Ed Cooley remains unbeaten in season openers after Friday night’s blowout win for the Providence Friars. The Friars, who hosted the Houston Baptist Huskies in venerable Alumni Hall, took it to their opponents from the Southland Conference, winning 84-55.
Cooley is now 7-0 in openers, and the Friars still haven’t lost an opener since falling 70-66 to the Northeastern Huskies on November 15, 2008.
The win sets Providence up for a pivotal Gavitt Games matchup next time they take the floor. This coming Monday, they’ll welcome the 15th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers to Friartown. The Dunk is sure to be rockin’ when that matchup goes down.
What We Learned
The Friars can win with heavy balance
No one in particular stood out in Providence’s victory as far as points scored. That’s okay, too. Eight players who took the floor scored at least seven points. Four hit double figures, as Kalif Young and Kyron Cartwright each had 10 while Maliek White and Isaiah Jackson recorded 11. Freshmen hopefuls Makai Ashton-Langford and Nate Watson put up eight and nine respectively. Rodney Bullock racked up seven and Alpha Diallo had eight. With Emmitt Holt sidelined with an abdominal injury, these types of performances are likely what we should expect going forward. And as proven on Friday, it’s enough to get them wins.
Kyron Cartwright is off to a hot start
The capable Cartwright started his 2017-18 campaign with a double-double, recording 10 points while dishing out 10 assists. The senior point man from Compton also grabbed four rebounds and one steal while having just two turnovers in 28 minutes.
He showed exactly why he is one of the best point guards in the Big East and one of the most underlooked in the entire nation, too.
Providence frustrated Josh Ibarra, which is a good sign
Going into the game, Josh Ibarra figured to be the focal point of Houston Baptist’s offense. The Preseason All-Southland Second Teamer presented a matchup nightmare for a Friars team that lacks length (and experienced length, at that). By night’s end, Ibarra had a solid night, but not one that he may’ve expected to have. The Friars held him to eight points and five boards in 26 minutes. More importantly, they forced him to turn the ball over six times and got him into foul trouble, as he finished the game with four personals. Providence will have to face a hearty amount of big men in the Big East. Friday night’s performance against one of the better ones in the country should be a confidence boost, and hopefully for their sake, a sign of things to come.