Providence, R.I. – The Providence men’s basketball team fell to DePaul on Saturday afternoon, 80-63, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Providence (16-9, 7-5) was led by freshman Nate Watson (Arlington, Va.) who finished with 14 points and corralled three rebounds. DePaul had four players finish in double figures with Marin Maric leading the group with 18 points.
All game long the Friars struggled to gain any traction offensively. They went just 2-of-18 from three-point land and shot 34-percent overall.
Providence trailed 40-25 to begin the second half, but quickly fell behind 20 on a layup by Brendan Cyprus and a transition three-pointer from Max Strus.
The Friars started out the second half 0-of-12 from the field allowing DePaul to go on a 18-2 run centered around a trio of three-pointers from Strus to take a 58-27 lead with 15:01 left.
In need of a spark Providence implemented some full court pressure.
The maneuver paid dividends in getting the Friars some offense as a layup by Makai-Ashton Langford (Worcester, Mass.) and a steal-and-score by Maliek White (Richmond, Va.) engineered a 7-0 run to cut DePaul’s lead to 58-34.
Strus quelled the Friars' run with a three-pointer, and a Tre’Darius McCallum dunk pushed DePaul’s lead back up to 26, but a basket by senior Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va.) and two free throws from senior Kyron Cartwright (Comtpon, Calif.) pulled Providence within 67-45.
The hill, however, proved too steep to climb as Providence never got within 20 until there was less than three minutes left.
An early floater from Cartwright put Providence up 10-8 at the under 12 media timeout.
The Blue Demons responded by taking their first lead of the game as a 9-2 run highlight by five points from Eli Cain gave the Demons a 17-12 lead with 8:57 to play in the half.
DePaul increased its lead up to seven on a triple by Cain, but junior Isaiah Jackson (Gainesville, Fla.) answered with a three pointer of his own to trim the deficit to 21-17.
At both ends of the floor the Friars struggled with the Blue Demons’ length and athleticism as they turned it over eight times, which allowed DePaul to get out and run.
Back-to-back layups by McCallum and a three pointer from Strus increased the Blue Demons lead up to nine.
Maric then drove the length of the court and dished it off to Paul Reed who threw down a vicious one handed slam to open up a 30-19 lead for the Blue Demons with 4:10 left.
The Blue Demons opened up their first half lead to as many as 16 on a corner three pointer from Reed.
Watson provided Providence’s offensive attack with a boost down low. The freshman center connected on a pair of baskets on the low block to pull Providence within 37-23.
Cartwright trimmed the deficit to 12 on a layup, but with time winding down Cain drilled his second three-pointer to put DePaul up 40-25 at the half.
Next up the Friars host No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday February 14 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. on FS1.
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