Friar Basketball

Pipkins’ Offense, White’s D Critical in Road Win

Maliek White

Heading into Saturday’s road tilt at #16 Butler, Luwane Pipkins was shooting over 97% from the free throw line. The stripe has been the saving grace in an otherwise disappointing grad transfer year for the former 1st Team All Atlantic 10 guard. 

Both Pipkins’ field goal and 3-point percentages have hovered around 30% this year, the result of a guard who spent the entirety of his college career firing away at UMass only to try to learn to mix scoring with distributing at Providence — without the benefit of a healthy offseason with his new team. 

When Pipkins has shot well from deep, Providence has generally won. That was the case in wins over Texas (4-6 from 3), Georgetown (4-7 FG, 4-4 FT), DePaul (4-9 from 3), and on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Pipkins came off of the bench to deliver 22 points on 4-9 from 3-point range and 10-10 at the free throw line. His makes were timely:

  • Down 13-7 early, Pipkins connected from 3 to keep PC close — a must against a Butler team that loves playing with a lead, defending, then draining the clock. We saw that first-hand in Butler’s win at the Dunk last month. 
  • His second 3-pointer came with under a minute left in the first half in a one point game. 
  • Next, Pipkins hit a pair of threes late in the shot clock. AJ Reeves found him at the top of the key with four seconds left on the shot clock in a two point game with 11:30 to go. A minute and a half later, Pipkins freed himself with a dribble move late in the shot clock and knocked down another deep one. Just like that, it was 49-43 Friars.

Pipkins then made six straight free throws in the game’s final 30 seconds. The first two trips to the line were 1-1 opportunities, and each trip to the line came in a one possession game.

His shot selection was good on Saturday. Three of Pipkins’ four 3-pointers came on open looks and the fourth was just him making a play. 

White vs. Baldwin

Butler was without point guard Aaron Thompson on Saturday, leaving star guard Kamar Baldwin as their only real playmaker. Baldwin has been a terror in the second half of games recently, highlighted by 29 points after halftime in a win over Marquette.

At halftime on Saturday, Baldwin was 0-5 from the field and had just two points. He stormed out of the halftime break by making four of his first five shots, but then missed his next five shots from the field.

Credit Maliek White for his defensive effort throughout this one. Very little came easy for Baldwin, who finished 4-15 from the field and missed a 3-pointer with about a minute and a half to go and PC up five.

It’s a make/miss sport quite often. In the same situation two weeks ago, Creighton’s Tyshon Alexander hit a three to bring the Jays to within two. If Alexander misses that shot, Providence likely walks out of Omaha with a win. 

White has really struggled from deep over the past five games, but he put his head down and drove with aggression in the first half, then hit one of the biggest shots of the night at the 5:14 mark of the second half. White’s 3-pointer at that point pushed a one point lead to four and set the stage for PC’s victory. 

Cooley’s Lineup Change

Ed Cooley went big on Saturday, starting Kalif Young alongside Nate Watson. Notably absent from the starting lineup was Alpha Diallo, who watched the final 13 minutes of Providence’s narrow loss to Villanova last weekend. 

Foul trouble limited Watson to 18 minutes, but he was effective offensively with limited touches, finishing 4-7 from the field, including a pair of and-1s. Young led the team with nine rebounds, but struggled to finish at the rim.

Diallo played 25 minutes, scoring three points on 1-5 shooting from the field and 1-4 at the free throw line. Diallo’s field goal came with Providence up a point near the midway point of the second half. He finished on a swooping drive through the lane. His biggest play came on the defensive end, when he swatted Baldwin late. 

Duke and Reeves Making Plays

Providence got 18 combined points from David Duke and Reeves. Reeves (3-7 from the field, 1-3 from 3) scored in a variety of ways — a 3-pointer, a floater, and nestling home a short jumper.

Duke made a number of big shots when this game was in the balance. Three of his makes from the field came when the two teams were separated by a basket, with the biggest coming off of an offensive rebound and putback with 2:24 left in a one point game. Duke finished an efficient 4-7 from the field and 2-2 from the line.

3 Comments

  1. gopcgopc

    February 2, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Pip was outstanding yesterday. I feel bad for him because IMO the fanbase and Cooley are expecting two different things out of him. Cooley wants him to be a volume scorer, which maybe leads to a quick three every now and then in an effort to create space for others. The fanbase seemingly wants him to be a distributor who only shoots when he is wide open. Meanwhile they are clamoring for a certain “great shooter” to get more looks, (Not realizing how many plays are actually drawn up for him that he just can’t get a shot off due to his tortoise-like release) who is a putrid 26% from distance. Pip looked him off yesterday and I loved it.

  2. B Hall

    February 2, 2020 at 10:17 am

    We have go at least 6 and 3 the rest of the way and win at least 1 game in the BE Tourney to get any consideration by the NCAA.

  3. Wally

    February 3, 2020 at 11:13 am

    Coach Cooley has had to deal with a lot this season: Injuries, finding the right chemistry and now disciplinary issues from a player you would never expect Diallo. Crazy, senior year. They can win moving forward!!! GOFRIARS!!!