UPDATED: PC Holds Off St. John’s 61-57 to Keep NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive
Sunday, March 04, 2018
Providence College Friars men’s basketball team kept its NCAA Tournament hopes intact on Saturday, beating the St. John’s Red Storm 61-57 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
“We found a way to win coming off a tough Xavier loss. I thought we were really gritty against Xavier, I thought the turnovers hurt us, I thought the turnovers today hurt us a little bit, but we were able to hold on,” said Providence head coach Ed Cooley in his post-game press conference.
The win improves the Friars to 19-12 overall and 10-8 in the Big East Conference.
As of Saturday, March 3, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has PC as one of the last four teams into the NCAA Tournament.
Friars Hold on
The Friars took a 12 point lead, 48-36, with 8:26 to play in the game before St. John’s would rally.
The Red Storm would go on an 11-2 run to cut Providence’s lead to 50-47 following a dunk by Justin Simon with 3:30 to play in the game.
Providence still led by that score with 1:35 left to go when Kyron Cartwright knocked down a straightaway three to push PC’s lead back to six, 53-47 with1:35 to play in the game.
St. John’s would get back within five on two different occasions in the final minute before the Friars would seal the game at the free throw line.
PC was led by Rodney Bullock and Alpha Diallo, who each poured in 13 points, while Cartwright added ten.
Sloppy First Half
Trailing 16-15 with five minutes left in the half, the Friars went on a 6-0 run capped off by a Diallo layup to take a 21-16 lead with 3:56 to play.
The Red Storm would come right back, getting a three from Marvin Clark II and a layup by Bashir Ahmed to tie the game at 21 with just over three minutes left in the half.
After PC pushed the lead to 25-21, St. John’s would come back to tie it on a tip-in by Tariq Owens with 54 seconds to go.
Bullock knocked down one of two free throws with five seconds left to give the Friars a 26-25 lead at the half.
Providence had the lead at the half despite not connecting on one three and turning the ball over ten times.
The Friars will play Creighton in the quarterfinal round of the Big East Tournament on Thursday.
Game time is set for 2:30 p.m.
Related Slideshow: Providence College Basketball 2017-18 Projected Starting Lineup
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kalif Young - Sophomore
"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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