This game didn’t have any fireworks, and that is what you want when you are a top tier Big East squad playing a basement dweller of the Big East. Providence was in control of the game throughout its entirety, leading by 9 at half, and ultimately increasing that to the final score of 12. It was an incredibly well rounded effort, with 4 starters scoring in double figures and 20 points off the bench.
The main takeaway for me from this one is how different this Friar squad is offensively from many other Cooley squads. This PC team can score and beat you in so many diverse ways, and a lead can balloon very quickly. There were many times throughout the game where Georgetown trimmed the score to single digits, and then Providence would hit them with a 6-0, 7-0, 8-0 run to get that lead back into the 15 point range. In so many years past, you knew what you were going to get, for better or worse, from a Cooley Providence offense. This year, beyond Hopkins getting his usual 15, there are at least 4 different players who can help carry the scoring load. This team has the potential to be very dangerous come March.
Below, we discuss some other key takeaways from the game.
Revisiting Keys to Game
Sound Defense Leading to Turnovers – This Georgetown team, even under it’s current make-up, should be GOOD. I’m not saying NCAA tournament good, but there is absolutely no reason they should be at the bottom of the Big East. The issue, as we discussed in the preview, is that everybody is out to get theirs. There is no team basketball. Also, there is no discipline. Georgetown had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game and make it interesting, but then would carelessly turn the ball over leading to easy points for the Friars.
Providence did an average job on defense if we are being honest. Georgetown shot 40% from the field, 20% from deep, but had 10 turnovers. Some of these 10 turnovers were essentially handing the ball to Providence. It was bizarre.
Primo Spears and Brandon Murray are probably some of the best 1:1 players in the Big East, but PC’s on-ball man defense did enough to frustrate them. Spears went 6-16 and almost every shot was highly contested. Murray went 5-14. Those two are good players, but life is too difficult in the Big East when you are trying to take your man 1 on 1 every half court possession. The quality of defenders is too high.
Pierre Acknowledgment – If you are just perusing the box score, you wouldn’t necessarily know the impact Pierre had on the game. Pierre had a fantastic game in his 12 minutes.
Pierre needs to put on some size, as do 99% of college freshman, but his defense on Spears was incredible. This kid is going to be an all-conference defender sooner rather than later. Right now, he can’t be matched against the big bodied guards like a Brandon Murray, but he has the ability to shut down defenders that are his size. He’s earned more minutes, but that is contingent on who is on the court for the defense. For instance, I’d love to see him potentially get more burn guarding Souley Boum. That’s a great match-up for him versus a bigger guard like a Justin Moore or Caleb Daniels who can take advantage of him in the post.
Bynum’s Night – Bynum only played 16 minutes, which was less than Breed, but that was due to foul trouble. He was in foul trouble all night and couldn’t get in any rhythm. The fact that PC could roll along without any issues is a testament to the depth Cooley built up during this season. The train could have very easily come off the tracks when Bynum was injured against Connecticut; however, Breed more than kept things afloat. Now, Providence not only has their all-conference guard back and has a viable option for Bynum should he be in foul trouble like against the Hoyas. Providence is very lucky to have Bynum back and Breed on this team.
Hopkin’s Night – Hopkins had another well-rounded night with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. It wasn’t effective at 6-15 from the floor, but he did find his stroke at 2-5 from deep.
If I can make a quick comment on the refs, Hopkins NEEDS to get more respect. We’ve talked all season in these articles and on the podcast about the lack of calls Hopkins gets, and I can’t understand why. It may be because he is so much stronger than others and absorbs contact better than most? I’m not sure. Hopkins was hit and mugged all last night, and the refs seemingly were unaware.
Hopkins is in the running for Big East Player of the Year and should get the benefit of the doubt from the refs. Bryce, to his credit, hasn’t completely lost his cool, but you can see the frustration bubbling to the top. I don’t blame him.
Devin Carter – Mr. Do Everything – Carter is the glue that holds this team together and does everything asked of him. He finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. I’ve made my claim already that he is a candidate for Big East Player of the Year in 2023-2024, and I stand by that.
My one slight criticism is that I wish he would drop that mid-range fade away floater/jumper. It bails out the defense when he so often has them on their heels. Carter is at his best when he is using his athleticism and playing downhill.
We’re lucky to have Mr. Carter in the black and white.
If PC wants to repeat, they need to beat St. John’s on the road Saturday. After that game, they have two home games against Creighton and Villanova. If they can take care of business Saturday, they can slowly pick off the teams tied or above them, as Creighton and Xavier still have to play at home at the AMP. Providence very much controls their destiny, and it starts with getting a road W at The Garden.