Chestnut Hill, MA – The Providence College Friars survived overtime and held off the Boston College Eagles for an important non-conference victory 100-95 in front of packed house at the Conte Forum. The game was very competitive throughout and included several highlights, none bigger than the Friars’ A.J. Reeves’ game-tying triple with 2.6 seconds left in regulation.
In the end the Friars defensive approach made a huge difference as they held BC’s Ky Bowman and Wynston Tabbs to relatively forgetful shooting nights. Bowman’s potential game-winning attempt from halfcourt hit the front iron and his crucial missed layup in the closing seconds of overtime sealed the Friars’ win. Despite the struggles of their stars, the Eagles fought hard to make it a close game and, thanks to a solid effort on the boards by 6-8 Steffon Mitchell, were able to lead the game for the majority of the second half.
The Friars got great contributions from their star guards. The 6-6 freshman Reeves was outstanding with 24 points on the night with four hits from behind the arc. He displayed terrific footwork on his shots and his ability to come off screens and execute designed plays was easily noticed. He showed no fear of the moment and knocked down the big game-tying 3 and showed a lot of poise in overtime, making big plays. He added two steals and made life as difficult as possible on Tabbs.
Alpha Diallo, the 6-7 junior, had a solid game for the Friars despite shooting just 4-for-17 from the field. After a rough first half (2 points on 0-for-8 shooting), he came to life in the second half and made big plays that kept the Friars within striking distance. He showed great trust in his ability to get to the basket against any Eagle defender, often finishing strong or drawing fouls. His effort on the boards was outstanding finishing with six rebounds. His length was felt defensively despite the fact that he did not fill up the stat sheet with defensive stats. His defensive footwork was good, and he made Bowman and Tabbs work hard against him. He made some good reads in the half-court offense, finishing with three assists.
Nate Watson, a 6-10 sophomore center, added 19 points for the visitors. The big man was very active on the boards and finished with 10 rebounds, six on offense. He also made 5-of-7 free throws. He showed outstanding footwork near the basket on both ends of the floor, often finishing in traffic and drawing fouls on offense. Defensively, he used his feet well and used his length to affect shots, often displaying good timing in blocking shots.
On the Eagle side, it was tough not to notice the struggles of Bowman and Tabbs offensively. They combined to shoot just 10-of-32 from the field and 1-of-10 from deep. However, Jordan Chatman, a senior, more than made up for their struggles. The 6-5 guard had an outstanding offensive game for the hosts. He scored 28 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Chatman displayed his quick first step by getting to the basket with ease and showed his strength while making tough shots and getting to the foul line for nine attempts, of which he made all. He did a good job coming off screens and cutting hard to the basket as well. Defensively, his presence was not felt all that much, as he struggled to keep Reeves and Diallo out of their comfort zone when asked to.
Eagles’ sophomore forward Mitchell had a dominant game on the glass and finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, five of which were offensive. Going up against the size and length of Kalif Young, Watson, and Jimmy Nichols Jr. is no easy task by any means. But despite not making a field goal, he scored 10 points off 14 free throw attempts following his hustle plays. He did a great job boxing out on both ends of the floor and his extra efforts allowed BC to have extra possessions and extra scoring opportunities. He showed very good defensive footwork and made good reads on that end of the floor, recording five steals. He did a great job of recognizing when to front his man and when to play straight up defense. He did a good job affecting shots as well and added two blocks to his stat-stuffing performance. When asked to make plays with the ball offensively, he made good reads of the defense and often found open shooters, allowing him to finish with four assists. Overall, it was a terrific night for the sophomore, who put his heart on the line for his team and made all the dirty work count. Unfortunately for him, on this night, it just was not enough.
With the win the Friars improve to 7-2, while the Eagles fall to 6-2. Next up, Providence will host UMass (5-4), while Boston College will pay a visit to Texas A&M (3-4).
This article was written by Nadav Boker, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout apprenticeship program. For information contact us and forward your resume.