Friar Basketball

Cartwright, Diallo Lead 2nd Half Surge

Diallo Closeup

I’ve made a habit of re-watching Providence’s games against upcoming opponents via our “PC in 8 Minutes” series (nothing like kicking off an article with a plug).

What I saw last year was a terribly ugly first half, a lift from Alpha Diallo in the second, and the Friars pulling away in the final minute.

The similarities between tonight’s 70-60 win (PC’s third straight) and last year’s were a little startling.

The Friars had scored just 17 points with a minute remaining in the first half last year before Isaiah Jackson knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute as Providence made it a two-possession game prior to halftime.

Tonight, PC scored just 19 points with 1:30 left in the first half, but Jalen Lindsey canned a pair of threes to help bring the Friars to within four at the break.

Alpha Diallo went scoreless in the first half against Butler last season, but bounced back with 15 second-half points.

This time he went 0-7 in the first half before responding with 4-4 shooting over the final 20 minutes. Diallo and Kyron Cartwright combined to make just one of 13 first-half shots before going 10-11 combined in the second half. It was a second half that saw Providence execute flawlessly offensively, shooting nearly 73% as a team and scoring 45 points.

Providence pushed its lead to 12 in the second half before Butler made multiple runs. Each of those runs was thwarted by what Cooley deemed a trio of back-breaking 3-pointers by Lindsey, Cartwright, and Diallo.

Notably, Cooley went to Diallo in the post with two minutes to play in both last season’s win over Butler and again this year. A season ago, Diallo took advantage of a mismatch with point guard Tyler Lewis on him. Providence led by a bucket before Diallo spun Lewis nearly into the ground.

After Kamar Baldwin cut Butler’s deficit to just five, Diallo went to work on the post this year, muscling his way inside for two with 1:50 left.

And just as they had done a year ago, Providence got a stop with under a minute to play — and both times Cartwright threw a 50-60 foot pass ahead of Butler’s defense for a layup to put the game away. Isaiah Jackson (7 points, 7 rebounds) had the honor this year, while Emmitt Holt finished the Bulldogs off last season.

Holt’s return to Providence was an emotional one. Holt is back on campus, not only an encouraging sign for his future, but an uplifting moment for this program. After the win Cooley, Cartwright and Kalif Young peeled the curtain back a bit and it was clear how much Holt means to this group.

Cooley’s Friar have gotten good at overcoming setbacks, and also adjusting and readjusting as the season plays out.

Prior to conference play, the Friars were struggling, but now 4-2 in the Big East, and having played well in five of its six games, Providence is trending upward. The road ahead is difficult, with Creighton coming to the Dunk this weekend, followed by a brutal three-game road trip at #1 Villanova, #19 Seton Hall, and then Marquette to close it out.

Yet, as he’s consistently done since he’s been here, Cooley is sorting together the pieces of the puzzle at the right time. His seniors have been consistent (Cartwright was terrific with 18 points and 11 assists, Lindsey made three crucial 3s, and Bullock had 12 and 8), Young is finding his footing as an interior presence (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals), while Diallo and Jackson are the prototypical tough, versatile Cooley wings.

The Friars are on the upswing.


  1. Aaron

    January 16, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Was a heck of a game. Great win.

  2. GTJ

    January 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Great summary, great friar win. I think the unsung hero here is Young, who was tough on the glass, efficient offensively and made crucial defensive plays at the end. He showed that he is in great shape and capable of anchoring this team. If Watson can gain some confidence before the end of BE play this team will be tournament-ready.

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  4. Irish Spectre

    January 17, 2018 at 12:41 am

    Mental toughness, well spread talent, experience, and Coach Cooley…

    I’m thinking Dancing With the Friars…

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