Friars Defeated By Villanova In Overtime In BIG EAST Championship

March 10, 2018

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New York, N.Y. – The Providence College men’s basketball team fell to top-seeded and No. 2/3 ranked Villanova, 76-66, in overtime in the BIG East Tournament Championship game on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.  It is just the fourth BIG EAST Championship game to go into overtime. 

Providence (21-13) now holds a 3-3 record versus top- five ranked teams this season.

The Friars will now wait to see if they are selected to the NCAA Tournament, for a program-record fifth-consecutive season.  The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for tomorrow [Sunday, March 11] on TBS and is slated to begin at 6:00 p.m. (ET).

Sophomore Alpha Diallo (New York, N.Y.) finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double is Diallo’s sixth of the season, which leads the Friars.

All BIG-EAST Honorable mention honoree senior Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.) scored 19 points and dished out six assists. Senior Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va.) added 10 points.

Cartwright scored 17 of his 19 points after halftime.

Jalen Brunson led Villanova with 31 points while Mikal Bridges poured in 25 points.


For the third-straight day at the BIG EAST Tournament, Providence went into overtime, tied this time, with Villanova at 60.  It marks the first time in BIG EAST Tournament history that any team has played three overtime games at the league championship.  It also is the first time in Friar history that the squad has played three straight overtime games. 

The two sides went scoreless through the first 80 seconds of the overtime, but Bridges broke the ice with a three from the top of the key that gave Villanova a 63-60 lead.

Two free throws from senior Jalen Lindsey (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Cartwright around a Wildcats’ basket from Omari Spellman basket brought the Friars within one, 65-64, with 2:42 to go.

Bridges answered, corralling a loose ball and drilling three-pointer from the top of the key to increase Villanova’s lead up to four.

Diallo came back with a driving layup, but Brunson hit a fall away to give the Wildcats a four point-lead, once again, and the Friars never got back within one possession.

The Wildcats led 31-27 to begin the second half and Brunson scored six straight to increase the Wildcats’ lead to 10.

The difference remained 10 into the under 16 media timeout, but Cartwright got the Friars within single digits with a left wing three-pointer.

Brunson tried to give the Wildcats separation with a pair of strong drives to the basket, but Cartwright nailed a step back jumper and junior Isaiah Jackson (Gainesville, Fla.) hit a transition three-pointer to pull Providence within 49-41 with 12 minutes to play.

That’s when Cartwright and the Friars made their move.

The senior point guard pump faked three times at the top of the key and then splashed a three-pointer to get the Friars within five.

Seconds later Cartwright struck again, launching and hitting a deep three-pointer off the dribble to bring the Friars within two (51-49) with just less than nine minutes left.

Sophomore Drew Edwards (Perry Hall, Md.) then gave the Friars their first lead of the game, finishing a put back, and then converting the traditional three-point play, to put Providence on top 52-51.

Providence led 52-51 with seven minutes left but a steal and score for Bridges put Villanova in front by one.

The Wildcats lead stood at two, 56-54, with four and a half to play and Eric Paschall doubled it with a runner in the key.

Two Diallo free throws got the Friars back within two, 58-56, with three minutes left.

Brunson proceeded to miss the front-end of a one-and-one, giving the Friars a chance to tie the game.

Cartwright converted, splashing a fade away as the shot clock expired to tie the score at 58 with 1:28 to go.

On its next possession, Providence jumped in front as Diallo cut from the foul line and finished off a feed from Cartwright to put Providence on top 60-58.

Brunson hit two free throws to tie the game at 60 with 30 seconds left, giving Providence the opportunity to hold for the last shot.

Cartwright’s last second shot, however, went long sending the game to overtime.

Villanova jumped out to a fast start with a Bridges three-point play giving the Wildcats a 9-2 lead at the under-16 media timeout.

For the second straight day, freshman Nate Watson (Arlington, Va.) entered off the bench for Providence and provided an immediate spark. After four straight from Diallo, Watson hit a turnaround in the lane plus the foul to trim Villanova’s lead to 11-9 with 12:40 left in the half.

The Friars evened the score at 11 on Diallo’s third basket of the half, but the Wildcats came right back with a 10-0 run highlighted by Brunson and Bridges three-pointers to take a 21-11 lead.

Once again, Providence responded to Villanova’s run with one of its own. Bullock drained a trey before hitting a turn around, and Cartwright finished with the euro-step to cut the deficit to 21-18.

Moments later, Diallo evened the score, receiving a bounce pass off the dribble penetration from Maliek White (Richmond, Va.) and finishing a conventional three-point play to tie the game at 23 with 4:03 left in the half.

Villanova made the final run of the half as Spellman tipped one in and Brunson drilled a three to give the Wildcats a 31-27 going into the locker room.

Cartwright and Diallo were both named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament squad, joinging Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett and Butler’s Kamar Baldwin.  Villanova’s Mikal Bridges was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player.






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