On a night when the Friars needed their best effort to win, they got almost nothing from three of their starters. Jalen Lindsey, Khalif Young, and superstar Rodney Bullock combined for just 6 points.
That’s a recipe for defeat. So they lost.
The Friars trailed throughout the contest and ended up losing by a final score of 84-74. From the tip-off, the game was never in doubt.
The loss puts Providence College’s NCAA tournament hopes in serious jeopardy. Coming into the game, most experts had the Friars projected as an 11 seed. That’s usually one of the last remaining at-large bids. This loss does nothing to improve their situation.
The loss sets us a must-win game against St. John’s on Saturday afternoon–the Friars Senior night.
The win, on the Musketeers’ senior night, gave Xavier at least a share of the Big East Championship.
Fouls, Turnovers, Rebounds
Providence College actually shot a better percentage from the field than the Musketeers, putting in 53 percent of their shots. Xavier shot 50 percent.
But the Friars were destroyed on the boards. Xavier had 34 rebounds. Providence had just 25.
Furthermore, the Friars committed 3 more turnovers than Xavier (16-13).
The Friars found themselves in foul trouble early and often. Both Kyron Cartwright and Bullock picked up early fouls and never got out of foul trouble.
Bench Was Good
A bright spot for Providence College, however, was the work of the bench. The bench players scored more points than the starters. They poured in 45 points. The starters only scored 29.
Friar substitute Malik White led the team in scoring, with 15 points. Isaiah Jackson played a good game as well, scoring 13 points. Highly touted Freshman Makai Ashton-Langford finally put together a nice performance in Big East play, scoring 11 points. This bodes well for the future of the team.
But this year hangs in the balance on Saturday afternoon against the upstart St. John’s Red Storm. To stay in the NCAA tourney conversation, they’ll need to prevail in that game.