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Providence takes down Butler, 70-60

The Friars get their third straight conference win.

NCAA Basketball: Butler at Providence Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Providence got a huge win at home on Monday afternoon, defeating the Butler Bulldogs by a final score of 70-60.

Butler came into this one averaging 87.7 points per game while shooting 49% from the floor. Providence was going to need a solid defensive effort to combat Kelan Martin and the bunch, and they were able to do just that.

The Friars used a great second half to take down the Bulldogs and improve to 13-6. Butler falls to 13-7.

First Half

Both teams came out of the gate shooting well, but the Bulldog’s 83% clip over the first five minutes was thanks to their ability to get to the rim. They started off the afternoon with three layups followed by a Paul Jorgensen three pointer. Butler was able to do whatever they wanted on the offensive end in the early going.

Providence shot 38% over the first 10 minutes, but was able to hang around as the Bulldogs cooled off. The Friars decided to run small five minutes into the game, opting to have Rodney Bullock at the five and Makai Ashton-Langford playing the role of second point guard. This didn’t last very long however, as Providence went on a four minute scoring drought to bolster a 9-0 Butler run.

The Friars answered the bell once their starters came back into game with a 6-0 to get them within five. Butler’s offense quickly woke up to extend their lead back to ten.

Both teams went cold from that point on, but it was Jalen Lindsey who was able to lift the Friars out of dangerous territory with two late threes that spurred an 8-2 Providence run. Butler led 29-25 heading into the half.

Providence shot 33% for the half, but the Bulldogs closed out the frame by going 1-8 to land them at 38%. Kelan Martin finished the half with just 4 points on 2/7 shooting. Kyron Cartwright and Alpha Diallo were a combined 1/12 in the first 20 minutes.

Second Half

Diallo started with two straight buckets, the second of the and-one variety, followed by a Cartwright layup, and suddenly the Providence had the lead. Cartwright followed that up with two more field goals for a 13-2 run.

It was clear that Diallo and Cartwright would have to wake up if the Friars wanted to get their offense into gear, and 7 straight points from the senior point guard was definitely an applicable solution. Providence began the second half 6/6 from the field to take a 40-33 lead. This was quite the step up after shooting just 33% in the first half.

Ed Cooley rode with his starters until the 12:07 mark of the first half when Isaiah Jackson entered the game. The opening 8 minutes were a welcomed sign of consistency for a Providence team that’s been in search of just that.

This game started to get a little chippy around the midway point of the second half. Martin and Jalen Lindsey (both heavily recruited by Providence) were chirping back and forth after back-to-back whistles. The Bulldog’s 89% free throw shooting then stepped up and missed two in a row leading to a Bullock slam.

But the Bulldogs weren’t dead yet. PC turnovers and Butler’s ramped up defensive effort contributed to this one getting tight down the stretch. With 7 minutes remaining, the Friars led by 5.

Both teams went on 2 minute scoring droughts, while Butler entered the final two minutes shooting just 1 of their last 8. They would push back, but couldn’t get the stops they needed, as Providence shot 73% in the final 20 minutes.

Game Notes

  • Kalif Young got the start for the Friars on Monday. Nate Watson has been dealing with the flu since Friday, so this is likely the source of his limited playing time.
  • Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens were both at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center sporting Butler gear. They sat behind the Bulldogs’ bench.
  • Celtics’ President and PC alum Rich Gotham was also on hand alongside three Boston scouts.
  • Final attendance today at the Dunk was 12,407. The student section was filled with the second semester beginning tomorrow, and it was definitely a difference maker in this one.
  • Kyron Cartwright led the way for Providence with 18 points and 11 assists. He had just 2 points in the first half. Jalen Lindsey had 13 and Rodney Bullock finished with 12 and 8. Diallo finished with 10.
  • Kamar Baldwin was tremendous for Butler, finishing with 25 points. Tyler Wideman was their second leading scorer with 8. Kelan Martin finished with 6 points on 3/14 shooting.