Friar Basketball

Remembering the 1997 Friars


With Providence set to celebrate the Elite Eight run of the 1996-97 Friars on Saturday night, it’s a great time to look back on some of the top moments of that season.

Tenth seeded Providence hung 98 points in a second round upset of the region’s second seed, Duke, prompting head coach Pete Gillen to note after the game, “they have eight McDonald’s All Americans on their roster.  We eat at McDonald’s for our pre-game meal.”

Yet, it was senior forward Derrick Brown who feasted that night, with a career high 33 points along with 10 rebounds in a game in which the Friars physically dominated one of the nation’s premiere programs.  They outrebounded the Devils 43-24 that afternoon.  Austin Croshere came up big with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Jamel Thomas had 17 points and one of the most memorable passes in PC history.

Providence did have a McDonald’s American of their own, however, and he scored eight points in the final 3:50 of the game, including the capper, to help break open what was a tie game late.  Not only did the Friars knock off Duke, they did it in their own back yard.

The postseason run also served as a bit of a coming out party for Croshere, who vaulted himself into the lottery with his strong play late.  He dominated the seventh seed Marquette in the first round with 39 points, including a 70 foot bomb that was one of the most memorable shots of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

Prior to that he was strong in the Big East Tournament.


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