The Friars are hanging tough against the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats after a half of play. They trail by just four, and held a lead for much of the first half.
A big reason for why PC has kept it close has been their shooting ability. While the juggernaut Wildcats are shooting only 41 percent from the field (9-22 FG) the Friars have shot 50 percent on 14 attempts. They've also converted 33.3 percent of six five 3-point attempts, and Kentucky goes into the half with no made 3-pointers. Free throw shooting has been a key for Ed Cooley's bunch as well, making 6-of-8 from the line.
Tyler Harris and Carson Desrosiers have been the best offensive players on the floor for Providence thus far. They've scored a combined 12 points -- six apiece -- and have also combined to shoot 50.0 percent on eight attempts. Kris Dunn added four points of his own, while stud LaDontae Henton was held to just three points after the first 20 minutes of action.
For Kentucky, Karl-Anthony Towns has led the way for the Wildcat offense. He's got seven points to go along with three rebounds, and has been a force inside. Willie Cauley-Stein has added five points of his own. It will be a necessity for Providence to keep these two bigs in check in the second frame. Elsewhere, Trey Lyles has a team-high four rebounds, and Tyler Ulis has been a defensive terror.
There have been just two lead changes in this game so far. Kentucky has been dominant inside, scoring 16 points in the paint to Providence's eight. Kentucky has the advantage in steals (5-1) as well as rebounds (13-12). Also, a mighty big reason why the Wildcats have fared so well has been their ability to capitalize on turnovers. They had 10 points off turnovers in the first half, while Providence had zero.
Kentucky is scoring one point per possession so far, while Providence has scored just .880. The Friars are committing turnovers at a 40.0 percent clip, while the Wildcats have kept good care of the basketball, only turning it over at a rate of 15.4 percent.
Enjoy the second half, and who knows? Maybe we'll see an upset.