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Providence defeats Northwestern, advances to Legends Classic Championship

Friars notch 1,500th win in school history

NCAA Basketball: Legends Classic Semifinal-Providence at Northwestern Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On the scouting report, it was the Northwestern Wildcats (4-1) that were a threat passing the ball. But Monday night, it was a Providence’s Jared Bynum who had a pass that stole the show.

The Providence Friars (5-0) clinched their 1,500th victory in school history against Northwestern. Early in the second half, Bynum found Nate Watson behind the Northwestern defense and Watson slammed it home. The acrobatic play from the center was the cherry on top of his 16-point performance.

Watson drew attention all night long, at one point facing four defenders on one play. With the focus on him, Providence’s shooters stepped up. The Friars hit 14 3-pointers, the team’s highest mark since the season opener against Sacred Heart in 2019. They found the holes in Northwestern’s zone and capitalized all night long. Leading the perimeter attack was Brycen Goodine, the Syracuse transfer in his second year in Providence. Goodine scored a career-high 12 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc off the bench. Starters Jared Bynum and Noah Horchler each splashed three shots from deep, with Bynum starting the game off hot and Horchler finishing strong with two late threes. Bynum scored 15 points, a new high for him in a Friars uniform.

Northwestern surged late, cutting an 18-point deficit to five with under a minute to play behind 23 points from Boo Buie and 20 from Pete Nance. The comeback bid was too little, too late, as Providence’s Al Durham went 8-8 from the free throw line in the second half to keep the Wildcats at bay.

With the win, Providence advanced to the Roman Legends Classic Championship against Virginia. These teams last met in 2016, with Virginia defeating the Friars 63-52. Providence head coach Ed Cooley would reach 200 career wins with the Friars with a victory Tuesday night, and a 6-0 start would tie the team’s best start under their head coach.