This is a tradition that I could get used to. For the second straight year, the Friars delivered a double-digit victory at DePaul on New Year’s Day. PC lead in this one wire-to-wire and built the lead up to 22 points in the second half before settling in for a 74-59 victory. With the win, the Friars are now 4-0 in conference, with three of those wins on the road. The Friars came back from Christmas break locked in and focused. They sweep the two-game Midwest road trip (Butler and DePaul) and they did so in dominant fashion. Let’s dive a little deeper into this one.
In our game preview (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/12/31/providence-looks-to-start-2023-with-a-win-pc-depaul-game-preview/#more-5626), we ran through a couple things to watch for Providence to secure a victory. We revisit some of those items as well as address a few more topics.
Refusing to Overlook this DePaul Team – This was one of the most impressive parts of this game. The Friars didn’t come out sleepy or lethargic. They jumped out to a 10-2 lead 4 minutes in and never gave it up. Providence seemed engaged the entire time. It was damn impressive to see such a business-like performance.
Carter Again Dominant, Bynum Heating Up- For the second straight game, Devin Carter absolutely stuffed the stat sheet. Carter was brilliant in this one with 22 points (8/13 FG) and added 4 rebounds, an assist, 4 blocks and 5 steals. During this two game trip Carter piled on 43 points (58% FG / 50% 3pt), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks, and 9 steals.
Jared Bynum put up his second biggest scoring game this season with 18 points. In his last 3 games JB is averaging 15 ppg, 5 rpg and 4 apg. The rest of the Big East better not let him get hot!
A lot of the preseason predictions we made were around 2 Friars making the All-Conference squad. At this point, we don’t know if it will be Croswell, Hopkins, Carter, or Bynum (or some combination of those players). The fact that we cannot answer that is a fantastic problem to have.
D-Fence! 👏🏼👏🏼 D-Fence!– We’ve known that this Friar team can score, but the defense is starting to catch up. DePaul averaged 72.7 ppg going in and were held to 59 today. The Friars have given up an average of 55.5 points during this two game road trip. The rebounding seems like an issue of the past. The Friars have been susceptible to giving up the three ball. During this road trip, however, the opposition shot 6/35 from deep. Against DePaul, the Friars had 9 steals and 5 blocks.
I recognize Butler and DePaul don’t represent the Big East’s best, but this is a noticeable development for the Friars.
Hopkins Homecoming- It was a homecoming for Chicago native Bryce Hopkins. Hopkins had a solid game with 12 points and 8 rebounds, but it was a rather quiet trip for him after the monstrous 29 pt, 23 rebound performance against Marquette. The good thing is the Friars didn’t need him to be dominant, and he doesn’t force the issue. The Friars are going to need Hopkins come Wednesday though.
Lack of Size, a Theme – Providence again outrebounded its opposition, something I wasn’t sure we would ever say once Big East play came around. The starting frontcourt for the Friars totaled 18 rebounds. We’ll see how legitimate this frontcourt is on Wednesday, but I cannot state enough how surprised I am with how incredible this frontcourt has been.
Given the way the non-conference turned out, it was imperative for the Friars to get off to a good start in the Big East. Boy have they done that! The Friars are now top of the conference with Xavier at 4-0 records. The huge thing for the Friars is that three of those wins are on the road. The Friars have positioned themselves early here to not only make the NCAA Tournament but they also could wake up to a ranking next to their name come Monday. I’ll leave you all with this down here with a certain someone coming to town on Wednesday at the AMP!