For one team it felt like a new beginning, and the other it felt like the end. UConn had their star guard return to action, and the Huskies put together one of their more complete performances all year. For the Friars, the loss feels like it has put an end for any at large tournament hopes. Let’s look at the themes in the loss.
UConn Dominates the Paint
The paint is where this game was lost for the Friars. UConn made a living scoring around the basket. Whether it was their guards driving past defenders to the rim or their bigs getting post ups, Friars could not get stops. On the defensive side UConn crashed the glass, as it felt like PC was consistently one and done.
Bouknight Dazzles In Return
James Bouknight returned from missing a month of action and was as advertised. He had 18 points in 25 minutes and made some highlight plays attacking the hoop. It was clear the UConn team we saw last week was not the one with James Bouknight. He makes life easier for Cole and Martin with the attention he draws from the defense.
Dynamic Duo Disappears
David Duke and Nate Watson just didn’t have it, which is unfortunate when you think about the ramifications of the game. The two went 6-25 from the floor and only totaled 17 points. This year’s version of the Friars aren’t going to win many games with that type of performance.
For two players who have the ability to take over a game, they both disappear from the floor too frequently. Consistency is an issue and ultimately was the reason for the loss.
Breed A Positive in a Negative Evening
While this season will likely be looked back on as a failure, the one significant positive is the emergence of Allyn Breed. Even as a freshman, he looks like the most composed and poised player on the court. Last night was no different, as he led the Friars in scoring. A silver lining is that the Friars have a lead guard to build around for years to come.
At this point with 3 games left in the season the Friars can only hope to build up some momentum for a Big East Tournament run. With guys like Duke and Watson, Providence could be a dark horse team; however, they have a lot to figure out before then. Offensively they need to find a way to get themselves easier baskets. Defensively they need to play with more of an edge and toughness. If they could string together stops defensively it will only help the offense, especially in transition.
PC has a week to figure it out, as they host Xavier on the 24th.