PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The 21/21 Providence College men’s basketball team defeated the Butler Bulldogs, 69-62, on Sunday, January 23 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. With the win, the Friars improved to 16-2 overall for the first time since the 1977-78 season, as well as 6-1 in BIG EAST play for the first time in program history. In today’s game, Head Coach Ed Cooley earned his 210th victory at PC and surpassed Dave Gavitt for second place in all-time wins as a Friar coach. Graduate student Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) led the way for the Friars with 18 points. Graduate student Al Durham (Lilburn, Ga.) chipped in with 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Graduate students Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) and Justin Minaya (Harrington Park, N.J.) each finished with eight rebounds.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but where we are today is a credit to the players,” Cooley said. “It’s a credit to our preparation, emotionally and mentally. It’s a credit to guys buying into their roles.”
- Watson scored first for the Friars with a second-chance tip-in. Watson had seven of the team’s first nine points.
- The game was knotted at 12 at the first media timeout. Each team shot 5-8 from the field to open the game.
- At the 11:37 mark, junior Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) entered the scoring column with a three-point basket from the top of the key. The Friars took the lead, 17-14.
- As each team traded baskets, neither gained any separation as the first half progressed.
- With 4:17 to play in the half, Ed Croswell (Philadelphia, Pa.) forced a turnover and Bynum finished in transition. The Friars’ lead extended to seven, 33-26.
- Butler had two players in double figures by the half, in Chuck Harris and Bo Hodges.
- Watson was the Friars’ leading scorer at halftime with nine points.
- The Friars held the lead at halftime, 39-33.
- Providence shot 16-24 (66.7%) from the field, 4-6 (66.7%) from three, and 3-3 (100%) from the free throw line.
- Butler shot 15-32 (46.9%) from the field, 3-12 (25%) from three, and did not take any trips to the free throw line.
- The Bulldogs opened the second half on an 8-0 scoring run to gain the lead, 41-39.
- After being held scoreless for the first three minutes of the half, Horchler knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner to put the Friars on the board.
- Midway through the half, Croswell brought a spark with three consecutive baskets in the paint. At the 8:42 mark, Butler’s Chuck Harris responded with a timely three-pointer. PC led by four points, 54-50.
- With four minutes to play, it remained a tight game. The Friars led by four points, 60-56.
- At the 3:46 mark, Bynum found Watson for a highlight alley-oop slam to extend the lead. The score was 62-56.
- With less than two minutes to play, Watson and Butler’s Bryce Golden traded baskets. At the 1:06 mark, Watson drew contact and completed the three-point play. PC led 67-60.
- With 0:21 left, Durham made it a three-possession game in favor of Providence from the free throw line.
- Providence finished 27-53 (50.9%) from the field, 5-12 (41.7%) from three, and 10-14 (71.4%) from the free throw line.
- Butler finished 28-60 (46.7%) from the field, 5-20 (25%) from three, and 1-4 (25%) from the free throw line.
- The Friars out-rebounded the Bulldogs by three, 33-30.
- The Friars’ largest lead in the game was nine points.
- Four players finished in double-figures for the Friars, in Bynum (10), Croswell (10), Durham (12), and Watson (18).
- Chuck Harris led the way for the Bulldogs with 21 points. Bo Hodges added 17 points and eight rebounds for Butler.
- The Friars have been ranked for five consecutive weeks after entering the polls on December 20, 2021.
- Attendance: 10,561
- The Friars travel to take on the No. 20/20 Xavier Musketeers at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
- Xavier holds an 11-9 all-time edge versus the Friars. The Friars are 1-9 on the road against the Musketeers. Last season, the teams split the season series, with each team winning at home.
COURTESY PROVIDENCE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS