Alpha Diallo scored 19 points and Emmitt Holt added 16 on Tuesday as Providence rolled to a 106-60 nonconference victory over visiting Sacred Heart in the season opener for each team.
Diallo, who was one of 50 players listed Tuesday on the preseason Wooden Award watch list, also had 14 rebounds and was 7 of 19 from the field in 28 minutes of play.
A.J. Reeves added 15 points while Luwane Pipkins had 13 for Providence, which finished 18-16 overall last season and was a postseason NIT participant out of the Big East Conference. The Friars lost 84-72 to Arkansas in the opening round of the NIT.
E.J. Anosike scored 20 points and Aaron Clarke added 12 for Sacred Heart, a member of the Northeast Conference, which went 15-17 overall a season ago. Kinnon LaRose added 11 points Jare’l Spellman had eight rebounds for the Pioneers.
Things won’t get any easier for Sacred Heart, which visits Connecticut on Friday night. Sacred Heart fell to 2-5 in season openers under head coach Anthony Latina.
Providence took over early, turning a 13-9 lead into a 38-12 advantage during a 7-minute, 26-second stretch of the first half. The Friars were shooting as high as 70 percent from the field 12 minutes into the game and led by as much as 30 points in the first half.
Providence’s lead mushroomed to as much as 49 points in the second half as the Friars improved to 61-4 in nonconference home games under head coach Ed Cooley.
The Friars had a 47-37 rebounding advantage on the Pioneers, led in assists 31-10 and had 30 points off turnovers to Sacred Heart’s five.
Ninth among all 10 Big East teams in 3-poing shooting last season with a 32.6-percent mark from distance, the Friars showed improvement in that area in the opener going 16 of 34 (47.1 percent) from the beyond arc against the Pioneers.
Providence improved to 6-0 all-time against Sacred Heart, all in the last 18 seasons. It was the first game between the teams since 2017.
—Field Level Media