The Friars were able to pull of a pivotal win at home in front of the most energetic and lively atmosphere I have seen at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in a long time. Although the Friars jumped to a double digit lead early in the first half, the Musketeers hovered around a ten point deficit for most of the game until there was two minutes left in the second half. The Friars had three offensive turnovers in a row and Xavier scored seven points in less than thirty seconds. LaDonate Henton made a clutch and-one and the Friars were able to win the game in overtime. If the Friars didn't win, it would have been the meltdown of the year, but Providence were able to win the game in an impressive overtime performance.
Here are three things we learned.
The Friars need to execute in crunch time
As I said above, the Friars had three consecutive turnovers to let Xavier back in the game. How in the world could the Friars let that happen? That;s just absolutely unacceptable and the players should be held accountable for almost, literally, throwing away the game. There was also the time out called with more than enough time to win the game before heading into overtime. I assume that Ed Cooley was going to run a useful play, but instead the result was a three for Carson Desrosiers. That is, literally, the worst shot for the Friars with the game on the line. I can count how many threes he has made this year on one hand, so how could that be the best option for Providence to win the game? The Friars need to execute in the clutch to prevent that situation from ever happening again.
Tyler Harris is not ready to enter the NBA
It has been reported that Tyler Harris is planning to leave Providence after this season to enter the NBA Draft. I was wondering how he would stack up in a summer league or D-League game, and Thursday night was a reminder of why he should stay in school. Tyler is not athletic enough to compete with second round picks, and is not quick enough to get to the hoop against NBA caliber defenders. I also realized that Tyler is staring to limit himself as an outside shooter. Tyler is at his best when he is attacking the rim and his jump shot does not have enough arc to be considered a quality three point shooter. I hope Tyler reconsiders staying at Providence another year so he can get better and graduate. I know thats a tough pill for Tyler to swallow, but that would definitely be the best option for him in the long run.
Kris Dunn has the most potential of any Friar in decades
At the beginning of the year, anyone could tell Dunn was a little rusty and for good reason. He had hardly played any games for Providence in two years. He has really developed into one of, if not the best player, in the conference. I have been waiting to see him fully develop, but when you see him play up close it shows how special he is from everyone else on the court. He has fantastic size, freakish athleticism, and fantastic passing ability that is very rare to see from a junior in college. I was finally convinced after the Xavier game that if he has a fantastic season next year, there is no reason why I can't see him going in the lottery. He's just a special player, and his 20 point performance against Xavier is just a stepping stone in Kris's legacy he will leave at Providence.