The injury plagued Friars met the Houston Cougars at Mohegan Sun on Wednesday night, and were relatively flat for a majority of this one. They made their way back into it late in the second half, but could never make it over the hump.
This one looked like a classic PC rock fight in the early going, as the two teams combined for 8/25 shooting through the first 8 minutes of play. Houston took advantage of Friar turnovers, while Providence used some inside scoring to pack their punch.
The injured Alpha Diallo entered the game for Ed Cooley with just over 10 minutes left in the half, much to the delight of Friar fans. He looked slightly tentative with the ball, as most players are when returning from injury.
Providence became stagnant on the offensive end, which resulted in Cooley inserting Kyron Cartwright into this one as well following his injury against Stony Brook. Regardless of performance and strength, it was certainly refreshing to see the Friars full lineup out there.
Despite the return of starters, Providence couldn’t find any offensive rhythm, and Houston went on a 13-2 run over a four minute span to give them a 9 point lead.
The Cougars had 10 points off 8 PC turnovers over the first 20 minutes. They also had 13 bench points compared to Providence’s 3. Houston led 31-23 after the first half. This was the Friars’ lowest point total for a half on the season.
The second frame began with Houston getting out to their first double-digit lead of the night, and then the Friars falling completely flat. Other than Rodney Bullock, Providence really had no other option to turn to on the offensive end. In the blink of an eye, the Cougars were up by 15, talking trash, and walking all over the Friars.
From here, Providence never stood a chance. Houston demolished the Friars on both ends of the floor for the next 5 minutes and it wasn’t even close. But then the Friars suddenly found a little burst of life.
Naturally led by Rodney Bullock, the Friars were able to cut the lead down to 10 with 4:50 remaining. From here, two Jackson free throws would make this a 62-54 game, which was able to wake up the Providence-heavy crowd. The chances were there, as Houston went on a five minute scoring drought, but the Friars were never able to get over the hump.
- Rodney Bullock had 24 points and 8 rebounds on 10/23 shooting. For a majority of this game, he was Providence’s lone producer.
- Jalen Lindsey was 3/6 from beyond the arc and finished with 11 on the night.
- The Cougars got 20 points from their bench while the Friars had just 5.
- Houston joined Providence in their struggles from the line, as each team shot below 70%.
- Rob Gray led Houston with 24 points in 31 minutes. Armoni Brooks had 12 points on four three pointers.
The Friars now regroup and look towards Sacred Heart on Friday night.