By Dan Gardella
Providence – Last season, Sacred Heart opponents shot just over 37% from three-point territory, which was a clear achilles heel in the team’s play. In their first game of their 2019-2020 season, they allowed Providence to shoot 47% from deep in a 106-60 loss to the Friars Tuesday night.
Early on, Sacred Heart withstood Providence’s quick pace early on, something that the Pioneers were familiar with. Through three and a half minutes, Sacred Heart only trailed by two. But that would be where the Friars would start marching.
Fueled by ten three-pointers in the first half and a 28-5 run over the next seven minutes of the game, it became a 38-12 Providence lead with more offense to come. The Pioneers would muster a 29% shooting clip in the first half and trailed by 29 at the break.
Throughout much of the first half, Sacred Heart head coach Anthony Latina would switch the defensive schemes in an attempt to throw off Providence. Whether it was zone or man-to-man, there was no answer to stopping the Friar offense.
“They were in such a flow offensively that we felt that we had to do something different,” said Latina. “We do play some zone. It’s not something we want to do. We had been good defensivelyin our practices and our scrimmages, but we weren’t ready for what they were going to bring to us.”
Offensively, it would be more of the same for both teams. The Friars would shoot 51% from the field and crack the century mark in the team’s opening game of the season and the second time in the Ed Cooley era in Friartown.
“I thought it was a dominant performance from start to finish,” said Cooley. “We knew we were going to play against the team who could score the ball really well. We got better every single day defensively in our practices.”
Providence was led by Alpha Diallo, who recorded his first double-double of the season by scoring 19 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Along with Diallo, six other Friars scored in double figures and the team assisted on 31 of their 39 made shots.
Sacred Heart was led by E.J. Anosike, who scored 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Kinnon LaRose scored 11 points and Aaron Clarke contributed off the bench with 12 points of his own. Looking to bounce back, the Pioneers travel up-state to take on in-state rival UConn at Gampel Pavilion Friday night.
“I know our guys are disappointed, but it’s times like this where you come together and you try to get better. You just have to learn from games like these,” said Latina.