It was a night to forget for Friar fans, as Providence (13-2, 3-1) dropped their first Big East contest in a 56-88 loss to Marquette. Going into the game the Crier expected to see a desperate Marquette team but certainly didn’t expect the Friars to get run out of the gym. So let’s take a look at how it went down.
Friars Defense Surprisingly Bad- The Friars were on a defensive roll coming into this game. There were questions about offensive output, but I don’t think many Friar fans questioned the legitimacy of the defense. Now, there are questions in all phases of the game.
PC had only allowed Big East opponents to average 58.6 points per game in three contests. It would be the first time Providence would give up 70+ since November 27th. The Friar defense was pretty porous in this one, constantly getting picked apart on the pick and roll. They also allowed Marquette to shoot 43% from three, something the Golden Eagles had struggled with all season. It seemed that the PC defense lacked the toughness and discipline it has shown all season. As BOC likes to say, “Marquette gives out scholarships to its athletes too”, so this could be an instance where Marquette just got hot at the wrong time for Providence.
Bad Offense Fueled Bad Defense- While PC’s defense had plenty of breakdowns, it was their offense that may have been the root cause. The first half showed Providence with 10 turnovers. The game commenced with Jared Bynum inexplicably dribbling the ball out of bounds, which was a harbinger for things to come. Providence typically takes care of the ball limiting transition opportunities. Their sloppiness played right into what a Shaka Smart team wants to do, which is create turnovers and get out in transition. PC also shot 33% from the floor and 26% from three. There were too many scoring droughts and too much poor play by the Friars to climb back into this one against a hot Marquette team.
Inexplicable Run Dooms Friars- You have to give credit to the Golden Eagles, as they came out of the gates with a sense of desperation and quickly built a 22-10 lead over the Friars. At the time I shared the following:
PC came out of the timeout showing what you’d expect of a veteran squad. The team caused Marquette to settle for tough threes and responded with an 8-0 run. Shaka called a quick timeout and what came after truly stunned me. A 20-0 run by the Golden Eagles that essentially ended the game.
Reeves Ends Up Not Playing. Out for 2 weeks? Even though it was reported that AJ Reeves practiced the last two days, he wound up missing this one with the finger injury suffered at DePaul. His absence was surely missed. It was clear that without Reeves the Marquette defense was able to collapse on the paint and create less space for the Friar offense to operate. Also while he may not be known as an elite defender, he’s a guy that has length, athleticism and experience on the defensive end. I’m not going to go as far as say this game doesn’t count like UConn or Seton Hall fans but the absence of Reeves was apparent. If Reeves is expected to miss extended time, Breed or Goodine are going to need to step up.
Burn the Tape- If I were Ed Cooley I would not watch the film for this game. In the postgame presser he didn’t say he’d burn the tape but he certainly alluded to not worrying about it much about it.
They were bad in pick and roll defense, and they turned the ball over a ton. There’s no need to watch the tape- Burn it Ed!
Reviewing Keys to Game
- Justin Lewis Meet Justin Minaya – Minaya may have been the only Friar showing a pulse last night, but he wasn’t enough to slow down the scorching hot Golden Eagle offense. Lewis is a superstar in the making, putting up 23 and 11. He is one of the few non-Friars that I genuinely enjoy watching, and I’ll be rooting for him in the next few years.
- Attack Kolek on the Defensive End – Kolek is the perfect pass-first point guard. He reminds me of a less offensively efficient Kyron Cartwright. Kolek finished with 9 assists to 1 turnover and had 2 steals. This game was pretty much over 5 minutes into the game, so it is tough to evaluate how Kolek played on the defensive end.
- Re-Establish Post Play – With Reeves out, I thought this would be a game where Watson would feast. Kur Kuath had SEVEN (7!) blocks in this game and set the tone early in the paint. This was a game for all Friars, especially in the frontcourt, to forget. This was probably the most disappointing facet of the game for me.
Providence returns from their two-game Midwest road trip looking to get back on track against St. John’s on Saturday. Tip-off is at 12 PM EST.