Finally ranked again, No. 22 Providence takes on Georgetown
Coming off an uplifting win before a sellout crowd Saturday at UConn and reaching the Top 25 for the first time since February 2016, Providence is flying high and eager to show it can compete for the Big East title.
When No. 22 Providence (11-1, 1-0) plays host to Georgetown (6-5, 0-0) on Wednesday, it will be a role reversal of sorts. While the Hoyas have a proud history in the conference and a 47-30 lead in the series, this matchup finds them with big questions while the Friars have big ambitions.
Providence also aims to disprove the doubters after being picked by the Big East coaches to finish seventh among the league’s 11 teams in the preseason poll.
“We thought that was not right at all,” guard A.J. Reeves said after he scored 16 points in the win over then-No. 20 UConn. “We want to come out here and show everybody what we’re made of.”
Providence is made up of grown men. Four grad students started against UConn. The fifth starter, Reeves, is a senior who has been in the lineup since his freshman season. Al Durham, who made the key shot with 45 seconds left Saturday in the 57-53 victory, arrived after four seasons at Indiana.
“He’s played in a lot of big games,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “The Big Ten is a great league. He’s played against a lot of length, a lot of athleticism.”
Nate Watson (14.8 points per game) is the Friars’ top scorer, combining in the frontcourt with top rebounder Noah Horchler (9.9 points, 7.9 rebounds per game).
Georgetown has plenty of size inside to match up inside with Providence, but 7-footers Malcolm Wilson and Ryan Mutombo have only six combined starts as collegians.
Georgetown’s strength is on the perimeter with backcourt veterans Dante Harris and Donald Carey, who average a combined 25.6 points and 8.8 assists per game. Kaiden Rice (14.5 points per game) has hit 43 of 101 shots from beyond the arc.
Freshman Aminu Mohammed leads the Hoyas in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.7 per game).
Georgetown is winless in three games away from home and is coming off an 80-73 home loss Saturday to Texas Christian, when Harris sat out due to an ankle injury.
“It’s a minute difference between winning and losing,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “I hope all the things and the mistakes that we’ve been making at the start of the season help us now in the second half of the season. This is where the real season starts for us in the Big East.”
On a six-game winning streak, Providence comes in with a different mindset. The Friars own quality wins over Wisconsin, Northwestern and Texas Tech.
“It’s definitely a confidence-booster,” Watson said after the UConn game. “I think this win means a lot to us, and it’s definitely going to mean a lot during the stretch. We love road games, and to get this win in front of 16,000 fans, that gives us energy.”
–Field Level Media