Friar Basketball

Noah Horchler Emerging for the Friars

Horch vs. DePaul Providence College Athletics

There were times this season in which it looked as though Noah Horchler might fall out of Ed Cooley’s rotation completely. The transfer from North Florida came to Providence with relatively high expectations after averaging 16 points and over nine rebounds a game during the 2018-19 season, but he saw sporadic minutes through the first two months of the season.

Horchler has been Providence’s best rebounder this year (he grabbed 26 boards in the first three games of the season), but looked like a defensive liability early, which limited his playing time. After playing 22+ minutes through the first three games this year, Horchler saw just six against Alabama — the first of five games in which he played under 10 minutes (with the latest coming when he went just seven minutes in a loss at Villanova on Jan. 23).

A week later, Jimmy Nichols went down for the season, paving the way for more playing time for Horchler. He hasn’t looked back since.

In the four games since Nichols went down, Horchler has gone for 10 points and eight rebounds, 19 points and eight boards, nine points and ten rebounds, and last night he finished with six points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks in a 57-47 win at DePaul.

Horchler, who has played over 30 minutes in all four of those games, is also 8-18 from beyond the arc during this stretch.
Perhaps most significantly, Horchler was a presence on the defensive end last night. The Demons scored 90 points in a double overtime loss to the Friars in late December, but shot just 19-62 (30.6 percent) against PC on Saturday.

PC was able to survive on a night in which Nate Watson battled through foul trouble in large part due to the presence of Horchler, who played a team high 36 minutes.

DePaul was playing without their best player, point guard Charlie Moore, but Providence’s coaching staff has to be encouraged with their team’s second straight solid defensive effort. The Friars limited UConn to 59 points three days prior to last night’s victory.

The Friars were without head coach Ed Cooley last night, who fell ill prior to the game and made the determination not to coach 30 minutes prior to tip off. His illness is not COVID-related.

David Duke led the team in scoring (17), assists (4), and rebounding (13). His 13 boards were a career high. AJ Reeves started hot, making his first four shots from the field. He was the only other Friar to score in double figures (13). Freshman Alyn Breed added nine points on 4-8 shooting from the field. Watson and Horchler combined to block eight shots.

Providence controlled this one throughout, leading the game for over 33 minutes. The Friars also welcomed back point guard Jared Bynum, who had missed the previous seven games during to injury. Bynum did not play in the first half, but saw seven minutes in the second. Assistant coach Jeff Battle said they held off on playing Bynum early because he was on a minutes restriction and they wanted to preserve him in case they needed a ball handler late.

The Friars will have to be all but perfect down the stretch if they are to make a run at an NCAA Tournament berth. PC is 11-10 overall, 7-8 in league play, their NET ranking is 81 (up from 87 yesterday), while KenPom has them 71st in the country.

Providence has four games left on its schedule, and every one will be challenging. The Friars travel to UConn on Tuesday (2/16). The Huskies just received a big lift from the return of big man Akok Akok, who played well in a win over Xavier on Saturday. UConn may also get star guard James Bouknight back for that one (he went through warmups before Saturday’s game against Xavier). After that PC welcomes Xavier to Alumni Hall on 2/24, looking to avenge a buzzer-beating loss in Cincinnati earlier this year. The schedule concludes with a road game against red hot St. John’s, and a potentially huge home game versus Villanova to close out the regular season. Providence also has to be hoping to find a way to reschedule their cancelled home game against Georgetown at some point.

The rotation looks to be stabilized for Providence, and the defense has certainly looked better of late. Tuesday night is shaping up to be a huge game for both the Friars and Connecticut.




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