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Providence Friars suffer first loss of season to Ohio State Buckeyes

Rodney Bullock was outstanding, but Providence’s first half deficit was too much to overcome.

NCAA Womens Basketball: South Carolina at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Gavitt Games were named after former Providence basketball coach Dave Gavitt, but the Friars were unable to squeak out a victory in this season’s event.

Ohio State defeated Providence on Thursday by a final score of 72-67. The Buckeyes move to 3-0 on the season, tied for the best record in the Big 10. Providence moves to 1-1 and are now the only Big East team besides Georgetown to suffer a loss this season. The Big East conference still leads the Gavitt Games 3-2.

JaQuan Lyle was fantastic for Ohio State, as he had 21 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Lyle shot 7-11 from the field as well as 2-4 from three. 15 of his 21 points came in the first half. Jae’Sean Tate also had a solid performance scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds.

Despite the loss, Rodney Bullock had a career day for the Friars. He scored a career-high 27 points, shooting 8-20 from the field, 5-9 from deep, and 6-8 from the charity stripe. Bullock also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots. After his phenomenal game on Monday, Emmitt Holt struggled, as he was held without a point in the first half and finished with 11 shooting just 3-11.

The first ten minutes of the game were a close battle, but Ohio State went on a 9-0 run to jump out to a 25-17 lead with 5:41 left in the first period. The Buckeyes closed out the half strong and took a 38-28 lead heading into the break. Bullock had a tip-in basket with just one second remaining in the half to cut the halftime deficit to 10 points.

Both teams went on many runs in the second half. The Friars went on a 7-0 run early in the half and a 9-0 run around the 12-minute mark in the second half to cut the deficit to one point, but the Buckeyes responded with a 9-0 run of their own to extend their lead to 10 points again. Once that run was over, Providence went on another 9-2 run to bring the deficit to three, but once again, the Buckeyes responded. Ohio State went on a 6-1 run, and their 69-62 lead with 1:15 left was too much to overcome, leading to the victory.

Three Things We Learned

Rebounding will be an issue for the Friars

Providence’s roster lacks size, and it shows in their rebounding numbers. Providence was killed on the boards tonight, as Ohio State out-rebounded the Friars 43-33. Providence did out-rebound Vermont 33-30 on Monday, but Providence made 49% of their shots compared to Vermont’s 42%. Most of the players Providence will count on to get rebounds can also stretch the floor, such as Rodney Bullock and Emmitt Holt. Bullock led the Friars tonight with eight boards, while Holt, Jalen Lindsey, and Kalif Young each finished with five.

Providence will rely heavily on the three-ball

Just about every player on the floor can hit a three-pointer for Providence most of the time, and they have chucked up a ton of shots from deep through their first two games. Providence shot a total of 26 threes today, making just 10 of them. In comparison, Ohio State made four of their 12 attempts. Providence shot 23 threes on Monday. While Bullock led the way with five tonight, Jalen Lindsey and Ryan Fazekas each hit a pair, and Isaiah Jackson got one to go.

Rodney Bullock can carry this team

While Rodney Bullock was Providence’s third option just a season ago, he has shown in these two games that he has what it takes to carry Ed Cooley’s team. Bullock showed that he can score in various ways, and that is something the Friars will need if they want to make a deep run this season.