The Friars have returned from COVID pause and had themselves a 2-0 week. PC fended off a pesky Bulldog team 69-62 at the Dunkin Donuts Center. PC is now 12-0 at the friendly confines of the Dunk. With the win the Friars are now 16-2 and 6-1 in Big East play. Let’s look at how it went down.
Bulldogs Came to Play- Going into the game we discussed how Butler was a bit of a mystery team. Despite their 9-9 record coming in, the Butler Bulldogs came to play. Chuck Harris was a problem for our defense all day en route to 21 points. Bo Hodges finally played like he did last season with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Bryce Golden even held his own in this one. Yet the Friars balanced attack were too much for Butler.
Watson Leads the Way in a Balanced Attack- Watching the Butler UConn game I knew the dawgs front court couldn’t contend with PC. That proved to be true with Watson, Horchler, and Crosswell scoring 36 points combined. Watson led the way with 18 points in 25 minutes but the Friars had 6 players with at least 8 points.
Justin Minaya Continues to Lock Up- South Carolina transfer Justin Minaya continues to show his worth for this Friar team. Once again he played every minute and worked his tail off on the defensive end. He scored 9 points but his work on the glass (8 rebounds) and his overall defensive effort was unmatched. It seemed that every big stop PC got down the stretch Minaya was involved. The Crier has even dubbed him a new nickname, The Deadbolt. Cooley saying Minaya is the best defender he has ever coached might not be wrong.
Close Out Over Blowout- One of the reasons why PC continues to slide in the metrics despite winning games is that they don’t blow anyone out. Butler came out of the halftime break and punched the Friars in the mouth, taking a 2-point lead 3 minutes in the second stanza. Yet once again the Friars showed their composure and responded keeping Butler at arms length down the stretch. While it’s frustrating PC can’t seem to blow anyone out, their ability to execute in close games has been extraordinary. PC has the ability to close out games because they are experienced and play a cohesive brand of basketball. It ain’t luck!
Cooley 2nd All-Time on PC Win List- The win against Butler didn’t just give PC their 6th Big East win and 16th overall but a milestone was achieved. With the victory Ed Cooley passed the late Dave Gavitt for second all-time on the PC win list. When you think of the Providence hoops program, Dave Gavitt is the first name to come to mind. For Ed Cooley to pass him is a really big deal. If you think of where this program was when Cooley took over and where it is now it is night and day. It has been a year for milestones for Cooley with him winning his 300th career game earlier in the season. I’m sure he’s focused on having his team to make a run in March, the one thing missing from his outstanding run here at Providence.
The Friars next game is Wednesday on the road against Xavier.