This Thursday, the 3-0 Providence Friars will play host to the 1-1 New Hampshire Wildcats. This matchup comes on the heels of a gritty road victory for the host and a tough road loss for the visitor, with the Friars having beaten Wisconsin 63-58 in Madison, and the Wildcats having fallen to Marquette, 75-70 in Milwaukee.
For the Friars, the name of the game is Nate Watson. The sixth-year big man has been nothing short of dominant this season, averaging 20 points a game, while shooting at a 71% clip. Watson had arguably one of the strongest performances of his career on Monday, recording 24 points on a crisp 11-15 shooting. Wisconsin’s young frontcourt had no real answer for the veteran center. Alongside Watson, fifth-year forward Noah Horchler should bounce back after a low-scoring outing, to assist Watson with some of the load offensively down low.
In the backcourt, look out for Al Durham who continues to improve as the Friars’ combo-guard replacement for David Duke. Durham hit a pair of back breaking three’s late in the shot clock to essentially seal the game for the Friars against Wisconsin in the second half. The fifth-year graduate transfer out of Indiana continues to serve as a valuable addition for this Friars team, having scored in double figures in each of the team’s three outings.
For the Wildcats, Nick Guadarrama and Jayden Martinez are the dynamic duo on the wing and in the frontcourt. Guadarrama logged a hefty thirty-three minutes in the Wildcats’ outing against Marquette, recording 15 points while going 4-7 from deep. Martinez on the other hand is a steady force in the frontcourt, having pulled down 8 boards against the Golden Eagles, while recording 21 points and shooting 50% from deep. Qon Murphy also added in a double figure performance off the bench, recording 10 points in twenty-four minutes of run.
This is a pesky New Hampshire squad that’s looking to make some noise in its second consecutive road game against an undefeated BIG EAST opponent. The Friars should anticipate a tough, fast-paced game when the Wildcats arrive at the doorstep of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Thursday evening.
After narrowly edging Fairfield by only 7 points on their home floor, followed by allowing Sacred Heart to sink 12 three pointers less than forty-eight hours later (on the same floor, mind you), the Friars should prioritize locking down the perimeter. This is a Wildcats team that went 12-27 from deep against a Marquette defense that held tenth-ranked Illinois to just sixty-six points in Monday night’s upset. Ed Cooley’s squad needs to come prepared with a defense-first mindset if they want to keep their perfect record untarnished in non-conference play.
The Friars will host the Wildcats at 6:30PM on Thursday, November 18th. Tune in to FS2 to catch the game, or you can stream the game on FOX Sports Go.