PC Loses Big East Championship Heartbreaker, Falls 76-66 To Villanova

Sunday, March 11, 2018


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Kyron Cartwright

The Providence College Friars suffered a heartbreaking 76-66 overtime loss to Villanova in the Big East Championship game on Saturday night at New York City's Madison Square Garden. 

Providence is now 2-1 all-time in Big East Championship games. 

"I saw Kyron [Cartwright] grow up more. I saw [Alpha] Diallo grow up. I saw Nate Watson grow up. I saw some guys come together at the right time and hopefully next week we can continue to play that way," said PC head coach Ed Cooley in his post-game press conference. 

The Friars will now wait to see where they are seeded in the NCAA Tournament. 

Friars Fall in OT 

The Friars trailed 65-64 in the overtime period when Villanova’s Donte DiVencenzo grabbed an offensive rebound and found Mikal Bridges for a three to put the Wildcats up 68-64 with 2:17 to play.

Villanova grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the game, and outrebounded the Friars 41-36 overall. 

The Friars cut the lead to two, 68-66, but Villanova’s Jalen Brunson converted a jump shot to push Villanova’s lead back up to four, 70-66, with 1:18 to play.

The Friars would not score the rest of the way as Villanova would go on to win 76-66.

Providence was led by Alpha Diallo who poured in 22 points, while Kyron Cartwright followed up with 19 points.

Friars Rally in 2nd Half

Providence trailed by as much as 12 points, 43-31, in the second half before rallying to take their first lead of the game, 52-51, on a three-point play by Drew Edwards.

Villanova would score the next five points capped off by a Bridges three off of an offensive rebound to take a 56-52 lead with 5:36 to play.

Providence would rally to take a 60-58 lead with 41 seconds left in the game.

However, Villanova would tie the game on two free throws by  Brunson with 30 seconds left after a foul was called on Diallo. 

Providence had the final possession of regulation, but a Cartwright jump shot just missed, sending the game to overtime.

"If you told me in September we'd be playing in this game with the ball to win a postseason championship, I'd sign up for it. We got the shot we wanted in regulation," said Cooley. 


Related Slideshow: Providence College Basketball 2017-18 Projected Starting Lineup

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Kyron Cartwright -  Senior 

Kyron Cartwright was ranked as the sixth-best guard in the country and the second-best guard in the Big East by CBS Sports. 

He was also named to the preseason All-Big East second team at Big East media day. 

"Kyron is the fastest player in the Big East, he can distribute the ball, he was 4th in the league in assists last season, so he can make things happen," said Hassett. 

In 2016-17, Cartwright averaged 11.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in the regular season helping the Friars to a third-place finish in the conference. 

He finished the season ranked fourth in the country and first in the Big East with 6.7 assists per game. 

Coming into this season, Cartwright is tied with John Linehan with 450 career assists. He has a chance to climb as high as second all-time and pass Ernie DeGregorio who recorded 662 career assists. 

Vincent Council is number one with 725 career assists. 

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Alpha Diallo - Sophomore 

Alpha Diallo will look to build off a freshman season in which he started 16 games for the Friars.

He averaged 5.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and one steal in 21 minutes of action per game. At the end of the year, the team named him the Marvin Barnes Defensive Player of the Year. 

Diallo started his freshman season coming off the bench and playing inconsistent minutes through the first eight games. 

By PC's fifth Big East Conference game, he was in the starting lineup and would stay there. 

Diallo finished the season reaching double figures in five of the Friars final 12 games, including 18 points against both Villanova and St. John's. 

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Jalen Lindsey - Senior

Jalen Lindsey has missed the entire preseason with a knee injury. 

Lindsey returned to practice on Wednesday and will be a game-time decision for Friday, according to Cooley. 

If Lindsey can't go, senior Isaiah Jackson will take his place in the starting lineup. 

Last season with PC, Lindsey averaged 10.4 points, four rebounds and one steal in 31 minutes of action per game. 

He also shot 46% from three. 

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Rodney Bullock - Senior 

Rodney Bullock returns to the Friars this season after testing the NBA Draft waters last March, before pulling his name out. 

Prior to the start of this season, Bullock was named second-team all-Big East. 

"With Rodney Bullock, he has to be consistent. He has to come out and give it to you every night. With this team, there is no reason why he shouldn't average 17 points and get 8-10 rebounds per game. He has to be more aggressive on both ends of the floor," said Hassett. 

In 2016-17, Bullock led Providence in scoring and rebounding with an average of 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. 

He also led PC with five double-doubles on the year and scored at least 20 points in nine games, including a career-high 36 points against New Hampshire. 

In PC’s NCAA Tournament game against USC, Bullock poured in 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. 

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Kalif Young - Sophomore

Forward Emmitt Holt remains out with abdominal issues and is not even on campus,

"The Holt injury is a major problem. He is the toughest player on the team, the best rebounder, and a post up guy that they don’t have. He is also good outside guy that can stretch the defense. Plus, you lose the experience," said Hassett. 

Holt's absence means 6'9" sophomore Kalif Young will open the season at center.  

"He has a tremendous opportunity now with Holt gone to get more minutes then he would have gotten. The reliance on him now is bigger. With Emmitt out there he didn’t have to play important minutes, now he has to play important minutes," said Hassett. 

In his freshman season with the Friars, Young averaged 3.2 points, 3.2 rebounds 0.5 blocked shots in 13 minutes of action per game. 


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