Friar Basketball

Questions Abound Following Loss to Long Beach St.

Cooley BET Creighton

The natives are restless in Friartown — and rightfully so.

Providence followed up a disappointing 81-75 loss to Penn by blowing a 17 point second half lead to Long Beach State on Thanksgiving, falling 66-65.

Long Beach outscored Providence 38-28 in the second half, as PC once again fell flat offensively. The Friars shot 34% in the second half, connected on 3-12 from beyond the arc, and simply fell apart on both sides of the floor down the stretch.

An Alpha Diallo jump shot with seven minutes to go put Providence ahead, 61-51. It would be the last Friar field goal of the game.

Long Beach, 16.5 point underdogs heading into this one, closed the game on a 15-4 run, and took the lead for good with three seconds remaining after Emmitt Holt fouled Michael Carter III on a 3-point attempt. Carter hit all three at the free throw line to put Long Beach up a point, and David Duke missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.

The final four minutes were particularly troubling. PC led 62-54 with under four minutes to play against a Long Beach State team that had no answers offensively for most of the night (they shot 2-10 from 3 and 14-23 at the foul line). Cooley went with a senior-heavy group down the stretch, keeping four seniors and the sophomore Duke on the floor for the duration.

Here is how the possessions ended from 3:30 on:

3:23: Kalif Young missed the rim on a layup attempt late in the shot clock. Diallo grabbed the rebound, but the shot clock expired.

3:05: Long Beach missed a fadeaway jumper to keep it 62-54 Friars.

2:46: Long Beach stole a Luwane Pipkins pass intended for Duke. Duke raced back and swatted a transition layup attempt out of bounds to temporarily save the possession. Long Beach scored on a half hook 12 seconds later and it was suddenly a six point game.

2:14: For the third straight possession, Providence broke the Long Beach press with relatively ease, but Maliek White set an illegal screen on a hand off to Pipkins. Ed Cooley didn’t like the call, but it was the right one. White turned his back into the defender and all but forced the ref to call it.

2:06: Diallo bit badly on an up-fake at the top of the key and was beaten on a give and go. 62-58 PC advantage. Timeout Friars.

1:47: Before PC could run up a play, Long Beach committed a bad foul, grabbing Duke on a cut. Duke hit both free throws.

1:33: Long Beach kept the pressure on by knocking down a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to four.

00:53: After Long Beach pressed and forced Duke into a hurried pass to Diallo that was stolen, Carter banked in a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. 64-63 Providence and the pressure was turned up.

00:46: What looked to be a clear push off on White was not called an offensive foul, but a flop on Long Beach. Under the new NCAA rules for flopping, Providence was awarded a technical free throw and the ball because this was the second flop of the game called on The Beach. What a break for the Friars. What an awful call.

Pipkins hit the free throw to make it 65-63. Then Holt’s pass was picked off, but Long Beach missed an open jumper and a tip attempt. Duke pulled down a traffic rebound for PC. Duke passed to Diallo who was sent to the line for a 1-1.

00:17: Diallo missed the front end of the 1-1 with PC up two points, then Holt fouled Carter to put him to the free throw line for three foul shots. Carter made all three from the line and that was your ballgame.

The call against Holt was a questionable one, as it appeared as though contact came as he was attempting to box out the shooter, but Providence did not deserve any breaks with how they executed late — and after the technical called on Long Beach seconds prior, PC was not getting any breaks.

Cooley has faced swoons in his now nine year Providence career, and most often his teams rebounded in time to salvage an NCAA tournament berth. This one feels like a bit of a crossroad, however.

Providence is coming off of a season in which they finished tied for last in the Big East, yet despite that, expectations were high for a team returning an All Big East wing in Diallo, a pair sophomores that were top 50 in their class in Duke and AJ Reeves, four other seniors in the returning Holt, White, Young, and Pipkins, in addition to junior Nate Watson and top 70 freshman Greg Gantt.

Cooley was certainly due a mulligan after reaching five straight NCAA tournaments prior to last year. The 2018-19 Friars were in disarray offensively last year and immediately after Providence was eliminated from the Big East Tournament Cooley said his top offseason priority was to find a point guard.

Former top 40 recruit Makai Ashton-Langford would soon transfer out of the program, and Pipkins, a PC killer the past three years, came aboard. With a fifth year senior in Pipkins, a sophomore in Duke who was recruited to Providence as a point guard, and a senior in White, the expectation was that the offense would run more smoothly. That hasn’t been the case.

