The Providence College Men’s basketball team silenced their doubters on Wednesday night, defeating 3rd ranked Villanova 76-71.
The win puts them squarely back in the NCAA tournament picture, greatly increasing the chances that the team will make it’s fifth straight appearance. That’s their second win over a top-5 ranked team this year.
Make no mistake: it’s a big win for Ed Cooley’s squad.
The game was won at the 3-point line for the Friars. The Friars shot 8-25 from the outside the arc. Meanwhile, the Wildcats shot just 3 for 20 from downtown.
It also helped that they committed 5 less turnovers. Providence committed 14. Villanova gave the ball up 19 times.
Three Pointers Were Key
The Friars slightly out rebounded the Wildcats, grabbing 37 boards to their 35.
PC was able to win the game despite shooting a lower percentage from the field. The Wildcats shot a respectable 50 percent from the floor, while the Friars shot just 37 percent.
But Providence featured a well-balanced attack that they’ll need if they want to make noise in March. All of their star players made excellent contributions.
Star point guard Kyron Cartwright scored 17 points for the Friars, leading the team in scoring. Alpha Diallo and Rodney Bullock both scored 14 points. Jalen Lindsey put up 13 points. And Isaiah Jackson came off the bench and scored 11 points.
Nova guard Mikal Bridges led the game in scoring–putting up 19 for the Wildcats.
Back in Driver’s Seat
It was a hard fought, physical game. Both teams played physical defense. The Friars went into halftime leading by four points, with a 27-23 advantage. They largely controlled the game throughout the second half, maintaining a 5-7 point lead throughout. Cartwright missed some free throws at the end of that game, which made things more stressful and interesting than they needed to be.
The Friars still need to add wins to their resume if they will get that coveted NCAA tournament bid. But this was another signature win (along with their victory over Xavier earlier last month) that the team needed in order to impress the committee on Selection Sunday.
This victory lifts the Friars to an 8-5 record in the Big East conference. That’s good enough for a tie for third place with Creighton. Overall, the win brings PC to 17-9.
Next up for the Friars is a trip to Indiana to face Butler on Saturday at noon.