Friday, 16 November, 2018

Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley Rips Pants During Big East Championship

Kentucky coach John Calipari and the Wildcats will take on Tennessee in the finals of the SEC Tournament Sunday in St. Louis. Kentucky will be playing for its fourth straight title Vols' NCAA Tournament History By the Numbers
Cary Erickson | 12 March, 2018, 03:31

Updates with new lead, quotes. Brunson seems boring in comparison until a glance at Saturday's box score reveals he had 31 points in a championship game so high energy that Providence Coach Ed Cooley split his trousers.

Butler fell behind by 14 in the first half against Seton Hall on Thursday, coming back behind a heroic effort from Kamar Baldwin to earn its first-ever Big East tournament win.

PC had a chance to win the game in regulation but Cartwright missed a runner with seconds left.

Villanova played volleyball over and around the Friars at the most critical times on Saturday night.

"I didn't even notice the score was 19-0", he said. "We just weren't fortunate to get the last shot, but I'm proud of our players". The fourth straight final for the Wildcats ties them with Pitt for second on the list.

Providence's 76-71 win over "Nova in mid-February was the Wildcats" worst offensive output of the season (in terms of points per possession), so it's certainly not an impossible task, but with the way Villanova has looked so far in NY, it's going to take a near flawless performance to take them down.

The Wildcats (30-4) won their second straight Big East Tournament and third in four years (losing in the 2016 final). They hope those lessons pay off in the NCAA Tournament.

Providence battled back from a 10-point deficit with 11 minutes left, but Villanova's talent advantage took hold in overtime.

Jalen Brunson led Villanova with 31 points while Mikal Bridges poured in 25 points. Bridges, who scored 25 points, opened overtime with a 3 and hit another that helped stretch the lead for good. For sheer drama, it's the best of the big conference tourneys. He hit four 3s and made 12 of 23 overall from the floor. "But when it's over, you know how much this does for your team's mental toughness". Providence wouldn't get the ball again in a one-possession situation.

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"We got the shot we wanted", coach Ed Cooley said.

"I don't think we checked out the way we're supposed to, the way we practiced", Cooley said.

The side-splitting fashion statement nearly worked as a rally towel. Cartwright finally got going with two 3-pointers, Isaiah Jackson added another and when Edwards put back an offensive rebound while getting fouled the game was tied, 51-51.

Fifth-seeded, Friars pulled off a thriller 75-72 overtime victory over No. 1 seed Xavier in the semifinal Friday night. His free throw gave Providence its first lead of the game.

"That was one of our best defensive performances", he said. How heavily Providence was involved at the time is unclear - the Friars were in the midst of pulling together a great recruiting class that included Cartwright, Ben Bentil, Paschal Chukwu, and Jalen Lindsey.

"It told me my team is tough, resilient, passionate", Cooley said.

Providence (22-12) was led by Alpha Diallo, who scored 22 points.

All BIG-EAST Honorable mention honoree senior Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.) scored 19 points and dished out six assists. What else is new? If there was some concern that Villanova would enter the NCAA tournament without having to break a sweat in winning three games at Madison Square Garden, that was quickly erased on Saturday night in what became a grinding game of attrition against Providence. In 2018, both will be there, as the Wildcats seek their third title in the last four years, while the Friars look to repeat the feat of the 2014 team.