A 38-19 halftime deficit was too much for Providence to climb out of, as the Friars fell 74-65 to Georgetown on Wednesday night. Georgetown star Otto Porter led the Hoyas with 20 points and 7 rebounds, on a night in which Providence quickened the pace late in getting back into the game, but eventually could not climb out of the 22 point hole Porter and the Hoyas put them in.
With the loss Providence falls to 9-8 on the season and 1-4 in the Big East.
1. Key Sequence I:After Bryce Cotton hit an early three pointer to give Providence a 3-2 edge, Porter went on a personal 8-0 run, draining a three from the top of the key, coming up with a steal in which he made a shot and was fouled, and then connected on an 18 footer in transition. It was an uphill battle for the Friars from that point forward, as they trailed 10-3 early and never got back to within one possession.
2. Key Sequence II: Trailing 43-21 with just over 17 minutes left in the second half, Providence quickened the pace by picking the Hoyas up full court. The result was a frenetic 19-5 Providence run that brought PC to within 8 with over 12 minutes remaining. Providence got a trio of three pointers during the run, two by Bryce Cotton and another by LaDontae Henton.
Moments later, Providence trailed 54-45 with just under nine minutes to play when Cotton got a wide open look from three point range out of a timeout which rimmed out. Vincent Council picked up his fourth foul on the rebound – a foul that sent Georgetown junior Nate Lubick to the free throw line and Council to the bench.
Lubick made both free throws, kicking off a mini 6-0 Georgetown spurt that pushed the lead back to 60-45 with 6:30 remaining. Providence scrambled to get back to within seven with 2:10 left, but the hole Porter put them in early was one they could never dig their way out of.
3. Tale of two halfs. A year ago Providence suffered through the worse shooting night the program had ever seen in conference play in DC, and it looked as though it would be more of the same in this one as Ed Cooley’s group managed only 19 first half points.
They managed to speed up a Georgetown group that enjoys a methodical pace in the second stanza, forcing the Hoyas into turnovers and goading them into quick jumpers, while converting with far greater frequency on the offensive end, putting up 46 points in the second half as the game was played in transition for much of the final 15 minutes.
Once again, Bryce Cotton was the catalyst, scoring 16 of his 21 points in the second half, making 5-12 from three point range on the night.
It will be interesting to see if Cooley continues to use pressure going forward. The Friars lack depth, but have played their best defense of late when pressing.
4. Porter the game’s best. The Hoyas’ leader finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, but also made shots at critical moments. The aforementioned personal 8-0 got the Hoyas off and running early, and he hit a crushing shot with just over 10 minutes to play – making a difficult jumper as the shot clock sounded to push their edge back to 12 when Georgetown was scrambling to find their footing.
5. Henton, Batts double doubles. In our game preview I’d noted that Henton’s ability to keep possessions alive would be key in keeping Providence in a game that figured to have a number of offensive rebound opportunities. He had seven boards (five offensively) in the first half and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but the sophomore is struggling to convert after keeping plays alive of late, shooting just 3-12 tonight after a 3-17 afternoon versus Seton Hall.
Henton has 14 offensive rebounds over the past two games and could see a huge spike in his scoring if he can start finishing as he did a season ago.
Batts bounced back from a quiet first half to finish with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Providence out-rebounded the Hoyas 31-21.
6. Much like a season ago, Providence is suffering from prolonged offensive slumps. They closed both halfs poorly against Syracuse and scored only one field goal over the final eight minutes of the first half against Georgetown.
7. Defending the three. Georgetown made four 3 pointers in the first half and hit a fifth 87 seconds into the second to push their lead to 41-19, but the Friars did a much better job of closing out on jumpers late, holding them without a three the rest of the way.
8. Council continues to improve. It seems as if Council has played better with each passing game since Syracuse came to town and he had eight assists for the third straight game. He continues to struggle to find the range from the field, but with his effort tonight Council now leads the Big East in assists per game in conference play.
9. Dunn’s most aggressive effort to date. Between tracking down Hoyas from behind on the break, coming up with a late break-away steal and layup, or advancing the ball and finishing in traffic in the first half, Kris Dunn continues to compile positive signs. Sure, there are still freshman mistakes, like his turnover on a three on one opportunity early in the first, but after playing somewhat timid for a bit, Dunn has played with renewed aggression on this road trip.
10. What does it mean? Providence heads home for a critical game on Saturday against Villanova. A win versus the Wildcats and they are a manageable 2-4 heading into a second straight home game versus Pittsburgh. A loss and they fall to a 1-5 mark that could rattle the confidence of this group.
After starting 2-0 in conference play with wins over St. John’s and South Florida, Villanova has lost two in a row – at Syracuse and at home versus Pitt on Wednesday night.
Email Kevin Farrahar at email@example.com