This Thoughts from the Road: Couch Edition is brought to you by half a buffalo burrito from Gonzo’s and some leftover apple cider.
- Congrats to Ed Cooley on his 200th career win as a head coach. Cooley’s overall record in 11 seasons in 200-138, good for a .592 W-L mark. His record as the head coach at Providence is now 108-69 seven games into his sixth season in Friartown.
- Rodney Bullock went off. Not only did he finish with a career-high 36 points on Wednesday night, but Bullock scored 19 of them in this first half. There was a different level of confidence possessed by Bullock in this game and if he can harness that swagger he might just be the go-to player Providence has been hoping for in the post-Dunn era. Aside from the blistering 5/8 from 3-point range, the other impressive offensive stat from Bullock’s box score was his 11 free throw attempts. He made 7 of those for a 63.6% make rate — which needs to be better — but getting to the line 11 times shows his aggressiveness on offense. He needs to keep that level of assertive play up as the games get tougher in Big East play in less than a month.
- Another player that played an excellent game against UNH was Jalen Lindsey. Lindsey was Providence’s leading scorer against Virginia last weekend in the Friars’ loss to the Cavaliers in the championship of the Emerald Coast Classic and he carried his hot shooting hand from that game into Wednesday night’s matchup. Lindsey finished the game with 11 points in 34 minutes and shot 3/4 from downtown. He also grabbed 5 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, nabbed 1 steal and had 0 turnovers. He also spent a fair amount of time shutting down UNH’s Jaleen Smith. Smith finished the game as the Wildcat’s leading scorer with 20 points, but he only scored 5 of those while being guarded by Lindsey and 3 came on a late shot clock 3-pointer that was banked in during the first half. If Lindsey can continue to be a defensive-stopper and make a couple shots he will be one of Cooley’s most valuable assets on this roster.
- Kyron Cartwright played a solid floor game with just 1 turnover in 31 minutes of action. He dished out 4 assists, grabbed 4 rebounds and scored 12 points on 5/12 shooting. His shooting numbers continue to be less than efficient but he is running the team well and it’s clear he is missed when on the bench as Providence’s scoring slumps routinely occur when the junior guard isn’t in the game. It was good to see Cartwright step into an open 3-pointer on a kickout from inside. He shoots a relatively set, static jumpshot but if he can connect at a respectable clip that will help against teams that want to quickly double post entries to Bullock, Emmitt Holt and Kalif Young.
- Speaking of Holt, he seemed out of sorts in this game. Cooley took him out with 16:05 remaining in the first half and the junior college transfer didn’t reappear in the game until the 9:38 mark. That wasn’t due to foul trouble as he would pick up both of his first half fouls at the 6:45 and 2:42 marks. Holt will be needed against better opponents, starting with Saturday against Rhode Island. He finished this game with just 5 points on 2/8 shooting in 20 minutes of action.
- Ryan Fazekas needs to get more than 2 shots in 18 minutes of action. He is routinely seen running, baseline to baseline, in fruitless attempts to get open. If Fazekas is going to play he needs to get shot attempts and, ideally, those shot attempts would be catch and shoot from beyond the arc with his feet set. Cooley needs to do more to facilitate that happening, or Cooley should just shelve the shooter and try to win ugly with his defensive-minded lineup.
- Kalif Young has been impressive for a freshman big man. He’s continues to play with a high motor and provide good minutes off the bench for the Friars. Once he slows down a little bit he will become a more effective scorer when he has his hands on the ball near the basket. Until then, his energy and physical play underneath are valuable. He played 17 minutes off the bench in this game and finished with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block.
- Isaiah Jackson played 21 minutes but failed to register any points. He played some solid defense but struggled against UNH’s Smith at times. It seems like Cooley has a clear distinction between Jackson and Fazekas at this point in terms of defense and offense lineups. It will be interesting to see how that battle shakes out. Cooley has tended to lean on defense, especially when he’s getting scoring production from a stud player or two. If Bullock and a combination of Cartwright and Lindsey can keep putting up points, Cooley might just roll with Jackson instead of Fazekas down the stretches of games. Keep an eye on that one as the schedule gets harder.
- It was nice to see Drew Edwards as the first player off the bench. He even canned a triple right away, too. Edwards has been slowly getting more acclimated after offseason knee surgery cost him virtually his entire summer. Edwards’ role on this team is still very much TBD, but he proved last year he can play at this level and certainly can provide some help on defense.
- Maliek White and Alpha Diallo continue to get some minutes, but not very many. White played 7 minutes with 3 points, 2 assists and 3 turnovers in that short time and Diallo was out there for 9 minutes and scored 2 points and grabbed 1 steal. These players need minutes to get better, but will they continue to get minutes once the opposition is better and the rotation tightens? We’ll get a good preview on Saturday.
You can re-watch this game, courtesy of FriarTV:
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