The Providence Friars and Georgetown Hoyas battled in Washington DC on Wednesday night. Just like their earlier matchup in Providence nearly a month ago this game had the feel of an old-school Big East battle. Georgetown got out to an early lead but Providence came storming back behind Kris Dunn. The game was tied at 38 until D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera buried a deep 3-pointer in the half's closing seconds to give Georgetown a 41-38 lead at the halfway mark. LaDontae Henton struggled shooting in the first half. Ed Cooley indicated to Andy Katz on Tuesday that Henton was dealing with a "nagging injury" and the Providence star certainly didn't look like himself for long stretches of this game.
The game had a wild last 5 minutes with Providence making a furious comeback with Dunn on the bench saddled with 4 fouls at the 10:31 mark. There was also a bizarre sequence where Kyron Cartwright fouled Jabril Trawick on a drive and then Carson Desrosiers went to block Trawick's shot attempt seemingly a split second after the whistle. The referees went to the monitor and somehow determined that Desrosiers should be charged with a deadball technical foul. Cooley did not react well to the news when referee Pat Driscoll spread the word. Providence was able to finish off the comback with contributions from Henton, Desrosiers, Ben Bentil and even Junior Lomomba. Josh Smith was held in check for much of the night and finished with 10 points before fouling out at the end of the game. Isaac Copeland and Paul White also had 10 points a piece, while Smith-Rivera finished with a game-high 21 points.
Here's what we learned:
1. Providence is a resilient bunch
Dunn was dealing with a sore back and Henton was struggling to make shots for large part of the game but Ed Cooley's group managed to gut out one of the more impressive road wins Providence has had in a long time. This was the first road win against a top 25 team since 2004 for the Friars. Getting help from unlikely sources has been something Cooley has managed to do on the road this season. Providence used their "toughness" lineup for most of the second half of their road win at Butler in early January and lineups including Junior Lomomba and Kyron Cartwright were when the Friars mounted their comeback in the second half.
2. Georgetown's freshmen sometimes play like freshmen
Despite having an impressive rookie campaign as a group Georgetown's freshmen class made some crucial errors towards the end of Wednesday's game against Providence. Most notably was Isaac Copeland's 2 turnovers at the end of the game that allowed Providence to take their final lead of the game. L.J. Peak played well at times in this game but finished the game 2/7 from the field with 5 points in 23 minutes. Copeland had 10 points but also had 4 turnovers. Paul White managed just 2 points to go along with 2 turnovers in 15 minutes of action. Tre Campbell was the only Hoya freshmen that had an overall good game with 10 points and 0 turnovers in 21 minutes.
3. The Big East is a meatgrinder
With Wednesday's results in the books the top 5 teams in the Big East are separated by just 2 games. Villanova is at the top at 7-2 with Providence and Butler now tied for 2nd with records of 7-3. Looking down the standings DePaul is in the 5th spot at 6-5. Another example of the Big East being tough is Creighton going on the road at Xavier and beating the Musketeers on Wednesday night. That marks Xavier's first home loss at the Cintas Center and Creighton's second Big East win.