PC Friars (1-1) 67 - Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) 72
Someone made this point on Twitter and I think that it holds very true to where to Providence Friars basketball program as whole stands today with Ed Cooley at the helm. We've gotten to a point, where a road loss to a power conference team is actually a bit of a disappointment. Cooley and the Friars have instilled a confidence in PC fans that has brought them to a point of belief that a game like last night's is a very winnable game...and it was. Imagine thinking like that just 5 years ago. Imagine thinking that about a freaking Keno Davis team. So, that's the silver lining of a game that could have went the Friars way but ultimately came down to a big first half from Ohio State Buckeye JaQuan Lyle at the same time that Emmitt Holt was glued to the bench with two first half fouls.
I understand the philosophy of some coaches to have a steadfast rule that if you pick up two fouls in the first half that you ultimately sit until the second half as to not pick up the dreaded three fouls before half of the game has been played, but I think that there should be exceptions to that rule based on how the game is going. Going into the half down double-digits is an extremely tough hole to put yourself in, especially on the road. It almost becomes a moot point if the player in foul trouble plays the entire second half because you have to come back from such a big deficit.
The Friars were able to claw their way back into striking distance but every single time that they got close, Ohio State was able to put together a little run to put Providence just out of reach once again. It was a combination of PC missing very makable shots and the Buckeyes converting on the other end. The Friars committed only 3 total turnovers for the entire game, which is INSANE, but ultimately only shot 35.4% from the field, thus shooting themselves out of a win. Rodney Bullock pulled himself up by the bootstraps and fully embraced the role of the Alpha Dog scorer in this one but the shots he was ultimately taking were extremely high difficulty shots and took a lot of energy to create. He finished with a game-high 27 points and 8 rebounds but it wasn't enough to pull Providence all the way back, ultimately losing by 5 to a much improved Ohio State team (but covering the spread).
- Rodney Bullock's 27 points were not only a game-high but also a career-high for the Junior from Hampton, Virginia. Bullock scored 25 on the road against Butler last year. It also took a career-high number of shots (20) for Bullock to ultimately get there in this one though.
- Rodney went 8-20 on the night, missing a few bunnies but making a couple of the harder, contested shots. I'd like to see more of his opportunities come in the flow of the offense rather than trying to put the entire team on his back and make so many individual one-on-one plays but I totally get his mentality as he had to pick up his offense with Emmitt Holt sidelined with foul trouble. Most of Bullock's damage came from behind the arc, finishing 5-9 from distance.
- Bullock also led the Friars in rebounds with 8.
- Bullock is now leading PC in both points per game (22.5) and rebounds per game (6.0).
- Rodney did have a really nice tip-in to close out the first half and send PC into the locker room with a little momentum.
- Kyron Cartwright continued his stellar distributing ways, handing out 8 assists while not committing a single turnover. Cartwright has an incredible 20 assists to just 2 turnovers on the season, good for a 10:1 assist to turnover ratio. Wow. Cooley said before the season that he wanted Cartwright to average 8 assists per game this year and they actually keep tabs on his total number of dimes throughout the game. Well, Kyron doesn't think 8 is enough apparently and is averaging 10 per game so far this season. His 10 asst/gm is currently first in the Nation.
- When Cartwright was off the floor, the offense really struggled to get into any kind of rhythm. Both of the Freshman ball handlers, Malik White and Alpha Diallo appeared very tentative as one might expect in the first true road game of their respective collegiate careers. I do think it's a good idea to get their feet wet in those situations but I'm not sure if I'm ready for the lineups that have them in the backcourt at the same time and no Kyron, at least not yet.
- In one sequence, Kyron displayed Ed Cooley's "carryover" effect from defense to offense, coming up with a great defensive block, around-the-back save from out of bounds, and then a clever backdoor cut on the other side of the court immediately after.
- I think both Kyron and I were thinking about a dunk on that backdoor cut but thought better of it in the end...
