Friar Basketball

A Look Back: Providence at BC in 2002

Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 12.53.47 PM Boston College Athletics

Scouring online for Providence content, I stumbled upon a somewhat random, yet enjoyable look back at Providence at Boston College in 2002.

The Friars and Eagles had just undergone massive turnarounds the year prior, with BC going from last to first in the Big East, while Providence’s program rebounded from the brink of disaster with an NCAA tournament bid.

In 2002, neither program met expectations. Providence finished 15-16 overall, and 6-10 in the league, while BC reached the NCAAs after a 20-12, 8-8 campaign, but lost in the first round to Texas.

So, why is this worth a look back?

This was John Linehan’s last season at Providence, and seeing him up against Troy Bell is a treat. PC had defeated BC at the Dunk a month earlier, with Linehan coming up with nine steals, while helping to limit Bell to 10 points.

That wouldn’t be the case in the Conte Forum. Bell, the Big East Player of the Year in 2001 and 2003, goes off in this one for a career high 39 points. BC also got a big night from sophomore Ryan Sidney, a physical guard out of Michigan who just missed a triple double with 18 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.

Bell and Sidney were the start of Boston College’s seemingly endless run of sleepers turned superstar. They would welcome Craig Smith a year later, followed soon by Jared Dudley, Sean Williams, Tyrese Rice, and Reggie Jackson. Pretty amazing recruiting by Al Skinner’s staff. It’s no wonder most of them turned into head coaches.

From a PC perspective, Linehan’s defensive electricity is on full display, despite Bell’s big night. The Friars played zone for much of this one, but Linehan is everywhere.

This was also junior Abdul Mills’ final healthy year at PC. He goes for 26. Mills missed all of the following year and was set to return for PC’s huge 2003-04 season, but never made it back. He was Providence’s second leading scorer as a sophomore, and top scorer when this game was played.

Freshman Ryan Gomes has his moments. It’s easy to forget he played with Linehan for a year. Another Friar freshman, Rob Sanders was terrific.

Lastly, we get a great quote from then-BC assistant Ed Cooley on Linehan.

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