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Providence escapes Brown 77-72 in overtime

The Friars avoided disaster against their crosstown rival to improve to 7-2.

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

Providence seemed to be suffering from a URI hangover on Wednesday night, as they narrowly escaped the Brown Bears by a score of 77-72, needing overtime to do so.

Makai Ashton-Langford got his first career start tonight, filling in for Kyron Cartwright who was dealing with a “sore ankle”. He would make his superman-like appearance into the game with 9 minutes remaining in the second half.

First Half

Brown came out firing in the early going, opening 9-11 from the field compared to the Friars’ 5-15. Combine these numbers with Ashton-Langford and Alpha Diallo grabbing two fouls apiece in the first nine minutes and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Maliek White came in early with Ashton-Langford in foul trouble and really provided an energy boost for a Friar team that came out of the gate very flat. White had 10 points and 5 rebounds in a night that was shortened due to injury. Providence was relatively stagnant on offense in the first half (and more), relying on offensive rebounds early to provide their scoring punch against the small Bears’ lineup.

Cooley gambled and inserted Ashton-Langford and Diallo back into the game with just under five minutes to go, but Diallo would immediately pick up his third foul.

The Friars cut the lead to 3, but Brown was able to answer and push their lead back to 10 with 3 minutes remaining in the opening frame. Providence couldn’t find an answer, clearly missing their starting point guard, and found themselves trailing 40-28 going into halftime.

Providence also showed an inability to get the ball inside against Brown, who outscored the Friars in the paint 16-10 over the first 20 minutes.

Second Half

Ed Cooley opted to go small to begin the second half, running a lineup with White instead of Kalif Young. After an initial back and forth five minutes, the Friars had the deficit at 8, and fell into a full court man-to-man defense, which provided some signs of life from the home squad.

Providence was managing to get stops on the defensive end, but it took until around the 12 minute mark for them to turn those into points. The Friars would start clicking however, as they went on an 8-0 run near the midway point, which was part of a 17-5 stretch in favor of PC.

After the injury to White (see game notes), Kyron Cartwright checked in with 9:38 left in the game, as the Bears led by 1.

Providence grabbed their first lead of the night with 8:20 remaining, but they would remain tight with their crosstown opponent, trading field goals down to the final minute.

The Friars led by 1 with a minute remaining. After a missed Brandon Anderson free throw, PC answered with a Jalen Lindsey three to put them up 67-63, their largest lead of the night to that point.

A three point play from Tamenang Choh allowed the Bears to tie it with 15.6 left. Lindsey would get a good look at the other end, but couldn’t convert.

Free Basketball

The back and forth play continued into extra time, but an Ashton-Langford bucket (highlight in game notes) put the Friars up with 2:51 left. Two free throws would give Providence a 3 point cushion. Brown would cut it to one, but that’s as close as they would get.

Game Notes

  • With just over 11 minutes remaining in the game, Maliek White went down with a non-contact knee injury. He was helped off and went straight to the locker room. White did return to the bench, sporting some ice on his left knee.
  • Alpha Diallo would also exit the game due to injury with 1:33 left. It appeared to be an ankle injury as he limped back to the bench. He would head to the locker room before the beginning of OT.
  • Rodney Bullock led the Friars with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
  • Here’s the MAL bucket that gave Providence the lead in OT:
  • The Friars went 20-30 from the line tonight after their disastrous free throw numbers on Saturday against URI.
  • Continuing to track the Friar frontcourt, Watson and Young combined for 6 rebounds against a small Bears’ lineup.

The Friars travel to Amherst and take on UMASS this Saturday.