Providence Falls to Georgetown – NCAA Chances Are in Peril

Providence, coming off an overtime win against Marquette, was looking to continue building momentum by winning against the Georgetown Hoyas. Providence, with a win, was likely on the right side of the bubble as March and the NCAA tournament gets closer. Unfortunately, Georgetown battled back after a slow start to beat the Providence Friars, with Providence losing 73-32. Providence is now 9-8 and needs another miracle run in February/March to secure an NCAA tournament bid.

Revisiting the Keys to Victory for the Friars

Friar Frontcourt must come ready to play: Well, this didn’t play out as anticipated. We knew Georgetown had both size and length. Nate Watson, Jimmy Nichols, Ed Croswell, and Noah Horchler needed to hold their own in the paint to secure a win.

Georgetown ended up outrebounding the Friars by 14 total rebounds. Cooley pointed out postgame how Georgetown owned them on the glass. Additionally, Nate Watson fouled out with about 3 minutes left in the game, totaling just 12 points and 5 rebounds. We said Watson needed to stay out of foul trouble in this game due to Georgetown’s size.

Nichols only played 8 minutes with no rebounds (that number of minutes was confusing, but it may be due to his defensive liabilities). Horchler led the team with 7 rebounds.

It was a game that the Hoyas dominated in the paint and was emblematic of the toughness that Georgetown played with.

Slowdown Jahvon Blair: Good job by the backcourt defensively. Blair only had 9 points on 2-12 shooting. Unfortunately, a relatively unknown bench player named Chudier Bile was a huge thorn in the side of the Friars. He brought an energy and tenacity to the court that none of the Friars could match. Bile scored 19 points and had 9 rebounds. For perspective, he is averaging approximately 8 and 5 this year.

Apply Backcourt Pressure: This was a relatively clean game played by both teams. Both teams combined for only 13 turnovers. I would have liked to have seen Cooley apply pressure the entirety of the game, but this was a non-factor.

Give Donald Carey the Mitch Ballock Treatment: We’ll call this a wash. Carey scored 10 points on 2-5 from three. He only attempted 7 shots, so the scouting report we had on him was accurate to run him off the 3 point line.

Takeaways from the Game:

AJ Reeves Shining Bright – Even with the tough loss, it was fantastic to see Reeves get on track. Reeves was seemingly the only offensive option all game for the Providence Friars, finishing with 28 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists. We all know Reeves can shoot the ball. What I loved seeing was Reeves score a few buckets in the paint.

Providence fans have been imploring a third option to emerge all season. Maybe we are seeing two “third” options emerge with Reeves and Breed (Breed put up 10 points). Even when a loss like this stings, the silver lining is Reeves and Breed are becoming reliable offensive options.

Questionable Personnel Moves – The Friars jumped out to a scorching hot start, with a 16 point lead about halfway through the first half. For no apparent reason, Coach Cooley decided to insert Goodine, Croswell, Horchler, and Gantt into the game…all at once! When this happened, my buddy and I said in our Friar group chat, “What is this line-up? It is too early to bring in reserves”. Sure enough, Georgetown clawed back into the game to get it to a 7 digit lead before Cooley inserted the majority of the starters back into this game.

Who knows if Georgetown would have won, but this questionable line-up change gave the Hoyas the ability to breathe new life and fight back. In my opinion, Cooley should have rode his starters and worked to extend the lead to 20+ points. Instead of a 10-15 point lead going into half, Providence went into half only up 4. I think this 3-4 minute span with 4 bench players on the court together shifted the momentum entirely. Even reflecting on this today and taking the emotion of the moment out of the equation, it is an incredibly perplexing decision.

Tough Night for Duke – Let’s get this out of the way – the missed free throw stinks; however, it happens. It is easy for me to say behind my keyboard that he should make both. It is upsetting for Duke to miss those, as I know how hard he works, but those things happen.

Where I think Duke needs the assistance of the coaching staff is designing plays for him to attack the rim. It seems when he is having an “off” game, he continues to shoot jumpers that make the slump worse. The staff needs to draw up plays to get him attacking the rim. Have a few buckets go into the hoop and see what happens.

Duke will bounce back – I’m sure of it. The staff needs to put him in a better position to succeed if he is having a rough go of it from the perimeter.

Providence will look to bounce back against Seton Hall Wednesday night at 7pm EST on FS1.

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