The biggest question with the Providence Friars was how they’d respond after a 32-point blowout loss. It may have taken a little bit of time but the Friars certainly answered the bell defeating St. John’s 83-73 at The Dunk on Saturday. With the win it gave coach Cooley his 300th win as a head coach.
Outside of the win giving Ed # 300 it also was a big win for the Friars. PC is now 14-2 on the year and 4-1 in the Big East with playing three of 5 games on the road. Let’s see how it went down.
Justin Minaya is a Deadbolt- When Cooley said Justin Minaya was the best defensive player he ever coached he may not have been kidding. Minaya put the clamps down on probably the most talented offensive player in the Big East, Julian Champagnie. Champagnie averages over 20 ppg and Minaya held him to 11 on 5/19 shooting including 0/8 from 3. Cooley made sure Champagnie never got comfortable by keeping Minaya in there for 40 minutes. Minaya also chipped in on offense with 13 points of his own on 5/10 from the floor. This had to be his best game as a Friar and I feel like I find myself saying that often. What an addition he has been for these Friars.
Despite 1st Half Foul Trouble, Watson DomiNATEs- I told you all Watson would get 20+ points and he delivered. Watson had a game high 22 points on 9/11 from the floor. Joel Soriano was supposed to fix the Johnnies interior defensive woes but he got torched and only played 15 foul filled minutes. Nate also seemed more aggressive on the glass snatching 11 rebounds and a double-double, which was big because the Johnnies opened up the game dominating the glass. Watson has now scored 71 points in his last 3 games vs St. John’s.
Bynum Continuing to Provide Offense- We mentioned on the pod that Jared Bynum had a little Pip in him. He continued to showcase this on Saturday. Bynum finished with 18 points on 5/12 from the floor and 8/9 from the charity stripe. Last year Bynum seemed more of a catch and shoot guy and couldn’t finish attacking the rim, like Pipkins first 2 months in a Friar uniform. This year Bynum has done a great job finding crafty attacking moves to the rim allowing him to be a more consistent finisher. Bynum has now scored in double figures in 3 of his last 4 games, averaging 13.25 ppg. This is a massive development.
Metrics and Zebras- It didn’t impact the outcome of the game but it must be noted how horrific the officiating was Saturday at the Dunk. Matt Potter, John Gaffney and Greg Evans were consistently horrible in this one. Being at the game perhaps I missed an angle but SJ had an air ball untouched go out of bounds and the possession inexplicably stayed with the Johnnies. Watson was mugged on several buckets but got no whistles from the stripes. There were also multiple instances where they had to come together and overturn several calls, getting some of them wrong in the process. Really a poor showing. Speaking of horrible despite PC stacking wins they’ve gotten no love from the nerds. PC jumped one spot in KenPom (at least he has us ranked higher than Marquette) at #50 and stayed at #33 in NET. At this point I’m not sure what the Friars have to do to get more love in the metrics.