The Crier is fully aware that the Villanova Wildcats were 10-10 entering today. However, this was always going to be a tough win to get. The Wildcats were fighting for their tournament lives to try and get a win today and got a huge emotional boost with the return of Justin Moore. No matter. These aren’t the same Friars that Villanova has tormented in the past.
The Friars played a team game today and didn’t let the Wildcats’ waves of momentum break them. PC feasted on points in the paint, and the deep shots started to fall when they needed them most. It was truly a gutty performance to get the win and with it the Friars enter a 3-way tie for first place in the league.
Bench Mobbin- After weeks of not getting much production from their reserves, the Friars bench came up huge for the second straight game. The bench put up 35 points against Butler and followed it up today with 29 points. It’s no coincidence that these two games Bynum has returned to action and has come off the bench. Bynum poured in 19 points today and has to give PC’s staff serious consideration to continue to have JB be the sixth man. The way I see it, whatever Jared wants to do is cool with me. He’s a veteran and a mature player. Whatever he feels is best suited to help the team is what Cooley should do.
Bench Mobbin, Part 2 – Cooley’s teams always seem to peak at the end of Big East play, and it has always been due to players stepping up. Corey Floyd Jr. may be that key factor this year. Floyd has scored 20 points in the last two games, and his play has been marvelous. He is scorching hot from 3, plays tough defense, attacks the rim with aggression, and plays with a tenacity and swagger that fans will love.
Floyd Jr. ensuring Whitmore didn’t have a statement put-back dunk in the late second half encapsulates what type of player he is. He doesn’t back down from anybody.
Big East Bynum- Speaking of Jared Bynum, he absolutely willed the Friars to a win today. After a Cam Whitmore slam with 10:40 left, the Wildcats were up by 7. Jared then went to work. Bynum would go on a personal 8-0 run for the Friars to retake the lead. He scored 17 of his 19 points in the final 11 minutes of the game. He did it so much last year, but today was the first game where Bynum put on his cape and got the Friars a W.
Justin Moore Solid in His Return- Villanova fans have said it all year- “Just wait until Justin Moore returns”. Welp, Justin Moore made his triumphant return to the floor today and certainly gave Villanova a emotional boost. I’ve said I’ll season that returning from a Achilles injury mid-season in CBB is a tough ask. There was no limits restriction for Moore as he logged 31 minutes. He looked solid attacking the hoop and finished with 5 points. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he was 0-4 from deep as he tries to get his legs back from under him.
Defense is the Name of the Game – Any time you can hold the starting backcourt to 15 total points, you know you are doing a good job. Especially when those players are All Big Easters in Daniels and Moore. Breed, Floyd Jr., and Carter in particular were masterful all game and made life difficult.
Villanova shot 26% from deep and scored 5 points below their average. Factor in that their average didn’t include Moore playing, and it paints a pretty picture about what Providence did tonight.
PC also cushioned their lead in the Big East in blocks/game with 7 total.
What more can you say?
Battle of Two First Rounders: Hopkins vs. Whitmore – I walked away incredibly impressed with Whitmore. He’s a lock first rounder and showed a deep ball that I didn’t think he had in his bag. I still don’t buy him as a Top 5 pick, but can see why folks are saying lottery is his floor. He’s your stereotypical NBA wing.
Hopkins had a quiet, but productive game. It is funny to think a 13, 9 rebound, and 4 assist game is “quiet”, but that is where we are with Hopkins. Two impressive players were on the court today and showed out.
Tweet of the Day
With the victory the Friars move to 17-5 on the year and 9-2 in conference, going into a 3-way tie for first place. The Friars will now head to Cincinnati for a massive tilt against the Xavier Musketeers on Wednesday.
Friar fans should see a Top 20 ranking next to their name come Monday.
The Crier was critiqued for his handling of the victory post-game. We don’t care. Friar fans have been through enough torment with Arch, Gillespie, Brunson, favorable whistles in the Garden, etc. Let us enjoy this one. 24 (or 48) hour rule.