Friar Basketball

Florida Trounces Providence in Brooklyn

Diallo Florida Associated Press Associated Press

A Providence season that was off to a bad start took a turn for the worse on Tuesday night when Florida ripped the Friars, 83-51, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The numbers tell the entire story.

Providence shot 25% from the field, made one of the 18 3-pointers they attempted (5.6%), and missed 14 of 34 from the free throw line. PC found a way to trail by 15 at halftime, despite taking 21 free throws in the opening 20 minutes. That’s bound to happen when you miss nine of those free throw attempts, all nine 3-pointers you hoist, and shoot an unthinkable 5-28 from the field.

If there has been a worse offensive performance in the Ed Cooley era it doesn’t come to mind. This team is searching and they aren’t close to having any answers.

Cooley seemingly doesn’t disagree.

Providence found some success early bullying Florida inside with Alpha Diallo and Nate Watson. Diallo finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but continues to struggle with efficiency (5-15 from the field, 10-20 free throws). Diallo also had four of the team’s five steals. Watson scored a season high 18 points on 5-11 shooting and 8-12 at the free throw line, but that was the extent of it for this offense. Seven of Watson’s eight rebounds were on the offensive side.

The Friars did not get a single point out of a guard in the first half. The underclassmen struggled all night, with David Duke, AJ Reeves, and Greg Gantt combining to shoot 0-16 from the field, while Luwane Pipkins (2-4 shooting) saw limited time in the second half after a trio of bad turnovers in the first. Maliek White scored four points on 2-7 shooting.

Providence had just eight assists on the night and turned the ball over 15 times.

This team is broken twelve games into the season, and there are no signs of anything resembling a remedy on the way. The coaching staff’s desperation was on display early in the second half, when they went with a lineup that included both Watson and Kalif Young on the floor together out of the intermission. It was a lineup that an offensively inept Florida team picked apart with ease.

PC’s offensive woes overshadowed a defensive effort that saw Florida shoot 51% from the field and 44% from deep. The Gators outscored Providence 38-26 in the paint and never trailed in this one.

The 6-6 Friars return to the Dunk on Saturday to take on Texas, and the arena will be filled with a fanbase that expected so much more out of this club. It was a group Cooley said he thought could be special in October. They looked anything but on Tuesday.


  1. Kurt

    December 18, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    I can’t believe how lost this team looks. I know we can’t blame Cooley for the poor FT shooting, but the awful FG % for 2’s and 3’s must fall a little to him. They almost never get clean looks. UPenn had a much better offense than us with an inferior roster. That being said, the disappointing seasons for Pipkens, Reeves, and White is unbelievable. No one is stepping up. The only guys who show up are Watson, Duke and a horrendous FT shooting Diallo. Last year was disappointing, but we expected it. This season could go down as one of the worst Friar season ever based on expectations. Don’t be shocked if a couple of guys transfer out.

  2. rayi

    December 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Agree, would not be surprised if one or two transfer right now so could play second semester 2021 at another school. At this point if duke and reeves committed to pc start them and play them most of time as your backcourt with Diallo and Watson up front and fifth starter, one of other young players. White and Pinkins just off bench to give starters a blow. Time to see what freshman and sophomores can do and get them plenty of experience. At this point looks like lost season so build for next yr.

  3. Irish Spectre

    December 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Duke had 2 pts. and 1 assist in 31 minutes last night, Kurt; you call that showing up? Nope, Duke shows up only occasionally, and Reeves even less. Both unfortunately have fallen massively short of their promise, and Pipkins was just a fat-out mistake.

    Watson may not be fully healthy yet, but the only one who mostly shows up is Diallo, and he’s not a natural leader, not to mention his charity stripe issues.

    This is a team that is starting to look defeated at the opening tipoff, a psychological basket case, at least as things presently stand.

  4. Anonymous

    December 18, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    I started to get worried this Summer when Cooley ran the offense for the Pan-Am Games. He had a few legitimate scorers at his disposal and made them look pedestrian. Even with that talent 5-6 minute droughts were common. I love coach and I think he recruits well and has built a strong family atmosphere but when we need an easy bucket or a quick run they are not there. We have only overcome this offense when we had individuals who could go beast mode (Cotton, Cartright, Henton, Dunn, and Bentil) We don’t have that kind of player on this squad and it shows. Not sure where we go from here for this season.

