The Friar’s season came to a crashing end last night, as they lost their Big East Tournament opener to a 4-13 DePaul team 70-62. DePaul certainly didn’t look like a team with a 4-13 record in this one and to their credit they played a hard nosed game, but make no mistake this result doesn’t sit well. DePaul won the game due to the fact they wanted it more, which is troubling with PC having one last opportunity to salvage their season. Let’s look at how PC got bounced from MSG.
Providence’s Start Had Them Playing from Behind Most of the Night – With the postseason offering an opportunity for PC to make one final push for a NCAA bid, you would think team would come out firing. This just wasn’t the case. It took both teams to find a rhythm early but PC was by far was the sloppier team, allowing DePaul to build a 9 point lead, 12 minutes into the game. They looked skittish with the ball in their hands and lethargic when it wasn’t. It got to the point where Cooley subbed in Andrew Fonts because he knew he would bring the effort/hustle the team wasn’t. It worked with PC rallying to a 1-point halftime lead yet it still felt all night PC was facing an uphill climb.
Free Throws and Turnovers Plague Friars- A team that turns it over 16 times, and misses 14 FTs at a 52% clip doesn’t deserve to win basketball games, plain and simple. DePaul did PC favors by posting similar numbers but then again the Blue Demons are 4-13 on the year for a reason.
Same Old, Same Old: Peculiar Line-Up Changes: We mentioned it above, but Gantt and Reeves just didn’t bring much of anything tonight. This caused Cooley to turn to Fonts and Goodine, who rallied this team back to a lead heading into half. Goodine likely played his best half of his collegiate career in the first half.
For a reason I cannot fathom, Cooley decided to go back to starting Gantt and Reeves at the start of the second. DePaul quickly built a lead.
It has been a theme all season, but Cooley at times gets too cute with his line-ups instead of simply riding the hot hand. Goodine should have been rewarded for his fantastic play in the first half. Instead, he starts on the bench. I just don’t get it.
Same Old, Same Old, Part 2: Second Half Woes Hurt Friars: Shield your eyes, Friar fans. In the past three games, Providence has been outscored by a total of 49 points in the second half. Last night was no different. After taking a one point lead into half, DePaul made some halftime adjustments and built a sizable lead in the second.
Duke Disappears in What Could Be Last Game in Friartown- David Duke finished top-3 in the conference in scoring but couldn’t buy a basket in this one. He was 2/9 from the floor and fished with 7 points. We felt like he did a good job of not forcing it most of the game when he realized his shot wasn’t falling; however, towards the end of the game he forced the issue, and it only made matters worse. Duke finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. If Duke does decide to pursue a pro career it would be a damn shame that he’d not make a NCAA Tournament in his PC tenure.
Interesting Offseason Looming- The biggest take away from Cooley’s post game press conference was that he said “my guys gotta be aware there are going to be some changes”. There are several questions going into what should be a tumultuous offseason for the NCAA, let alone the Friars. Will Duke turn pro? Will Nate Watson and Noah Horchler use the free year and return? Will there be changes to the coaching staff or philosophy? Certainly the season was a disappointment but let’s see what they can do this offseason and ramp up for a season in a non-pandemic time.