The Providence Friars finished up their 2011-2012 regular season by losing to Notre Dame 75-69 in South Bend.
Up three at the half, the Irish outscored the Friars 26-5 over the first 10 minutes of the second to take control in their regular-season finale.
Providence hustled and scrapped and cut it to eight with a minute left, forcing Notre Dame to re-insert Martin, who’d come out earlier for a curtain call. Gerard Coleman’s steal and layup got the Friars to within six with 48 seconds left.But Notre Dame was able to hold on as Grant hit two from the line with 8 seconds remaining.
The loss puts PC at 4-14 in BIG EAST play for the 3rd straight season, but there’s definitely a different feeling about that record with Ed Cooley running the team. Countless times this season it looked like the Friars were in for a blowout loss, but showed tremendous fight in making a run to make the game close. While it didn’t result in a win like it did this past Tuesday at the Dunk, Providence could have easily quit being down 25 points in a tough road environment in their last game of the regular season. While it’s probably true that Notre Dame let up a little bit with such a big lead, it was encouraging to see the Friars refuse to give up. There’s been some growing pains and some hard to swallow losses this year, but it’s hard to argue that this 4-14 seems anywhere close to the previous two.
Why Notre Dame Won: Even though the Friars kept it close in the first half, they had no answer for
Luke Harangody Jack Cooley who did most of his damage in the first half. In the 2nd, Notre Dame was able to find their outside shot and more, while the Providence offense came to an absolute halt. They only made 1 of their first 14 shot attempts, and they dug themselves too big a hole to get out of.
What It Means: Notre Dame clinches the 3 seed in the BIG EAST, and the Friars are locked into the 15th seed. PC will play Tuesday night at 7PM at the Garden in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament. They play the 10th seed, which is UConn right now, but could also end up being West Virginia.
Let’s dish out some Pasta
Jack Cooley – Even though he’s a junior, I’m sure this clown is going to terrorize PC for the next 3 years somehow. 27 points and 17 rebounds.
Vincent Council – Another double-double with 17 points and 10 assists. Couldn’t hit a three to save his life, but was the most consistent Friar on the court for 40 minutes (all of which he played, of course).
Gerard Coleman – There was one play that caught my eye. He passed an open three, and drove the line to draw contact. Can’t say he would have done that last year.
Alex Dragicevich – No one from either side was hitting threes in the first half. Then this guy comes in and hits a bunch during the run that sealed it for ND.
Bilal Dixon – For a while, he was the only Friar who could hit a shot past the foul line.
LaDontae Henton – His couple of threes late helped out his stat line a little bit (and yes, he had another double-double), but he missed a ton of shots for the first 3/4 of the game.
Kadeem Batts – Fouled out of the game with about 14 minutes left. They weren’t even good fouls, like ones that may have potentially injured Jack Cooley.
Pat Connaughton – I kept hearing about this guy in a bunch of their previous wins. Did he even touch the ball? I guess he didn’t have to with Harancooley out there dropping layups and dunks left and right.