I know the Crier has been in hiatus for the past couple of games and for good reason! The Friars played like absolute shit for the majority of this 3-game losing streak and feel like they weren’t deserving of me writing about them. However, over the years the Friars know how to drag the little guy back in and tonight was no exception. While it wasn’t always pretty the Friars did what they had to do in order to get their first win of conference play after three failed attempts. So while I still don’t think they’ll be a tournament team at this point, they’ve got my attention for now. Here are my thoughts from tonight’s 9-point victory.
The Prince of Providence, David Duke, has played a lot of minutes this season but recently had yet to make an impact in the scoring department. Duke had only scored 61 points in his previous 11 games and for a guy with his skill set and the amount of minutes he gets that just wasn’t cutting it. In the first half it looked like we would see more of the same, as Duke only mustered 2 points, but in the second half he went off. He drilled all three of his three-point attempts and it seemed to give him a huge confidence boost. He was able to convert on drives to the basket and when he didn’t found himself making free throws. Duke finished with a game-high 18 points and if he can continue this play it will go a long way for the Friars climbing out of this shit hole they’ve dug themselves in.
I thought the big men for the Friars tonight really contributed to this victory. While Nate Watson didn’t have his best shooting game (3/10 from the floor), he was still able to contribute to the scoring department and I thought he played one of his best defensive games as a Friar. Kalif Young’s numbers didn’t pop off the page but I thought he his game behind Duke had the biggest impact on the victory. He only had 6 rebounds but it seemed like he feasted off the glass and there may have been no bigger play than his offensive rebound after a desperation three from MAL as the shot clock expired. He also had active hands which led to a number of the Pirates 22 turnovers. While the new biggest has seen a shift towards outstanding scoring guard play it’s always been important for a Big East team to have solid play from their bigs, tonight the Friars got that.
Defending Myles Powell
It was pretty much a consensus take that the Friars needed to defend against Seton Hall’ Myles Powell, it was great to see the Friars go out and execute their gameplan. Powell had only averaged about 12 ppg against the Friars in the past but as he’s elevated his game to the second leading scorer in the Big East, one thought that wouldn’t last. Instead, the Friars held him to exactly 12 points on 4 of 15 shooting. I thought the Friars did an excellent job doubling Powell with their bigs everytime he got the ball on top of the key. This is another reason why I thought our bigs were great tonight because they were able to help on Powell without giving up open shots. It certainly frustrated Powell as his emotions boiled over late in the game when he had an exchange with David Duke. (By the way I loved how Powell chirped Duke and he turned around and said “the fuck you say to me?!) We haven’t seen the end of Myles Powell that much is true however tonight the Friars did a great job of bottling him up.
Tonight was certainly a step in the right direction for the Friars but there is more work to be done if they want their names called on Selection Sunday for a 6th consecutive year. I think the guys can really use this game as a confidence booster going into this two-game road trip. All I ask of the Friars is to at least split this two-game road set vs Marquette and Xavier. The Musketeers aren’t good this year and while Marquette flashes their potent offense and their #15 ranking those guys are a bunch of pussies. So just give me one of those games Friars, not asking for much here!