet, scoring 13 points with 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
- Durham is averaging 13 ppg, 6 rpg, & 4.5 apg in the tourney while playing with the intensity of a Tasmanian Devil. You can just feel his energy and emotion through the freaking screen.
- Justin Minaya scored 9 points, including 2 threes as he shut down another opposing leading scorer throughout the game. Minaya held Tyler Burton to just 1/8 shooting and 5 points, tied for his second lowest scoring output of the entire season.
- A.J. Reeves, yet another Friar with 2+ threes on the night, scored 12 points and handed out 5 assists. The 5 dimes were the second most Reeves has recorded in a game this year.
- Richmond doubled Nate Watson down low and shaded their entire defensive coverage his way, playing the numbers game that the Friars wouldn’t convert on shots from the outside. However, after a first half of it raining threes on the Spiders, they decided to pick their poison and give less defensive attention down low. That resulted in Watson starting to go to work in the post, finishing with 10 points on 5/8 shooting.
- If you just look at the box score, you wouldn’t understand the full impact that Ed Croswell has for this team. There is no drop off in frontcourt play when he comes in the game and his aggressive offensive rebounding and ability to finish at the rim on just about every occasion is one of the reasons this team is so good. When Watson comes out of the game, the opposition thinks they can finally guard everyone straight up. However, if you put single coverage on Croswell with a rebound up for grabs, you’re going to lose that matchup against him.
- Ed scored 6 points with 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal in 23 minutes of action. He is the epitome of efficiency.
- With everyone hitting shots in this game, Jared Bynum was able to be a passenger in this one, not having to handle as much of the scoring load that is typically needed from him. In doing so, Bynum handed out 6 assists without a single turnover. He did still score 10 points, finishing in double-digits for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
- Alyn Breed once again looked great in relief off the bench, hassling Richmond’s guards up and down the court.
- It was awesome to see Andrew Fonts, Matteus Case, Luke Fonts, and Kieran O’Hare get into an NCAA Tournament game. I kind wish it was a minute or two earlier so that they could get a shot or two between them, but I’ll take it.
- Nathan Cayo for Richmond is a really good player. He was pretty much the only Spider that showed up for the game but damn did he look good doing it. Cayo was 9/11 for 18 points and scored pretty much anytime they gave him the ball inside the arc.
- Ed Cooley is the best.
- Here’s just a bunch of additional great photos from the game.
Next Up, the Friars head to Chicago to play #1 seed Kansas for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight. The game will be Friday at 7:29 PM on TBS.