It’s too bad Providence College couldn’t have played an 8 minute game against the number 1 ranked Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday evening. If that were the case, they would have pulled off the upset they sought.
Instead, the Friars played an inconsistent game. At times, they looked like they could easily contend with the nation’s best. Other moments, however, were uninspiring.
The Friars were plagued by long stretches of droughts on offense. In each half, they went several minutes without a basket. That’s a recipe for a loss against the nation’s top ranked team–especially in their building.
The Friars started the game strong. They played stifling defense at the onset. They led 15-6 at the second television timeout.
The Wildcats were shooting just 16 percent–2 of 12 shooting eight minutes into the game. They had no points in the paint. Things were looking good for PC.
But Kyron Cartwright got himself into foul trouble, picking up two fouls early in the first half. That cooled off a quick start for the superstar Friar, who had swished two three-pointers early.
That spelled trouble.
The Providence backcourt was much less effective in the first half without Cartwright. They began turning the ball over. The Friars telegraphed passes. Their offense ran much less smoothly–as one would expect.
Then the Villanova offense picked up. The Wildcats drilled two threes after the 8 minute television timeout. That started to open things up inside the paint.
Villanova went on a 16-4 run to end the half. Although the Friars led by 9 points earlier in the first half, they went into halftime trailing by 9.
But the Friars showed the grittiness and the toughness they’ve displayed all year long. They rallied back quickly at the beginning of the second half thanks to baskets by Diallo and Cartwright. By the first television timeout in the second half, the Friars had cut the lead down to three points.
Yet it was the same story as the first half. A strong start, followed by a meltdown.
A key turn of events immediately thereafter put the Friars in trouble. Alpha Diallo missed three straight layups underneath the basket.
Eric Paschall then completed a 4-point play after getting fouled hitting a three pointer. That extended the lead to 7. The Friars then committed turnovers on two straight plays.
That was a major turning point in the game and a momentum swing. From that point on, Villanova never lost control.
Then the Friars committed two straight turnovers immediately after the 12 minute mark television timeout. Villanova capitalized on both. That pushed the lead to 12 points–with Villanova leading 56-44.
It only got uglier for the Friars.
They lost by a final score of 89-69–a 20 point blowout loss. That puts an end to a four game winning streak.
Rodney Bullock led the Friars with 16 points. Paschall led the game in scoring with 17 points. The Wildcats had an extremely balanced attack–with 6 players in double figures.
The Friars have a week off to regroup and prepare for their next game. They play at Seton Hall next Wednesday night at 7pm. It will be their second of three straight road games.