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Providence routs Merrimack after slow start, improves to 4-1

The Friars got double figure outputs from six different players.

NCAA Basketball: Siena at Providence Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Six double figure efforts from six different players powered the Providence Friars to victory Tuesday night. The Friars defeated the Merrimack Warriors 93-56 to improve to 4-1 on the young season.

It was tough sledding at first for the Friars though, as the Warriors got out in front early. They built a lead as big as 12 points after Jaleel Lord came in and hit a layup. They would hold that 12-point lead twice, which coincidentally came again on the ensuing Warrior possession on yet another layup by Lord.

But 14-0 run by the Friars in the ensuing few minutes would help give them their first lead of the game. Nate Watson, Emmitt Holt, Luwane Pipkins and Kalif Young were responsible for the 14 points scored, as this terrific quartet would help engineer a pretty monster comeback. Mikey Watkins of Merrmiack would knock down a 3-pointer to wrestle the lead back, and after Holt hit a jumper on the other end, Devin Jensen knocked down a 3-ball to wrestle the lead back in the Warriors’ favor.

But this would be the last time that the Friars would hold the lead. Pipkins went on a 5-0 run on his own to give Providence the lead, and while it thinned down to just one point, David Duke would hit a layup that was followed up by two free throws from Maliek White. The Friars would hold a five-point lead going into the break after a Pipkins triple with eight seconds to go.

The lead would just continue to swell and swell and swell some more. A 16-0 run from 13:25 to 10:08 would put the Friars out in front by 28 points. A 9-0 run later on from 4:52 to 3:33 would get them to a 35-point lead, and Tommy Dempsey’s 3-pointer int he final seconds would give them their 37-point margin of victory.

The Friars got an extremely balanced effort en route to their W. Six players got into double figures and eight picked up at least one made bucket. Pipkins led the team with 18 points, the most he’s had in a Friars uniform thus far. He also picked up eight assists, which were also the most he’s had in a Friar uni, and four boards, tied for his best mark this season with his four-rebound showing in the opener against the Sacred Heart Pioneers.

Trailing behind Pipkins was Maliek White, who had 15 points on the night, the most he’s had this season. Nate Watson had 14 points in his season debut, while Kalif Young scored 13, the most he’s scored in a game since the 16 he had against St. Francis (NY) all the way back on November 21, 2016. Emmitt Holt dropped 11, his second double-figure performance of the season. Finally, David Duke picked up 10 points, meaning that he’s gotten into double figures in each game this season.

A.J. Reeves battled back spasms and was able to drop six points on the night. Reeves played just 19 minutes, but was able to make a contribution nonetheless.

The Friars had some stirring performances from the field, as they shot 57.9 percent on 2-pointers and 47.1 percent on 3-pointers. Their FT shooting could’ve been better, as they were just 25-for-37 from the line, good for a mark of 67.6 percent. They still fwere significantly better than their adversaries, so they have that to lean on. But obviously there’s always room for improvement.

At 4-1, Providence will now turn their attention to the Penn Quakers, who come to town on Saturday.