Providence came up short in its first test of the season, but a shot at redemption is right around the corner. The Friars will face off against Washington on Thursday in the 2K Classic at New York City.
Providence led Minnesota by three points at halftime before getting outscored by 15 points after intermission in Monday’s 86-74 defeat. Coach Ed Cooley was not thrilled with his team’s defense, saying after the game: “Six assists on 30 baskets. That’s look yourself in the eye. That means whoever had the ball went right by you.” Washington has a new coach in Mike Hopkins and has opened its season with back-to-back home wins over Belmont and Eastern Washington. “We need to get Noah Dickerson the ball,” Hopkins said after the junior forward set career highs with 28 points and 22 rebounds versus Eastern Washington. “He’s one of the best low-post players in our league for sure, and I don’t know how many guys are as good as him in the country.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT PROVIDENCE (1-1): The Friars have received solid production from senior Kyron Cartwright, who is averaging 11 points, 9.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals through the first two games. Several players are right behind Cartwright on the list of Providence’s leading scorers with Isaiah Jackson looking like he’s ready to take the next step in his development. The junior guard averaged 5.6 points last season but already is averaging 10.5 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range with only one turnover in 39 minutes.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (2-0): Dickerson, who averaged 12.5 points and 8.2 rebounds last season, fouled out in 19 minutes against Belmont before his big game against Eastern Washington. Jaylen Nowell has essentially been the opposite story with a 32-point effort in his collegiate debut followed by a relatively quiet 10-point performance in game No. 2. Matisse Thybulle has seven steals through two games to go with a 14.0 scoring average.
1. The winner of this game will face either Saint Louis or Virginia Tech in Friday’s championship game. The losers will square off in the consolation game earlier Friday evening.
2. The Friars are 60-59 all-time at Madison Square Garden.
3. David Crisp, the top returning scorer for Washington, is just 5-of-17 from the field this season.
PREDICTION: Providence 77, Washington 72