The Providence Friars defeated the Washington Huskies, 77-70, in the second game of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Turnovers, 3s and poor shooting down the stretch led to Coach Mike Hopkins’ first loss this season as the Dawgs fall to 2-1 this season.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers were the problem for Washington in the first half against Providence as they turned it over 16 times in the first 20 minutes. The Huskies were able to put together a second half with only 4 TOs but the Friars’ steady attack of the zone wore down the Huskies.
The Huskies new 2-3 zone looked good in spots getting turnovers and turning them into transition scores early on. In fact, the Dawgs forced 20 turnovers from Providence. You can tell that the length of the team helps play the passing lanes and get hands on balls. Providence did solve the zone with ball movement, spacing the floor and 3-point shooting.
After taking a 24-23 lead, the Friars went on a 13-0 run. Scattered throughout the run were Husky turnovers on the offensive end leading to Providence building the lead.
It was not until a David Crisp 3 plus a foul to stop the bleeding. He missed the foul shot but brought the score to 36-27. However, another Crisp 3 drew the Dawgs closer and the half ended with the Huskies down 7.
The Huskies shot 44% at the half on 11-25 shooting. UW allowed Providence to shoot 44.4% from the field but almost 67% from 3. Of note, the Huskies turned the ball over more (16) than made field goals (11).
The Dawgs did much better to start off the second half as it turned the ball over less while making some shots to stay within striking distance. Providence did work itself back into the lead with the ability to hit 3s against the zone. The Friars hit some deep 3s and finished 53.3% from behind the arc. A 9-2 run brought the PC lead to 65-54 before the 8-minute break causing Coach Hopkins to call timeout.
A David Crisp 3 brought the game to 68-65 and all of a sudden, the Huskies went on a 9-0 run. But, on the next possession Noah Dickerson fouled out of the game.
Down the stretch the Huskies seemed to panic in shot selection attempting 3s or off-balance shots instead of setting up plays for good looks.
In the waning possessions of the game, the Friars kept the Huskies in the game by missing the front ends of 1 and 1 free throws. With 31 seconds left, a Jaylen Nowell drive and foul kept the Huskies within 3 at 73-70 with a chance to trim the lead to 2. Nowell missed the free throw but the Huskies were unable to foul Providence until 12.5 seconds were left on the clock. It is inexplicable to understand why the foul didn’t occur earlier. The Friars tacked on four more free throws for the 77-70 score.
Rodney Bullock led the Friars with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Kalif Young added 12 for a rather deep team which had 5 players in double figures scoring.
Although this was a loss, there were some positives. Providence is a good team and should be in the tourney in March. The fact that the Dawgs played this team tough and had chances at the end to win in just the third game under Coach Hopkins is a testament to how well he’s installed his system.
Noah Dickerson once again had a great game. He led all Huskies with 19 points. He was a force under the basket and battled against the Providence bigs. As my friend texted me, he must watch old Kevin McHale tapes.
Jaylen Nowell is going to be fun to watch. His ability to stick the mid-range jumper and drive to the rim will be an asset for this team that tends to stand around the 3-point line. Not to mention he must feel right at home playing in this zone. Nowell finished with 14 points and 7 steals.
Samuel Timmins is improving. In one spurt in the second half, he had a nice put back dunk off of an offensive rebound and hustled to the defensive end and caused a travel. He had 3 blocks and altered others. The Sophomore crashed the boards and used his body which is all you want from him on defense. Interesting enough, he finished with 8 rebounds with 6 of those coming on the offensive side.
With that being said, the Huskies played a little too fast tonight which is a reason for so many turnovers. A lot of the TOs were unforced errors such as traveling on pump fakes. They also will need to work on rotation in the zone as the closeouts by the wings were late on a number of occasions. Tonight, Providence hit a lot of 3s from NBA range. It won’t happen every game, but it’s something this team will need to address.
The Huskies drop the first game of the season and play a tough Virginia Tech team in the loser’s bracket at 2pm PT on Friday. The game will be on ESPN2.