Friar Basketball

Pip Back to Chicago, NEPSAC Flair at Northwestern, Gavitt Games


News and notes as Providence prepares to take on Northwestern in Chicago…

1. On the surface, there were not many positives for new Providence point guard Luwane Pipkins on Saturday versus NJIT. After a strong debut against Sacred Heart (13 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals), Pipkins shot just 1-10 from the field against NJIT and missed all five 3-pointers he took.

Still, he managed to make plays for others and was active defensively. Three passes stand out in particular. He drew multiple defenders with him to the paint before kicking it out to Maliek White for an open 3. He later drew two defenders before bouncing a nifty pass to Emmitt Holt who finished while being fouled. Then he found a racing David Duke for an alley oop from just inside halfcourt.


Pipkins finished Saturday with five assists and three steals, and on the season has yet to turn the ball over in 45 minutes of playing time.

2. Wednesday night at Northwestern will be a homecoming for Pipkins, who is a Chicago native. This will be the first time in his college career that he has played in his hometown.

This game is also noteworthy for those who follow the New England prep scene closely. The Wildcats feature four players that graduated from NESPSAC schools. Senior AJ Turner and junior Anthony Gaines both attended New Hampton Prep (as did PC coach Ed Cooley), while sophomore Ryan Greer was part of a very good Northfield Mount Hermon team, and freshman Boo Buie played for the same Mass Rivals program that produced AJ Reeves and David Duke.

Buie averaged over 26 points per game last year at Gould Academy, where he played alongside former Friar recruit Wildens Levesque (who is now at South Carolina).

Turner, a four star recruit coming out of high school, originally committed to Boston College. He was the headliner of Jim Christian’s first recruiting class, a group that included future lottery pick Jerome Robinson. Turner, Robinson, and Ky Bowman (part of BC’s next recruiting haul) were thought to be the core of Christian’s program going forward, but Turner transferred after his sophomore season. Robinson went to the NBA a year later, and Bowman did the same this past spring.

BC knocked off Providence, 79-67, in Turner’s sophomore season, as BC scored 54 points in the second half. Turner finished with 12 points and six assists on that day, while Emmitt Holt had a 16 point, 11 rebound double double.

3. Northwestern should enter Wednesday night’s game with a chip on its shoulder after falling to Merrimack College in Merrimack’s second D1 game in program history. Northwestern was 18.5 point favorites heading into that one, and lost by 10.

It’s hard to believe that it was just two years ago that Northwestern fell to eventual national runner-up Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament. A blown goaltend call all but ended their season that March.

4. One of the biggest letdowns of the early season is the ankle injury of Seton Hall star Myles Powell. The #12 Pirates host #3 Michigan State on Thursday night (11/14) in a game that had all the makings of an early statement for Seton Hall, Powell, and the Big East.

Reports out of Jersey are that Powell’s sprained ankle is healing quickly, and that he could be back for the Hall’s game against St. Louis on Sunday.

5. DePaul kicked off the 2019 Gavitt Games by trouncing Iowa on the Hawkeyes home floor. DePaul, picked to finish last in the Big East by the league’s coaches, led by as many as 24 points and were led by emerging star Paul Reed.

Reed was named the league’s most improved player last year and finished with season highs in points (25), rebounds (12), and steals (4) versus Iowa. The 6’9 junior from Florida is going to be a matchup problem for many this season.

5. Tuesday night brings two more Gavitt Games matchups, with Creighton traveling to Michigan, and Minnesota traveling to Butler.

Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski could be a breakout player in the Big East this season. The sophomore scored over 10 points per game a season ago, while shooting over 42% from 3 and 45% from the field. He’s an incredibly quick guard who good playmaking skills who can really shoot.

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