Friar Basketball

Alpha Diallo’s Career Night Leads to Win over #10 Hall

Diallo White Uni

In a season that has made little sense from the jump, Alpha Diallo caught fire from deep and played what head coach Ed Cooley called the best game of his career in Saturday’s 74-71 win over #10 Seton Hall. 

The numbers say it all. Diallo finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds, making 11-15 shots from the field, 5-5 from 3-point range, and 8-9 at the free throw line before fouling out late. He scored 19 first half points, making all four of the 3-point attempts he put up. 

With his big game against the Hall, Diallo became the first Friar to score 35 points and grab ten boards in a game since Ben Bentil’s 42 point explosion at Marquette in a double overtime loss in 2016.

Diallo came into this game shooting 25% from deep and 56% at the line. Providence had lost its previous two games, thanks to a late shooting slump at Xavier and perhaps their worst performance of the season against St. John’s on Wednesday.

Diallo was the only Friar to show up in Queens. Finishing with 19 points and 17 rebounds. He didn’t get much more offensive support on Saturday (his teammates made 10 field goals and shot 10-44 from the field), but Diallo’s monster effort was enough in the end.

This was a game that the Friars led by 24 points with under four minutes to play in the first half before the Pirates started chipping away. PC’s 39-15 lead with 3:42 to go in the first turned into a 41-27 game at the break, highlighted by seven quick points from Seton Hall star Myles Powell. Providence had done a great job of slowing Powell, as the likely All American had three points before his late outburst.

Seton Hall appeared to turn this one around early in the second half, highlighted by a 15-2 run that cut PC’s advantage to two with 11 minutes still remaining.

Diallo countered a Powell 3-pointer with one of his own at the 10:53 mark, giving Providence badly-needed breathing room (50-45). Diallo hit a jump shot with 7:29 to go to push a two point lead to four, and scored off of an offensive rebound a little over a minute later to make it 56-50 Friars.

Those three buckets were the most critical of the game.

A Diallo drive with 1:53 in the game pushed PC ahead 64-54, and the final two minutes came down to Seton Hall burying late threes, only to be held off by clutch free throw shooting by the Friars. Luwane Pipkins made four during this span, Diallo hit both of his attempts, and David Duke went 4-4.

Powell finished with a hard-earned 27 points, on 9-20 from the field and 4-13 from deep. Two of those four 3-pointers came in the final minute to keep the Hall alive, but this was Providence’s night.

PC got a spark from freshman Greg Gantt, who grabbed nine rebounds, including four critical offensive boards. Cooley was happy enough with his effort to play Gantt 22 minutes, but noted afterwards that the next step in his progression will be avoiding some of the lapses that popped up at times on Saturday. Regardless, his energy and athleticism were key on Saturday. 

Providence improved to 7-6 in the Big East with the win and will head to Georgetown on Wednesday before a return engagement with Marquette a week from today. The Friars defeated both clubs earlier this season. 

PC will need a good to great Diallo if they are to finish strong over the season’s final five games. This must have been a frustrating senior season for the New York native, with the lowlight coming in back-to-back games against Villanova and Butler in which he shot 1-11 from the field combined. Diallo has bounced back the past two weeks. He will be a strong contender for Big East Player of the Week after averaging 27 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. 

And with that, a season that has felt like it has teetered on being over since December is still alive.

7 Comments

  1. Toni L Austin

    February 16, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Coach Ed Cooley is fantastic!
    The team did a fantastic job.
    Friars are very blessed to have him. I truly enjoyed the game. Whether they win or lose I will always follow the Friars!
    By the way, I an aunt of Greg Gantt.

  2. Marty

    February 16, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Fantastic game. Diallo played like he did last year for the first time. Defense played great again. Let’s keep it going and finish strong. NOT DONE YET……..Gregg Gantt is going to be a great player along with David Duke.

  3. Wally

    February 16, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Again great crowd, great win. Happy for Diallo. Kid is tough and very tough on himself. He both needed and deserved a night like that. Also, I’ve been on Watson all year but it has to be the leg injury keeping him from executing and offense at all. He still does the same move game after game. He’s 6’11” and when he gets the ball he crouches immediately and backs his man in and he loses 5 inches. Then he throws up a hook without even looking. He was awful last night. They need him to play well moving forward’ The article by K Mac said the team looks at film individually????!!! There’s been no positive change. I’m hoping the next game he score 40 and All u guys tell me I’m an idiot!! GOFRIARSBABY!!!

  4. rayi

    February 16, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Finally a big win at home and Diallo living up to pre season hype. Wonder if Watson could be helped by adding a retired nba big man to work with him. Don’t want to be negative about the victory but except for Diallo another very poor shooting night for rest of the team but everyone made clutch free throws last few minutes.

  5. Wally

    February 17, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Got to be Watson’s injury. He’s got great support internally from the Friar staff. He teases us at times with some nice moves and energy but the optics to date is that he doesn’t bring it every game. Too bad, he is a big dude and can do some damage inside for sure.. GOFRIARS

  6. Happy to see BC toil in obscurity

    February 17, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Very happy for Alpha. He’s a good kid and for whatever reason, he’s had a tough season…I think he’s been conflicted since he dipped his toe in the water with the NBA last summer and he has been trying to change his game into something not suited to his skills.

    Still need to reduce our turnovers and to improve our consistency.

    Coach is not afraid to let the players that are playing well get the minutes and those that are not performing sit. It seems that Nate has borne the brunt of that philosophy of late and it is justified. His defense has been very bad and he is getting pushed off his spot in the low post too easily to start his offense too far from the basket…he is a quite capable player and needs help to correct these issues.

    The team as a whole needs to improve from the FT line…issues of consistent shooting technique and tempo are affecting lots of players. Not too late to correct…

    When this team plays well, they can beat anybody…too often, they beat themselves due to failure to execute simple skills (bounce passes, FTs, catching the ball with feet squared to the basket) and poor decision making.

    Go Friars!

  7. Wally

    February 18, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Agree totally agree!! I just cannot get over the fact that Watson played only 13 minutes against Seton Hall and the Friars still won. I know the coaches know obviously because Young and Holt played rather than Watson so still thinking Watson is still hurting because he just cannot possibly be that bad. GOFRIARS!!