- Emmitt Holt struggled both with foul trouble and on the offensive end in his first trip back to Big Ten competition. Holt followed up a career-high 22 points against Vermont by shooting just 3-11 from the field. Holt is known as an efficient scorer but I think playing with the fouls may have stunted him on offense just a bit. He also missed a couple of shots that he'll make 95% of the time, including a dunk. Even while struggling from the floor, Holt was still second on the team in scoring with 11 points.
- I can't tell if Holt can actually shoot threes or not. He's certainly not afraid to attempt them but he is just 1-6 so far on the season. It's a very small sample size but the shots don't look all that fluid when he's taking them and it's not as if they're wide open looks. I'd like to see him operating closer to the basket unless they're uncontested shots from the outside. He didn't attempt a single three pointer in his year at Indiana, so it might just be that he's trying to work some extra range into his game and getting used to making threes a part of his game. I can almost guarantee you that he must be drilling them all the time in practice because Cooley doesn't seem to have a problem with his shot selection.
- Jalen Lindsey was cold from 3-point distance in this one including a wide open airball during a crucial part of the game. He still finished with double-digit points (10) but it wasn't pretty. I've always said this about Jalen, but I'll say it again. If his first three goes in, he's going to make a bunch. If his first three misses, he's going to struggle for the entire game.
- I really wish they would have switched Lindsey onto JaQuan Lyle a lot earlier then they did as he was torching the Providence defense in the first half. Lindsey is the best on-ball defender on the team after all.
- I really think Ryan Fazekas needs to see more minutes. He is the best outside threat on the team and really opens things up for both Holt down low and for Kyron to penetrate through the middle of a defense. The opposing defense has to know where Fazekas is at all times because of his ability to make threes. He has both a quick and very high release that makes his shot very hard to defend and incredibly hard to block.
- Fazekas went 2-5 from distance and is currently shooting 45.5% from three point range on the season. Before he went down with mononucleosis last year, he was 17-36 from three through the first 9 games. That's 47.2% for those keeping track at home. With the mono, Ryan sat out the next 6 games before slowly building up his minutes in the next few, all while losing 20 pounds from an already slender frame. He made a total of 17 threes over the next 19 games, the same amount that he made in less than half that many games before he got sick. Over the rest of the season, he was 17-63 (26.9%). His 3-point shooting percentage dropped by an astounding 20% after he came back from being sick. Through the first two games this year, he definitely looks like the early season Ryan Fazekas from last year.
- I think I actually forget to mention Isaiah Jackson in the recap for the first game, but I like the feel of the game that Jackson has. I was surprised (in a good way) that he took and made his first three of the season, but I was very encouraged by what I saw out of him throughout the game. He could be the Junior Lomomba of this year's team. The glue guy who can do a little bit of everything and you can count on to always make the right play. Also, not for nothing, but I love his hustle.
- Kalif Young, still a beast. That dude is BIG for a Freshman. He looked a lot more like a Freshman in this game than he did against Vermont, probably because the quality of big guy for Ohio State is higher than that of the Catamounts. He was still able to grab 5 rebounds in just 13 minutes of action. He's definitely very active when he's on the floor but offensively still looks a little raw so far. Once again though, that could just be the Freshman jitters for the first road game. I'm always looking to give these guys the benefit of the doubt so early in both the season and their college careers.
- As for those jersey, man those suckers are tight huh? They looked like tank tops.
- This was a very winnable game, but I can't be too upset losing to a potential NCAA tournament team on the road. A lot of the shots that didn't fall last night should fall in the future.
- The 3 total turnovers for Providence is still an insane number to see. That has to be a record for the Friars. They had 18 assists on 23 buckets and just 3 turnovers. You see those numbers and you probably expect to see a win for the Friars in any other game where they don't struggle so much from the field.
- JaQuan Lyle considered Providence in his recruiting and was ultimately the deciding factor in the game, pouring in 21 points on 7-11 shooting after scoring only 5 and 3 against NC Central and Navy in Ohio State's first two games.
- The size of OSU seemed to give Providence trouble as they were out-rebounded 43-33 in the game. Some of that has to do with the foul trouble with Holt.
Up Next, Providence is back home at The Dunk to take on Grambling State on Saturday at Noon. The game will air on FS2.