Friar Basketball

Kalif Young Sets the Tone in Win Over Hoyas

Ed Cooley Closeup

For the second time in as many games, Providence was able to keep an opponent off of the scoreboard when it mattered most.

The Friars saw a 25 point lead trimmed to two against Seton Hall on Saturday, but leaned on its defense over the final ten minutes, as the Pirates went nearly seven minutes without a field goal late in the second half (8:04 mark to 1:31).

Wednesday at Georgetown saw more of the same. The Hoyas kicked off the second half by making their first six shots, but proceeded to go over 13 minutes without a field goal. In that time, a 49-43 Georgetown lead turned into a double digit Friar advantage.

After making those first six shots of the second half, Georgetown went 2-16 from the field. The Hoyas’ 17 second half free throws were the only thing that kept Providence from running away with this one in the game’s final ten minutes.

Yes, Georgetown was without 16 point, 10 rebound per game center Omer Yurtseven, and second leading scorer Mac McClung made just a brief cameo in his return to the floor, but this is the same Hoya group that had won three of its last four games, including at #19 Butler.

Ed Cooley relied heavily on his seniors on Wednesday. He was rewarded with the third straight terrific game out of Alpha Diallo. The reigning Big East Player of the Week finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, and had a pivotal and-1 off of an offensive rebound to turn the tide early in the second half.

The tone-setter was Kalif Young, however. In 24 minutes, the Canadian big man scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and added three assists, two steals, and a pair of blocks. With Providence trailing 49-43 six minutes into the second half, Nate Watson picked up his third foul on a reach in. Young came in, forced a turnover off of a strip and then flashed a little jab step mid-range jumper to make it 49-45.

On the next Providence possession, Young slipped to the cup for feed from Maliek White, and on the other end Young had a block which led to Diallo’s offensive rebound and put back that seemingly changed the course of the game.

Young later found Diallo for a layup on a look from the top of the key, and then finished a layup while being fouled on a pretty dish from Luwane Pipkins

Pipkins had one of his best games in a Friar uniform, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the second half. He shot an efficient 5-7 from the field and 3-5 from deep. His second half 3-pointers were backbreakers. The first came at the 7:08 mark to push the lead to 59-51, and he all but put Georgetown away with 95 seconds left to put Providence ahead by ten. He added four assists and three rebounds last night, in what was his second strong outing in a row.

Cooley also got a lift from Maliek White, who finished with 11 points and seven assists off the bench.

This was a game that started horribly for Providence. The Friars opened the game 1-14 from the field. They didn’t score until Pipkins got them on the board with a three nearly six minutes into the game. Then they proceeded to make their next three 3-pointers — go figure.

Despite the frigid start, PC still scored 73 points, shot 43% from the field, and made 10-25 from deep (40%). Five Friars connected from long range, with Pipkins (3), Diallo (3), and AJ Reeves (2) making multiple 3-pointers.

This now sets up for a monstrous game at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Saturday afternoon against Marquette and Markus Howard. Providence picked up its sixth Quad 1 victory with the win over Georgetown last night, and will play for number seven Saturday. PC is a half game ahead of Marquette for fourth in the conference standings.

With four games left in the regular season the Friars have what few expected they would back in December — a shot. This team was left for dead two months ago, but they have scratched their way to an 8-6 conference record and back onto the bubble.