Pipkins is shooting under 33% from the field in the early going, and while he sports a healthy 3.5:1 assist to turnover ratio, Providence’s offense is just as clunky as it was a year prior. In its three losses, Providence has shot 41% twice (Long Beach and Penn) and failed to crack 31% in the other (Northwestern).

While the emphasis in the offseason was on improved point guard play, that is far from the only issue facing the Friars early.

Diallo was said to have improved his shot, but is 7-28 from 3 (25%) and 10-18 at the free throw line (56%).

Through no fault of his own, Nate Watson is struggling to find his rhythm after returning from a sprained knee suffered in the preseason. Watson was likely to be this team’s “if all else fails” option offensively, but he simply needs more time to get up to speed. Three games isn’t enough.

Somehow Reeves has become a forgotten man offensively. Since making six of ten shots in the opener against Sacred Heart, Reeves’ shot totals are as follows: 3, 5, 2, 4, 6. Half of the 20 shots Reeves has taken since the opener have been from beyond the arc.

Reeves is more than a spot up shooter. Cooley said at last year’s Big East Media Day that Reeves reminded him of Paul Pierce, not physically, but because he can score in so many ways. Providence has to find more ways to get him involved.

While the shooting will be highlighted until/if PC can turn it around, just as glaring from this perspective are the lack of really good passers on this roster. There were a few occasions on Thursday in which a good shot could have been given up for a great one with an additional pass.

One of the biggest challenges facing Cooley and his staff will be finding the right rotation. Cooley alluded to the need to do so following the loss to Penn. Providence changed its starting lineup on Thursday, replacing Reeves with Holt, and they jumped out to a 12-4 lead early. At this point, it looks as though PC is moving forward with a nine man rotation. Sophomore Jimmy Nichols and Kris Monroe did not see the floor today.

The rotation could tighten further when Watson returns to form. He played 18 minutes today and should push for 25-30 when at full strength. Gantt continues to impress and could conceivably earn himself more than the 12 minutes he saw on Thursday going forward. He knocked down the only 3-pointer he took on Thursday, put back another miss, grabbed four boards and had a loud block today. Reeves played just 12 minutes as well.

There is a lot to figure out and little time to do so. At 4-3, Providence needs to turn things around quickly and returns to the floor tomorrow afternoon to play the College of Charleston.




  1. Marty

    November 29, 2019 at 2:09 am

    Coach Cooley needs to have a talk with Diallo. He doesn’t seem to be interested in playing hard this year. Way too many turn overs and not focus. He is not half the player he was last year. This talented team should be blowing out these teams by 20 plus points. It’s been very frustrating and embarrassing to say the least

  2. Karen

    November 29, 2019 at 2:31 am

    With that much talent it is unfathomable to me that this team can’t figure it out. That’s on the coach. Although there is depth in the bench, you can’t treat it like a first and second line in hockey. The rhythm can’t be found if you keep shuffling the deck. Settle down, pick a starting 5, and execute. Coach does these rotations til it makes you dizzy. The 5 need to be set long before conference play starts.

  3. Derec Lamendola

    November 29, 2019 at 5:02 am

    Dear Providence College Mens Basketball Frisrs Mens Basketball Frisrs Mens Basketball Frisrs Mens Basketball we need to figer it out and see what we doing and i meen come on and we Need To Do Somerhing in Friar Twon and come Guays Wake UP And tommerrrrow we got a TUFF Game tommerrrrow come on Guays Do Something and Figer it out Now and

    Providnece College Mens Basketball PC Mens Basketball And we Need to Do something like this Get reday and see what is Going on amd tonnerrrrow the Providence College Mens Basketball The Starting Line UP For tommerrrrow Night at 4 pm tonnerrrow reday

    Greg Gannt Ferahmin
    Luwance pipkins Graduate
    Emmitt Holt Graduated Stuent
    Kalif Young Senior
    Nate Waston Junior
    Maleik Wight Senior
    Alphia Dallio Senior
    Jimny Nichols Sophomore
    AJ Reeves Sophomore

    Providence College Mens Basketball The Starting Line UP For tommerrrow in The West coast for tommerrrrow and tommerrrow we Need to get going Ed Cooley is A Bad Coaxh AT The Providence College Mens Basketball And He The Woris Coach Every and Ed Coooley is the. Bad Bentch Coach like Why Is Going on we Need to Look good and Figer out see what going on You Know I Meen Get going

  4. MercuryHg poisoned

    November 29, 2019 at 5:02 am

    No big deal.. PC just isn’t that good…Mediocre coach and team at best. 2 million salary a year for Cooley is a joke. Walk ons could play as well as these scholarship clowns…2 million a year could field a baseball team and build fire escapes for the dorms. Very sad.

