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Providence sneaks by Rider 88-84

The Friars improve to 6-1.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Providence Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Providence defeated Rider on Wednesday night by a score of 88-84. Tonight was another game where offensive efficiency managed to hide rebounding deficiencies in the early going, but once again, Cooley’s bunch came out with a W. This one was much closer than expected, as Rider’s second half energy seemed to baffle Providence.

First Half

The Friars started off hot from beyond the arc, opening up 3-3. Thanks to some sloppy play on both sides, the game was still close early on despite Providence’s sharp shooting. The Broncs found ways to score in transition off Friar turnovers, which kept them in it.

The storyline of offensive rebounds continued in the first frame, as Rider grabbed 7 offensive boards compared to PC’s 1 over the first ten minutes. It was a similar start to Saturday’s game vs Boston College, as good shooting was there to bail out the issues on the glass.

Providence picked up the pace in the final seven minutes of the half, pushing the game to the brink of being broken open. Cooley went small, running a lineup that included Kyron Cartwright, Makai Ashton-Langford, and Maliek White. The ball movement immediately improved, and the Friars jumped out to a 13-2 run in less than 3 minutes to give them a 14 point cushion. PC shot 45% (5-11 3FG) in the first half and would lead 41-31 at the midway point.

Second Half

Rider cut the PC lead to 3, just five minutes into the second frame thanks to 4 Providence turnovers. The deficit would remain in single digits until the 10 minute mark, when a Jordan Allen three put the Broncs ahead by one. Riders confidence was, as Jon Rothstein would say, palpable.

The remainder of the game would be a back and forth battle, but some would say the turning point came with 4:43 left, when Rider Head Coach Kevin Baggett was issued a technical foul followed by Tyere Marshall fouling out a little less than a minute later. Marshall would finish with 16 points and 7 rebounds.

From here on out, Providence would extend the lead thanks to a 9-0 run over the next 2 minutes, but Rider wouldn’t go away, cutting it to 1 with 27 seconds left. Maliek White would hit 2 free throws to put the Friars back up 84-81, and Providence go on to survive.

Game Notes

  • Rodney Bullock led the Friars tonight with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Friar fans will be happy to see that line going into Saturday’s rivalry game vs URI.
  • Cooley continues to look for more production on the glass from Kalif Young and Nate Watson. The two big men combined for 3 rebounds tonight. Not ideal.
  • Alpha Diallo led PC on the glass with 13 rebounds (7 offensive). Nice to see the sophomore playing strong underneath, but concerning that a 6-7 wing is your leading rebounder. Providence will look to correct that before Big East play. Diallo would also add 13 points.
  • As for the Friar backcourt, Cartwright would finish with 14 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, while Ashton-Langford contributed 10 points.
  • Boxing legend Evander Holyfield was on hand to watch tonight’s game. Providence certainly could’ve used him on the block.

The Friars now look towards their in-state rival URI for the annual Ocean State showdown this Saturday at the Ryan Center at 5 PM.