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Wichita State defeats Providence in Annapolis

The Friars had no answer for Markis McDuffie

NCAA Basketball: Wichita State at Providence Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After opening their season with a victory over the visiting Siena Saints Tuesday evening, the Providence Friars hit the road to Annapolis, Maryland, for the Armed Forces Classic against Gregg Marshall and the Wichita State Shockers.

While this isn’t a Wichita State team on the caliber of Marshall’s past few, the Shockers showed they still have a lot of talent, as they defeated the Friars by an 83-80 margin. Markis McDuffie led the way for the Shockers with a career-high 32 points. 20 of McDuffie’s 32 came in the second half, and he went 7-8 from the field in the second half, as well. The Friars had no answer for the senior guard.

Wichita State deserves credit for coming out and playing hard, especially coming off a season-opening home loss to Louisiana Tech, the Friars didn’t do themselves any favors, turning the ball over 17 times and going 13-26 (50%) from the free throw line. Whenever you lose a close game, looking to free throws can be a culprit, and it certainly was Friday in Annapolis.

Providence also had no answer in the first half for Wichita State’s three point shooting. The Shockers went into the locker room with a 44-39 lead thanks to their 7-10 performance from beyond the arc. The defense improved in the second half, but it has to be a bit concerning for Ed Cooley and the Friars that they’ve now struggled to get stops for the majority of their two games.

The Friars were not without bright spots Friday night though, starting with Alpha Diallo. The junior finished the evening with 27 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the year, and logged a team-high 36 minutes. There was a scary moment in the second half when Diallo hit the ground holding his wrist after a drive and had to be taken out of the game, but was subbed back in a minute later and showed no notable signs of distress.

AJ Reeves was impressive yet again, putting up 19 points on 7-10 shooting. Interestingly, Emmitt Holt didn’t see the court until the final three minutes of the game. He played six minutes in Tuesday’s opener as he continues to work his way back from an injury that cost him his entire 2017-18 season.

The Friars fall to 1-1 on the season and will return home to face Holy Cross on Tuesday evening.