Maliek White scored a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting as Providence roared to a big lead early and never looked back in an 87-63 victory over visiting Central Connecticut on Sunday.
It was the fifth win for the Friars in their past six games.
Providence (8-3) led by 14 points at intermission and stretched its advantage to 65-41 on a 3-pointer by Isaiah Jackson nine minutes into the second half. At that point, it was just a matter of how much the final margin of victory for the Friars would be, as Central Connecticut’s shooting and ball-handling woes stifled any chance to get back in the game.
Jackson scored 16 points and Alpha Diallo hit for 14 points, 11 of them in the first half, for Providence, while Nate Watson poured in 14 as the Friars outshot Central Connecticut 50.8 percent to 41.4 percent. Providence had 26 assists on 30 made baskets in the win.
Jamir Coleman led the Blue Devils with 21 points and Tyler Kohl added 18 for Central Connecticut (5-6).
The Friars swept to a seven-point lead in the first four minutes that expanded to 39-20 with 6:03 to play in the first half on a pair of free throws by Jackson that capped a 15-3 run by Providence.
Joe Hugley’s layup with 1:09 to play in the half brought Central Connecticut to within 46-32 at halftime, a manageable deficit considering the Blue Devils hit just 12 of 31 shots over the first 20 minutes and surrendered 16 points on nine first-half turnovers.
Diallo’s 11 points in the first half led all scorers, while Kohl hit for 10 to lead Central Connecticut, which lost for the third time in its past four games.
Coleman canned a jumper to open the second half for the Blue Devils and cut the lead to 12 points but Providence took charge for good after that, hitting its first five shots of the second half during a 13-4 surge to grab a 59-36 advantage.
Providence dominated the action even without freshman guard A.J. Reeves, who missed his first game after suffering a foot injury that will force him to miss four to six weeks. Reeves, who has been named Big East Freshman of the Week three times this season, is the Friars’ second-leading scorer and the points leader among all freshmen in the conference, averaging 14.2 points per game.
The Friars return to play on Tuesday when they host Albany. Central Connecticut stays on the road with a game at Maine on Saturday.
—Field Level Media