  5. Peter

    November 29, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Cooley is a terrible game coach,said it right along.great recruiter terrible coach.If he took that job at Michigan he would already be run out of town.Diallo has not played well for this program sence his freshman year.continually hurts this team with his turnovers and continues to miss foul shots but continues to see big minutes.pipkins to KILL this team by shooting 3 pt.shots and continuing to miss,coach said he was brought in the run the offense all I see is him jacking up 3 pt.shots.White,Duke,and Holt have been good and Gantt has signs of being a very good player.Reeves has lost all confidence since he got hurt last season Cooley has ruined this kid right now.It all starts at the top and it’s time for a change need to get someone in here that can coach this talent.Time for 2 seniors to take a seat Diallo and Pipkins and play white and Gantt and Reeves this program will not change until the man at the top goes!! TO MUCH TALENT ON THIS TEAM TIME TO WAKE GUESS UP TO MAKE NECESSARY CHANGES!!

  6. Sean Gleason

    November 29, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    This team should be 7-0. Three games they lost PC was big favorites. Every year Ed Cooley teams lose to teams they should not. The offense is predictable, doesn’t utilize strength of players, and again no Point Guard wiling to me more of passer than scorer.
    With the depth and athleticism don’t understand why Cooley does not press more full court.

  7. Ray Desrochers

    November 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Since his time at PC, Coach Cooley had the knack of making players believe in themselves. I’ll still stand by that however the problem now seems that no one wants to take charge on the court. I also feel that as huge faves, they seem to have a tendency to overlook teams. Following a disappointing home loss to Penn, they were looking for redemption versus Arizona perhaps……Diallo needs to take charge and more than 7 shots a half..

  8. Wally

    November 29, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Pipkins should should pass the freeken ball!!!!! Look to find the open man!! FORGET THE 3’s PIP!!!! He’s quick and a great defender. Maximize his talents. Shooting 3’s ain’t one of them. Diallo was awful the starting with the 2nd half of last years season. Losing the ball, complaining to the ref’s.The remedy has to be in guard play and that should be the concentration right now!!! Reeves & Nichols have to be utilized great talent. Gantt is awesome!! Just hope Cooley doesn’t lose this team!!!! “This one is on me” shouldn’t be his “anthem” but it’s all we here!!!!

  9. Cashman

    November 29, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    All these comments have some measure of credibility in my view. This team should be undefeated with the schedule it has played. Numerous issues but they are not being addressed. First and foremost, you have to score points. You will never win in conference shooting so poorly so regularly. Blowing leads and playing catch up leaves no time for controlling the tempo and and being in control against mediocre teams.

  10. PovFriars60

    November 29, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    I like to eat dookie

  11. Capt. Dumps

    November 29, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    ann arbor eddie strikes again. mr hometown man using the big ten to get more money. half ass program as usual. this guy has to go its over. penn has better and tougher guys.

  12. Carleto

    November 29, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Coach you have 3.5-4 million reasons to figure this out. Your players do not seem to be developing under your current coaching plan. I don’t need to list each current player or top recruits who left your program. I realize these are college kids and I give them all the respect in the world by going to school full time and playing BB for a div 1 program. That being said I have all the faith that you will figure this out and am very satisfied with your tenure at our college. It’s not all about X’s and O’s for the fine young men playing for you it’s more about?? That is something you already know and need to execute.

  13. Harry

    November 30, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    The Penn game should have been a lesson in how the game should be played. With only a fraction of the talent this team has, it played excellent fundamental basketball using back door plays, moving without the ball, pick and rolls,etc. and made scoring look easy. Cooley seems to believe that superior athleticism (which we have) is all a team needs to dominate. The competition has gotten smarter. Cooley needs to spend more time on teaching this team fundamentals.

  14. Derec Lamendola

    November 30, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Providence College Mens Basketball PC Mens Basketball Has TO Figer it All OUT see what we Doing and im Think Lets GO Somewhere Next Friday and i Wont Every One All The Friar Fans come out With US We might Think go The Soprts Bar Something and im am NOT Interested TO GO TO

    The Providence College Mens Basketball URI Game and so i wont The Providence College Cheeladers Come to Sports Bar Somewhere lets Figer it out and i wont The Providence College Cheeladers come to and we NOT AT Providence This Year and we at The Ryan Center Lets Figer out what Restaurant you wont GO AT

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