It was a warm night in Providence, Rhode Island, especially for Ed Cooley’s Friars, who improved their record to 4-0, defeating the New Hampshire Wildcats, 69-58. The story of the game was a familiar one for the home team, with grad students Al Durham and Nate Watson leading the way, logging 19 and 17 points, respectively.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Friars, however, as the Wildcats came to play and certainly gave the Friars a run for their money. After overcoming a 12-point first half deficit, the Wildcats trimmed the Friars’ lead to a humble 3-points before going into halftime. The visitors then opened the second half by drilling three straight from deep. On the night, the Wildcats went 9-24 from beyond the arc and were led by Nick Guadarrama and Qon Murphy with 13 and 15 points, respectively.
For the Friars, Watson and Durham were the main act, assuming their usual roles as the team’s post-grad leaders. Watson continued his dominance from the previous outing, going a scorching 7-8 from the field. Durham continues to impress in the backcourt, playing aggressively downhill and making timely plays – including a shifty behind-the-back pass to Noah Horchler for a beautifully executed fast-break slam.
The Providence wings also had a productive night, with the aforementioned Horchler, and South Carolina transfer Justin Minaya, effectively cleaning the backboard and logging a combined 22 rebounds (Horchler 12, Minaya 10). For what it’s worth, New Hampshire only recorded 23 team rebounds. Horchler earned his second double-double of the season (10 points, 12 rebounds) and hit arguably the most important shot of the game: a late shot clock three, which padded the Friars’ lead late in the second half. Minaya was stout defensively off the bench, recording 8-points, in a team high thirty-three minutes of run. Sophomore guard, Alyn Breed, also produced twenty-one valuable defensive minutes, and added 6-points and 4 boards.
On the night, the Friars shot 55% from the field and grabbed 37 boards. The team still needs some work from the charity stripe however, only sinking 11 in 18 attempts – good for 61%. They’ll certainly have plenty of time to practice free-throws, with a well-deserved three-day break, before heading south to Newark for the Old Trapper Roman Legends Classic. The Friars close the second week of the 2021-2022 season at a healthy 4-0 and will look to continue their non-conference success against another Big Ten opponent in Northwestern on Monday night.