Providence Friars 103 (10-3)
#24 Marquette Golden Eagles 98 (9-4)
Dunk AMP, where ranked teams go to die.
In what was the game of the season so far, the Providence Friars battled against the #24 Marquette Golden Eagles through two overtimes, finally standing victorious on a hostile home court. Over the last 9 years, Ed Cooley’s teams have played in 100 games decided by 5 points or less. In those games, Cooley has led the Friars to 71 wins. If you’re able to keep the game close down the stretch, Ed Cooley will help lead you to victory.
Bryce Hopkins put up an absurd stat line of 29 points and 23 rebounds, single-handedly taking over the game at points and announcing himself on the National level. Ed Croswell continues to complement Hopkins’ game with 20 points and Devin Carter contributed another 20 points himself.
- Bryce Hopkins is That Dude.
- Hopkins continues to eclipse career-highs practically every game and did so with both his game-high 29 points and game-high 23 rebounds (8 offensive). He also played a crazy 47 minutes out of a possible 50.
- He also tied a career-high with 8 made field goals and set new highs in free throw makes (13) and attempts (18).
- Hopkins has recorded 4 double-doubles in his last 5 games and has 5 on the year.
- Hopkins is the first Friar to record a 20+ points & 20+ rebound game since Greedy Pederson in 2010 and the first Big East player since Angel Delgado in 2017.
- These numbers don’t sound like much after the other ones but he also had 3 steals, 2 assists, and a block.
- It’s just two games, but since Big East Conference play started, here is what Bryce is averaging.
42 mpg, 26.5 ppg, 16.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg — 55.2% FG, 50% 3-pt FG, 67.9% FT on 14 FTA per game
- Two other Friars scored 20 points apiece but this needs to be said first…Jared Bynum is BACK!
- Bynum had a mini resurgence, looking like last year’s version of the point guard on his way to 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. His 8 rebounds and 3 made threes were both season highs and his 16 points was his second most of the season after his stellar play against Northeastern (21 points, 9 assists).
- He had the step back going and you could literally see his confidence growing as the game went on.
- There were one or two times where he passed up a good shot with some extra dribbling, allowing his defender to get back into position but I think he turned a corner and we’re going to see a different JB going forward on the season.
- Ed Croswell was a BEAST for Providence.
- Croswell shot 7/10 from the floor for 20 points, a game after setting his career-high as a Friar of 21 points against Seton Hall. So make that 2 players on Providence who are averaging 20+ points per game in conference.
- Croswell was put on the line a number of times down the stretch and hit 6/9 from the line, including some extremely clutch ones. His 6 made free throws set a new career-high for the Big Guy to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, and a steal.
- Since I did it with Bryce, I might as well do it with Ed. Here are his stats in Big East play so far…
35.5 mpg, 20.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg — 68.2% FG (15/22), 61.1% FT on 9 FTA per game
- Croswell is currently shooting 63.6% from the floor on the season, good for 17th best in the country.
- What’s that? Another 20 point scorer for PC?
- Devin Carter dropped a 20 spot, 2 shy of his career-high he set last season at South Carolina against Army.
- Carter, Hopkins, and Croswell were relentless with taking the ball strong to the hole and forcing Marquette to foul in order to not allow them get easy buckets at the rim. Carter went 8/12 from the free throw line and 2/4 from deep for the game. Carter has made multiple threes in 4 of the last 9 games and has shot 38.5% (10/26) over that period. Devin wasn’t known as a shooter coming into the program, hitting just 26.7% from deep last season but if he can continue to consistently knock down outside shots, he’s going to open things up for Bryce and Ed to do their thing down low and make himself even harder to guard in the process.
- And because he does everything on the floor, he also 4 rebounds, 4 assists (Chief of Dimes), and 3 steals. He is averaging 1.8 steals per game, tied for 5th in the Big East.
- Oh, and he played 42 minutes as well.
- Alyn Breed was essential for the Friars to win this game.
- Breed played 35 minutes of the bench, scoring a season-high 13 points. None bigger than when he responded to a Marquette three with a corner three of his own.
- Alyn has always been a reliable free throw shooter and Ed Cooley has shown immense confidence in having him take big ones at the end of games. Breed was 7/8 from the charity stripe and with the other Friar guards getting torched in the paint, was able to provide some defensive stability for the backcourt.
- Breed chipped in 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals for good measure.
- Noah Locke hit two tough shots during his time on the floor but Cooley stuck with the 5 of Hopkins, Croswell, Carter, Bynum, and Breed, leaving Locke the odd man out when the game was up in the air. With some of his shortcomings on the defensive end, if Noah is not banging down shots on the regular, he’s going to find himself on a shorter leash. That’s just the reality. Mark my words, there is going to be a game this season where Locke goes nuts from three.
- Rafael Castro, Clifton Moore, Jayden Pierre, and Corey Floyd Jr. saw limited action, playing a combined 26 minutes without recording a point amongst them.
- I’ll give a standing clap for the game Tyler Kolek had. Kolek dropped a new career-high with 29 points before fouling out in extra time. The Sophomore guard came into the game averaging the 3rd most assists per game in the country and proceeded to bully the Friars guards around the rim. He also tied a career-high with 5 steals including a crucial one in the first overtime to get the Golden Eagles back in the game.
- If it didn’t register the first 30 times they said it during the game, Kolek is from Cumberland, Rhode Island, just a mere 20 minutes from Providence. He had an estimated 60 friends and family in the crowd who saw him go off and him talking in the post game about it was pretty damn cool.
- Oso Ighodaro made some NBA level moves against the Providence bigs. He has such a quick crossover for a guy his size and some elite athleticism. I really wish PC would have tried to make him hit a jump shot rather than have our frontcourt try and guard him off the dribble though.
- David Joplin reminds me of Justin Lewis with his size and how he plays, although Lewis did do more damage around the basket.
- Did someone ask Shaka Smart why he had Sean Jones take a potential game winner? He would have been around my 8th choice to do so but thanks for that one, truely.
- For the celebration photo, I’m going with Croswell as the winner.
- Providence is now 27-1 in their last 28 games at home with their 1 loss coming from Colin Gillespie’s Nova team.
Next Up, the Friars travel to Butler after Christmas to take on the Bulldogs on Thursday the 29th at 6:30 on FS1.