It wasn’t the most ideal situation for the Friars to welcome back UConn. The team were losers of three straight and seven of their last nine. Instead of playing in a sold-out Dunkin Donuts Center they were playing in an empty Alumni Hall. PC certainly made the most of it with a hard fought and well earned 70-59 victory over the Connecticut Huskies. Here’s the takeaways from Wednesday late afternoon’s game
Injuries The Storyline Going In- In what came as a bit of a surprise James Bouknight did not make his return in this one for the Huskies. The announcement came about a hour and a half before tip. Shortly there after it was announced Jared Bynum would also remain out for the Friars. UConn desperately missed Bouknight’s scoring punch, while the Friars found a way to make it work without Bynum. Postgame it was announced that Jimmy Nichols (undisclosed illness) is most likely out for the season.
UCONN fans must be a pit perplexed with Bouknight, as Hurley said he isn’t very close to being ready to play.
Friars Pitch Complete Game- They weren’t perfect in this one but it had to be the Friars most compete performance of the year. For them to score 70 points against a top-50 KenPom defense was good, holding a top-40 KenPom offense to 59 points was even better. The defense held UConn to 40% from the floor and 20% from three. They also won the rebounding battle on both sides of the glass. The offense seemed much more comfortable running their sets with 14 assists, they shot a steady 6/17 from deep and were much more aggressive attacking the basket despite UConn’s 8 blocks in the contest.
Setting the Tone Early- It wasn’t a player but rather Ed Cooley who set the tone for this one early in the game. On the game’s opening possession Nate Watson didn’t box-out Adama Sonogo, and the freshman big got the offensive board and scored the first basket. Cooley quickly called a time out and subbed out Nate for Ed Croswell. It was good to see Ed hold the guys accountable for a mistake that has plagued them all year, rebounding. The senior responded the quick pull with a 17 point and 6 rebound performance.
Duke Returning to Form- He made some mistakes in the second half but looked more like himself with a 17 point, 6 rebound, 2 assist game.
The most important thing is that Duke and Watson looked like they should – All Big East players. If they can produce like that in the remaining games, Providence has a chance to go on a run.
Horchler, Reeves Play Well- Horchler was a presence on the glass with 10 rebounds and added 9 points. AJ Reeves saw 2 threes drop, finishing with ten points, plus added 7 rebounds and a career-high 6 assists
Cooley 6-1 vs Hurley- 😉
Getting Saucy- The Crier decided to have a little fun, while donating to a good cause at the end of this one. Welcoming the Huskies back the only way I knew how.
Next Up- PC travels to DePaul for a Saturday tip-off at 8pm (FS1) before making the return trip to UConn (2/16 6:30 FS1)