A week after Butler beat Providence, the Friars returned the favor in dominating fashion. Roaring out to a 35-18 lead by halftime, Providence never let Butler diminish the lead to single digits in the second half, ultimately winning by a final score of 71-55.
After settling for a lot of jump shots in last week’s matchup, the Friars came out much more aggressive. They only put up 13 three pointers, but bullied the Bulldogs inside the arc. David Duke had his best game of what’s already been a stellar season, scoring 22 points on 9-11 shooting. Duke also pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out eight assists.
While Duke did his thing on offense, the whole Providence squad showed off on defense, suffocating Butler in the halfcourt. The Dawgs only had eight turnovers but still managed just 55 points, shooting 34.4% from the field. They weren’t able to get anything consistent on offense and didn’t score consecutive buckets until late in the second half.
This was a big win for the Friars who looked shaky in the loss against Butler and in a double overtime win against DePaul. While Duke was the game’s MVP, he was far from the only Friar to perform well. Nate Watson scored 18 and A.J. Reeves was a nice third option, shooting 4-5 from beyond the arc. Providence will take confidence into their Saturday showdown with Creighton.
Providence: Playing Providence basketball
In its last matchup against Butler, Providence let the Bulldogs dictate the way they played. Butler pulled its defense in, at times employing a zone, forcing the Friars to settle for many jump shots. In this game, Providence played like the defense wasn’t even there, aggressively taking it inside and dominating the paint. The Friars, as always, are great at what they do. They need to continue to impose their will on opponents, especially against Creighton.
Butler: Hurting for Thompson
Over the last several weeks, it’s been hard to talk about the Dawgs without noting the missing Aaron Thompson. His absence was never more apparent than in this one. The Bulldogs couldn’t get anything going offensively. There was a lot of passing around the arc and aimless dribbling. While Myles Tate and Chuck Harris both have the ability to drive, neither yet has the ability to facilitate for others like Thompson does. The development for the freshmen has been great, but Coach LaVall Jordan won’t know what kind of team he has until Thompson returns.
Butler plays Seton Hall on Saturday, January 2 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Providence hosts Creighton on Saturday, January 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET.