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Providence triumphs over Iona, 91-79

The Friars bounce back into the win column.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Providence David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Alpha Diallo scored 23 points and A.J. Reeves put up 20 as the Providence Friars bounced back into the win column. Diallo and Reeves’ efforts on Saturday afternoon helped lift the Friars over the Iona Gaels of the MAAC to improve their record to 4-2 on the year.

Last we saw Providence, the Michigan Wolverines were making mince meat of them. The Friars took a 66-47 loss on the chin last Sunday, and after a six-day layover, they showed no real signs of rust. Providence shot the ball very well from all areas, going 53.3 percent on 2-pointers, 40.9 percent on 3-pointers and 80 percent at the FT line on 20 attempts. That’s certainly one way to bounce back.

Diallo had an all-around awesome game. His 23 points led both sides, and he shot 8-for-16 from the field. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line as well, and added nine rebounds, two assists and two steals to his line. The freshman Reeves meanwhile showed off his range, going 4-for-5 on 2-pointers and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. His four 3-pointers were a team-best on Saturday, as he had four of the aforementioned nine threes that were converted.

Joining Diallo and Reeves in double figures were Isaiah Jackson and Nate Watson. Jackson and Watson came off the bench to each score 13 points. Jackson shot an even 50 percent, making four of his eight shots from the field, splitting his 2-pointers and 3-pointers. Watson, meanwhile, went 4-for-5 on 2-pointers and then was 5-for-6 from the free throw line.

The game itself was pretty tight for the opening 10 minutes. Providence merely led 18-17 and actually trailed 15-12 at the 12:05 mark. But they went on a run, a 30-15 run to be specific, for the final 10 minutes of the first half to bring the lead to 48-32. Despite only scoring 19 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to Iona’s 23, the Friars were able to hold firm to their lead and led by as much as 19 in the early part of the second half.

The two sides were pretty evenly matched in most categories, but Iona’s inability to shoot the 3-ball doomed them. We noted that Providence shot 40.9 percent from deep. The Gaels, meanwhile, shot just 30 percent, making just six of their 20 3-point attempts. When you look at the stat sheet, and you see that they shot 62.2 percent on 2-pointers and 83.3 precent on their 18 free throw attempts, a couple of made 3’s here and there could’ve put Iona in a better spot. Unfortunately for Tim Cluess’ bunch, that was not the case.

The Friars will look to string together two wins in a row when they host the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights this Tuesday. That will serve as their ‘tune up’ game for the big matchup against the Rhode Island Rams in Friartown next Saturday.