Villanova entered the Finn today following their first conference loss, and they were tasked with beating a hungry Providence Friars team. Beat them, they did.
Seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall have been electric since conference play started. Paschall had 20 of his 25 points in the second half. Phil Booth poured in another 22 points. A little over 50% of the points for Villanova this game.
While Villanova didn’t score on their first possession, Saddiq Bey showed incredible motor, securing two offense rebounds early, just outworking the Friars on the glass. Gillespie was fouled shooting a three by AJ Reeves on the next possession, making all of them. Early on, the game was tight, going back and forth in the opening 10 minutes. David Duke received a technical rather early, forcing the load to be carried by Reeves and Alpha Diallo. Through the last 10 minutes, Villanova held about a 5 point lead.
The second half opened up tightly contested too. Nate Watson, who led the Friars in scoring with 18 points, opened up the second half with a jumper of his own, keeping the Villanova lead to under 10 for most of the second half. However, Villanova just stayed hot the entire game. Key contributions from Dhamir Cosby Roundtree off the bench, Eric Paschall and Gillespie on the defensive end is what ended the chance for a Friar Victory.
Providence will look to bounce back this week vs Xavier, while Villanova will travel to Madison Square Garden to take on St. John’s.