by John Fanta, @John_Fanta
PROVIDENCE — Kyron Cartwright ate like a king at the Feast Week table.
After hitting the game-winning three-pointer for Providence to edge Belmont 66-65 on Wednesday, the star senior dazzled on Saturday night to lead the Friars to an 86-66 victory over Boston College.
The BIG EAST Player of the Year field is loaded, with Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado, and Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett coming to mind. It may only be November, but Cartwright belongs in the discussion right now.
In Providence’s third straight win, Cartwright racked up 14 points and dished out nine assists. While Boston College only trailed 44-35 at the break, the Providence court general blitzed the Friars out on a 12-4 run in the second half to boost the advantage to 17.
“I think Kyron’s playing as well as anybody in the country right now,” said Ed Cooley. “He’s got a swag about it him, and you see it in the way we play.”
The season stats tell a lot, but Cartwright’s continual initiation of the Friars’ offense is why this team is more than poised for a fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth.
Cartwright’s senior classmate Rodney Bullock wasn’t too shabby himself. The forward surpassed the 1,000-career point mark with 20 and six rebounds on the game.
What Cartwright and Bullock have done is a given for the Friars. It’s the 23-8 bench advantage that Providence had that shows this group’s depth. The future of the program, guard Makai Ashton-Langford and center Nate Watson, teamed up for 16 points off the pine. Just a week ago, Ashton-Langford starred in the Friars’ 2K Classic title win over Saint Louis. The rookies are growing, and it’s just November. Cooley brought it up as well:
“Confidence. Recognition. That’s what it comes down to. It’s not an easy transition to make from high school to college but these guys have done it.”
The Friars’ three-point shooting, which looked like a concern in the preseason, has been far from it. Providence shot 7-for-10 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished 10-for-18. Coming into the night, Cooley’s team led the BIG EAST at 47 percent from three-point territory. For a Providence program known for its defensive pedigree, the Friars’ offensive versatility is a great sign. PC has averaged 80 points per game in the last four.
Riding a four-game surge, the Friars next host Rider on Wednesday before their annual showdown with Rhode Island on Saturday. That will be the college hoops event of the year in RI, as the Friars travel to take on the Rams.