  5. Kev

    December 18, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    They miss so many layups and put backs, free throws are mostly flat, need a little air under them, more legs into the shot
    No player seems to have a consistent jumper, and the turn overs just keep coming!

  6. PK

    December 18, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Most disappointing season I can remember. It’s embarassing.

    Diallo has still put up numbers, but his efficiency is awful. 36% or less FG% in 4 of the last 5 games. Can’t have that when he’s your highest volume shooter.

    Pipkins was a mistake, but White hasn’t been good either. At least Pipkins has stopped launching bad shots, but maybe that wasn’t the problem if we still suck.

    Duke has either great games or is invisible. Reeves looks lost.

    Deepest team Cooley has had any they can’t play together. Maybe that’s part of the problem? Guys can’t find a rhythm or establish their roles. The season is already lost… gotta start sitting seniors and playing your underclassman.

  7. John

    December 18, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Never thought it was possible, but I miss MAL. Did he leave before or after Pipkins entered the program ?

  8. Wally

    December 18, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Terrible shooting! Bad luck? How many layups, 10’ers or free throws, all open shots don’t go in. Looks like they’re working hard and I’m hearing they like each other. Can they turn it around? Not with the present guard play. The only hope right now is if he can cure Pipken from shooting 3’s and concentrate on ball distribution. They need him to break the press for sure. Cooley knows what to do! GOFRIARS!!!!

  9. rayi

    December 18, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    The turnovers are mostly unforced, sloppy, lazy passes, etc from first game this season. It’s like most of them can’t handle division one play. Just terrible guard play every game.

  10. Carleto

    December 19, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Ed I can feel your pain. No more negativity in my posts because that helps no one. You are an elite coach and a great recruiter for a small school that is dam cold for most of the school year. Just keep doing what you do and it will get better. Teammates need to be friends and trust each other and just play ball. The missed layups and free throws are in the players heads have them relax cancel a practice and go out for a casual night with a nice dinner. Everyone needs to take a deep breath. You can’t forget how to play BB but you can get so worked up you can’t execute. Have fun the season is far from over. GL

  11. Leo

    December 19, 2019 at 2:41 am

    I’m still trying to figure out this team. There is talent there for sure – maybe not what we expected but certainly much more capable of how they’re playing. If there was one fix that might make the biggest difference in their play it would be Pipken or White really stepping up. I would lean on Pipken more. He’s lost out there – seems like he’s nervous about taking on too big a role. Let him create the offense by driving more to the basket; he’s shown at UMass he can finish or at least go to the free throw line (best free throw shooter on the team). Don’t look to Duke or AJ to take over a game – both great athletes, but average D-1 ball players.

  12. RussB

    December 19, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Well the Florida freshman came in and played with confidence and without tight reigns, they took the ball to the hoop thru open lanes and scored. (Quite rare with our offense)
    Maybe we are over rating our young guys?
    Hoping the ship is righted, and a new offense is implemented.
    Sitting thru the Big East schedule watching this team score 50 points a game will be brutal… it should be a real treat (sic) watching the New Years Eve game,,, why New Years Eve?

  13. Louie T.

    December 19, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Ed has enough athleticism with this group of guys. However, they can’t put the ball in the ocean.
    Friar fans can surely remember the Pitino coached Friars, who incidentally were not that talented, pressing teams for most of their games creating steals and fast break opportunities.
    Perhaps the coaches should start thinking defense first and go from there.

  14. rayi

    December 19, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    I agree with you louie. This is a tall, athletic, deep team. Pressure opponent entire game, not necessarily to steal the ball but to wear them down and get them out of rhythm.

  15. Wally

    December 20, 2019 at 2:35 am

    You mention Pitino, I remember taking my CYO team to his open practices. He demanded the best out of his players and got it. He stayed on them & that was his way. At times I’ll bet some of his guys hated him but they respected him and knew he was trying to bring them to another level.. That’s the talent he has. I positively don’t believe we have seen the best out of this team. There’s more there for sure. All your comments are right on. Cooley can get this done. GO FRIARS!!!

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