No. 20 Providence seeks to end its erratic road season on a high note when it visits Georgetown for a Sunday matinee in Washington, D.C.
The Friars (20-8, 12-5 Big East) boast a 15-0 home record so far this season but haven’t had any consistency away from Amica Mutual Pavilion, sporting a shaky 5-6 road record ahead of their final away game this season.
Head coach Ed Cooley’s squad was pummeled 87-69 at No. 18 UConn on Wednesday for its third straight road loss, one which badly dented its chances at the league’s regular-season title.
After Devin Carter’s dunk trimmed UConn’s lead to 48-46 with 15:19 to play, Providence went the next nine minutes without a field goal as the Huskies fed off a raucous sellout Gampel Pavilion crowd on $2 beer night to take over down the stretch.
Six free throws by the Friars kept it a one-possession game with just over 12 minutes left, but the misses from the floor began to pile up as UConn ripped off 14 straight points and never looked back.
“This was a hell of an environment to play in,” Cooley told reporters after the game. “They should give all those kids in the arena free beer because I think that was the reason why they played with so much energy.”
The loss dropped Providence two full games behind No. 10 Marquette in the Big East standings.
For the Hoyas (7-22, 2-16), defending their home court starts with taking care of the basketball.
Georgetown trailed visiting St. John’s by as many as 15 on Wednesday before rallying to tie it in the second half, but a slew of costly turnovers prevented the Hoyas from ever taking the lead.
“I just thought that we were too careless,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “The mistakes that we made from the start of the game to the end of the game just bit us in the butt. … You can’t win with 20 turnovers.”
The Red Storm wreaked havoc with their full-court press and racked up 14 steals, including a sequence in which the Hoyas failed to advance the ball past half-court on three straight possessions in the second half. St. John’s capitalized on those miscues with six of their 26 points off Georgetown giveaways.
Ultimately, Jay Heath’s errant alley-oop pass with just over a minute remaining as Georgetown trailed by two was the backbreaker as the Hoyas fell 79-70 in their penultimate home game.
Sunday’s home finale brings Georgetown a chance to avenge their 74-62 loss at then-No. 20 Providence on Feb. 8. Bradley Ezewiro led the Hoyas that game with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, while Bryce Hopkins paced the Friars with 17 points.
Overall, Hopkins leads Providence with 16.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Georgetown, meanwhile, relies on dynamic guard Primo Spears, who contributes a team-best 15.4 points and 5.3 assists per contest.
–Field Level Media