I guess Keno Davis saw his shadow earlier this month, meaning 6 more weeks of heartbreaking Friar basketball with poor defense. After last night, I feel like punching Ned Ryerson square in the face after seeing Providence blow another strong lead only to lose in the final minute. Against Villanova on the road, victory seemed a little more assuring with a 60-41 lead with around 14 minutes to play. In building that huge cushion, everything the Friars were putting up was going in. Ice Cotton looked unstoppable, hitting 6 of 7 three pointers in the first half. The pace in which they were drilling threes was obviously unsustainable, so the interior defense was going to be a huge factor when the shots stopped falling. And boy, did the shots stop falling. Is fatigue a factor? You bet. The Friars missed 14 straight field goals allowing Villanova to claw back. JayVaughn Pinkston abused PC’s interior defense, and carried the Wildcats on his back for the insane comeback victory.
“I just saw openings,” Pinkston said. “Once I see an opening, I take the drive. I’m just going out there and playing basketball. My team needed me, and I just had to step up.”
After Providence took a 72-67 lead with 1:46 left in the game, Pinkston scored the game’s final nine points, and Villanova, enduring a very frustrating season, finally had something to celebrate.
Just like in the previous game against West Virginia, PC had a chance to tie or win the game on the last possession after Pinkston scored the go ahead bucket with 19 seconds left. Ed Cooley drew up a play intended for Ice Cotton, but he simply could not get open. Gerard Coleman ended up driving for mid range jumper that bounced off the rim, off a player, and into the hands of Cotton behind the three point line. Instead of shooting it right there, he hesitated, allowing the defender to get in his face. Cotton did his best to get off a shot, but it ended up bouncing to the right of the rim. Game over.
This pretty much sums up the Providence season right here (H/T @BobbyBancroft)
Let’s dish out some pasta for the performances
JayVaughn Pinkston – Don’t get used to this dominating performance big guy. Next year there could be a certain dominant shot block roaming the paint (Note: I don’t know anything, just praying and hoping every time I go to sleep).
Vincent Council – Many will point out the last minute when Council turned it over with PC up two allowing an easy dunk by Pinktson to tie, followed by a forced missed jumper on the next possession. However, Council was almost able to stop the bleeding after the huge drought and wasn’t getting much help. Frustrating last minute for VC (who also had 7 turnovers), but the ball needed to be in his hands.
Dominic Cheek – With Malik Wayns missing most of the game due to injury, Cheek stepped up and hit some timely threes.
Ice Cotton – As the frequent barometer of the team, his performance perfectly sums up the game. Couldn’t miss in the first half, couldn’t piss in the ocean in the 2nd. I think its my fault for even thinking about Donta Wade’s record of 10 three pointers made in a BIG EAST game. No one will ever beat you, Donta.
Ed Cooley – Pinkston’s gameplan was pretty simple, drive the lane, hit a layup. I realize there aren’t many options for the front court, but some adjustments could possibly been have made. Is Brice Kofane hurt? Couldn’t the Gipper just come in for another minute and tackle Pinkston? Hey, at least Cooley provided some entertainment by punting the ball into the stands at the end of the game.
LaDontae Henton – Another strong game offensively, but very poor defense on the final play that allowed Pinkston to score the winning basket.
Gerard Coleman – Started off very strong, but like the rest of the team faltered in the 2nd half. Seemed like he tried to do a little too much with poor shot selection and some bad turnovers.
Kadeem Batts – A non factor on both ends of the court. The biggest gaffe came on a bunny from the result of a gorgeous Vincent Council pass. Dunk the ball!
James Bell – How did Jay Wright allow this guy to take a bunch of threes?