By Josh Adams
New York, NY- There are certain teams that the bright spotlight of the Big East Tournament brings out the best in them. One of those teams is the Providence Friars. On Thursday afternoon in front of a raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden, the Friars defeated Creighton in overtime to advance to the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament. It was the first overtime game in the tournament since 2015.
Ed Cooley’s veteran Friars team has exceeded expectations all season and they used every little bit of their experience to give them the slight edge over the Blue Jays today. Alpha Diallo scored 19 points for the Friars as the two teams traded baskets in the final minutes of the game. Blue Jays guard Marcus Foster had the opportunity to win the game in the waining moments but his three point attempt was fumbled as time expired.
In the overtime period the intensity that was already off the charts went another notch higher. It was again a nip and tuck affair until Providence’s Kyron Cartwright hit an improbable layup to give the Friars the lead in the final seconds. Creighton had an ample opportunity to win the game but Mitchell Ballock’s wide open three point attempt glanced off the rim and the Friars prevailed.
Diallo’s 19 points led the Friars (20-12) while Cartwright had 13, none bigger than the final shot.
Foster had 19 for the Blue Jays (21-11). Davon Mintz had 14 for Creighton. The Blue Jays failed to reach 70 points for only the third time this season.
Cooley praised his seniors on their effort after the game. “The senior class has been an amazing group to coach.”, said Cooley after the game. “To see these young men grow up. It’s been an up and down year. But, today was a great team win.”
Providence will need all the senior leadership they can get as Xavier is on the horizon on Friday. With the way Cooley’s teams has played in the Big East Tournament, divine Providence might just hit them once more.