Friar Basketball

Minnesota Pulls Away from PC Late

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Providence’s first regular season game at the Dunkin Donuts Center this season had all of the makings of a thriller through 30 minutes, but #14 Minnesota stepped on the gas late and pulled away for an 86-74 win.

NO ANSWER FOR JORDAN MURPHY: The Gophers interior duo of Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch were the concern coming in. Murphy was fresh off of a 35 point, 15 rebound opener, and he was simply unstoppable in this one.

The senior power forward finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but it was the second half when he broke Providence down. Over the game’s final 20 minutes he went 8-10 from the field, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the second half alone.

Some will point to the absence of Emmitt Holt as key to this loss, but Murphy looked as though he could score on anyone in the country on this night.

COFFEY DELIVERS LATE: While Murphy was the story for Minnesota, Amir Coffey provided perhaps the game’s two most critical shots.

Providence led for the first eight minutes of the second half, and even with Murphy doing work PC trailed by just a point with ten minutes to play.

Coffey provided Minnesota with breathing room with his first 3-pointer of the game at the 10:12 mark (61-57) and put the game out of reach with a pair of 3s under eight minutes left.

Providence trailed 66-60 when Kalif Young took an ill-advised fadeaway along the baseline, which led to a deep one from Coffey to suddenly push the lead to nine, 69-60.

Kyron Cartwright countered with a 3 of his own, but Coffey connected from beyond the arc on Minnesota’s next trip to bump the lead back to nine. The game didn’t get close again from that point.

Minnesota shot just 1-10 from 3-point range in the first half, but Coffey knocked down all three of his 3-pointers in the second half — each coming at big moments.

With Murphy and Coffey rolling, PC had no answers defensively. The Gophers shot 60% from the field in the second half.

FRIARS FIRST HALF RALLY: After trailing 12-2 early, PC rallied with a balanced first half effort. Nine Friars scored in the first half, as Kyron Cartwright was able to set the tempo. Cartwright had a six point, seven assist first half, while Jalen Lindsey returned to action with six points and four boards in the opening 20 minutes.

Providence knocked down 5-9 from 3, with Lindsey and Isaiah Jackson combined to shoot 4-5.

KALIF YOUNG HOT OUT OF THE LOCKER ROOM: Young had perhaps his best effort in black and white, scoring nine points in the first five minutes of the second half. In fact, Young scored PC’s first nine points out of the halftime break, as PC led 48-43 at the conclusion of his outburst.

In the immediate aftermath of the a loss, bright spots get overshadowed, but Young was certainly one, particularly his 5-7 effort from the free throw line — where he struggled as a freshman.

AROUND THE RIM: Freshman big man Nate Watson did not look out of place going up against a physical and experienced Minnesota frontcourt. Watson scored 10 points in 20 minutes of play and was the only Friar regular without a negative in the plus/minus column.

Jackson scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds. He took just two field goals, a pair of 3-pointers that he knocked down, and he made all four foul shots that he attempted.

Alpha Diallo battled foul trouble throughout this one and never got into a rhythm (2-7, four points, four fouls), while Rodney Bullock was a team worst -19 plus/minus (no other Friar was worse than -9).

Providence was outscored 40-26 in the paint.

Cartwright finished with 12 points and nine assists, but was unable to match the tone he set in the first half as Minnesota took the game over late.

Providence returns to the court Thursday night when they take on Washington at Madison Square Garden.



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