Game Recap: The Friars Offensive Struggles Are Too Much to Overcome Against TCU

Providence Friars 62 (5-3)

TCU Horned Frogs 75 (6-1)

In their first true road game of the season, the Providence Friars fell to the the TCU Horned Frogs, 75-62, as part of the Big East/Big 12 Battle. Although the defense continues to be of major concern for PC as they let the Home team shoot 50% from the floor (28/56) as well as 50% from three (6/12), the Friars could not consistently get a bucket and at one point didn’t make a field goal for over ten minutes of action.

Providence was bullied down low by TCU big man Eddie Lampkin who notched a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Friars were out-rebounded 32-31 and committed 18 turnovers in a rough team performance to watch where Ed Cooley couldn’t find the right lineup combination to find any consistency throughout the game.

Bryce Hopkins & Devin Carter led all scorers with 17 points and the ever-improving Jayden Pierre chipped in 13 points off the bench as the three players combined to make 15 of the Friars 22 total made field goals.

Game Notes:

  • Jayden Pierre is making a strong case for, if not making his way into the starting lineup, at least earning himself starters minutes.
  • Pierre has gotten significantly better each game he’s played in this year. He matched his career-high of 13 points a game after setting it against Columbia but this one seems more significant since it was against a Power 5 opponent. He matched his high in minutes with 22 and set a new high in rebounds with 5. Even though he played 22 minutes, he should have played much more. Every single time he came into the game, the team got better. The first time he entered the game in the first half, they immediately clawed themselves back into game yet in the second half, when the same exact thing was happening to start the half, there he was…sitting on the bench. It didn’t make any sense, especially since Bynum was obviously struggling so much offensively.
  • Bynum continues to struggle mightily shooting the ball this year, perhaps feeling some pressure from being counted on so heavily to produce offense for this year’s squad.
  • Bynum shot just 1/8 from the field, even air-balling good looks when things opened up for him on the offensive end. I feel so strongly that he just needs to see a handful of shots go through the basket and he’ll turn things around in heartbeat. He’s seems to be a little inside his own head and thinking before he shoots when he gets an open look. This team NEEDS Jared Bynum if it wants to anything of significance this season. That is a fact.
  • I’m not sure why we aren’t rolling with Bynum at the point to start the game and then sliding him to the 2-spot with Pierre. We did the same thing with Kris Dunn when we brought Kyron Cartwright into thee game and with Kyron when we brought Maliek White into the game. It frees up our PG to look for his own shot and not be harnessed with all of the creating responsibilites.
  • JB is currently shooting just 34.2% from the field and an ungodly 15.6% from three. If he were merely matching last season’s shooting slashes of 41.5% from the field and 41.3% from three, the Friars would have won at least two of the three games that they lost this year. On the bright side, we’re only 6 games into the year and there are going to be a lot of chances during conference play to pick up some good wins.
  • Speaking of the bright side of things, even though Bynum hasn’t been able to find his stroke, he is handing out dimes at a career-best mark of 5.3 assists per game. Not only that, but he is turning over the rock at a career-low 1.1 turnovers per game. That’s a 4.67: 1 assist to turnover ratio for those of you keeping track at home. If he even just slightly improves shooting the ball, we’re talking about some great numbers on the year for the Senior Point Guard.
  • Bynum is currently tied for the 5th best assist to turnover ratio in all of college basketball.
  • Bryce Hopkins is showing why he was a Top-30 recruit coming out of High School.
  • Hopkins scored a game-high 17 points on on 7/14 shooting, to go along with 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Even though he took a team-high 14 field goal attempts, I would have liked to have seen him be much more aggressive on the offensive end. Considering how most of the team was struggling getting buckets and/or playing tentatively, Hopkins would have thrived at driving to the hole and getting to the line more than he did. A guy with his size and speed needs to be taking more than 3 foul shots per game with his skill set.
  • You can tell that he’s starting to get that confidence in his game and is starting to ask for the ball when he feels like the team needs a bucket but he’s not quite there yet. With our team desperately searching for a vocal leader, I can absolutely see Bryce assuming that role as the season continues.
  • Devin Carter plays hard…ALWAYS.
  • Pierre, Hopkins, and Carter looked like they were the only guys playing with any sense of urgency in the game.
  • Carter continually took the ball straight to the rim, forcing the issue, and as a result, got to the free throw line a ton. Carter tied Hopkins with a game-high 17 points with 10 of those coming from the charity stripe in 13 trips there, both being new career highs. Carter’s previous high getting to the line was 10 during his Freshman year at South Carolina.
  • Carter made his first three pointer which is usually good thing unless it’s from a guy who isn’t a prolific three-point shooter. Much like I was with Justin Minaya, I want Carter taking three-point shots where his feet are set, his hands are at the ready, and he’s catching a pass from a driving teammate. I don’t want him taking off-the-dribble contested bombs but sometimes when a player makes that first tough one, he just gets that feeling that he’s going to make one after another.
  • Clifton Moore got his first start of these season with Noah Locke starting the game on the bench. I’m sure that Cooley was also trying to match up with TCU’s size but I’m not sure that I would have replaced Locke with a big. I probably would have went with Pierre considering how much he’s looked like he belongs on the floor.
  • Even though Moore got the start, he still only played 14 minutes.
  • Despite being outweighed by Lampkin down low, Moore was able to use his length to block a season-high 3 shots. Otherwise, Lampkin seemed to be doing whatever he wanted and continually got the ball basically under the hoop with every entry pass.
  • Lampkin is one of those players who you hate if you’re playing against but love if he’s on your team…or what I like to call, a Joakim Noah.
  • Ed Croswell was solid on offense but was over-powered down low by Lampkin whenever they were matched up one-on-one.
  • Rafael Castro got the most run of his young career, playing 21 minutes, and in doing so, took down a team-high 7 rebounds.
  • Simply put, both Castro and Pierre look like they belong out there.
  • Castro’s athleticism is elite and if he’s able to slide into the 4-spot and not have to guard another team’s bigger Center, he can be super effective at the college level. The more time he gets on the floor, the better he looks.
  • He added 2 blocks and 3 steals to round out his best game of the year.
  • You can trust Alyn Breed.
  • I’m never worried that he’s going to make bad decisions when he’s in the game but GOD, I wish he would trust his offense more. He has taken 16 shots in 7 games while playing 106 minutes. If you’re averaging over 15 minutes a game, I’m going to need you take more than 2.3 shots per game. Give me that patented Breed floater at least once a game. I need it. I believe it’s going in whenever you let it go…you should too.
  • He continues to play great defense either way.
  • Noah Locke came off the bench, played 10 minutes, and scored 0 points. If his shot is not falling, I’m not sure the Friars can get by with him on the floor. For the time being, I think Cooley should see if his shot is falling or not from the get go and adjust his playing time accordingly.
  • I still really like Jamie Dixon as a coach and it’s good to see his Alma Mater finally playing to his old Pitt teams’ identites.

Next Up, the Friars travel in state to URI to take on the Rams on Saturday at 5 PM.

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