PC Loses 17 Point 2nd Half Lead, Falls to USC 75-71 in NCAA Tournament

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Joe Calabro, GoLocalProv Sports Team

Lindsey's 17 points were not enough to get the Friars past USC
The Providence College Friars led by as much as 17 points in the second half before falling 75-71 to the USC Trojans in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four on Wednesday night. 

“I think the second half we just didn't play -- I thought they played harder than us in the second half. I thought they were tougher. I think some of our early miscues gave them some energy and I just didn't think we were tough. I saw a totally different team in the second half than we had in the first half. And when we weren't scoring the ball I thought we got a little frustrated,” said Friars head coach Ed Cooley after the game. 

Providence ends the season with a record of 20-13 overall. 

USC will advance to play Southern Methodist on Friday. 

Friars Lose 17 Point Lead 

After leading by 17 points in the opening minute of the second half, the Friars saw their lead evaporate at the 6:48 mark of the second half following a jumper by Chimezie Metu to give the Trojans a 61-60 lead. 

The Trojans would take a 63-60 lead with 5:54 to play. USC would take their biggest lead of the half following a dunk by Chimezie Metu dunk to put them up 67-62 with 3:39 to play. 

The Trojans outscored the Friars 38-18 in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take control of the game. 

"Really, really frustrated with how this game ended. I thought we controlled it for most of it. But in tournament play you've got to play a complete game, and we didn't. So we're going to take ourselves home and brush ourselves off and look forward to next season," Cooley added. 

USC's comeback is the seventh largest in NCAA Tournament history and the biggest ever by a PAC-12 team. 

Lindsey’s Early Threes Spark the Friars 

Jalen Lindsey went 4 of 7 from three and totaled 15 points in the half to spark the Friars to a 44-29 lead at the half. 

However, it was his early three-pointers that kept the Friars in the game early on. 

PC went down 7-0 after  an early timeout from head coach Ed Cooley before getting on the board courtesy of an Emmitt Holt layup. 

Providence would go down 10-4 after a Bennie Boatwright three with 16:11 to play before Lindsey hit his first three of the game to pull PC within three. 

With 13:51 to play, the Friars would trail 14-9, before Lindsey knocked down another three to get the Friars within two. 

On the Friars next possession, Lindsey hit another three to give the Friars their first lead of the game, 15-14, with 12:50 to play. 

Providence would go down 20-15 with 10:28 to play before Lindsey hit another three with ten minutes left to pull them back to within two. 

That three sparked a 26-6 run by the Friars capped off by an Alpha Diallo dunk  to take a 41-26 lead with 1:28 to play to take a commanding lead into the break. 

The Friars shot 53% from three in the first half. 

The Leaders 

The Friars were led by Holt who poured in 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double. 

Lindsey and Rodney Bullock followed up with 17 points each. 

  • 1972-73 NCAA Final Four

    Led by Ernie DiGregorio, Marvin Barnes and Kevin Stacom, this was Providence's best shot at winning a National Title...until Barnes went down with a knee injury in the semifinals against Memphis State.  An anticipated matchup for the championship with Bill Walton's legendary UCLA Bruins never materialized.  But this team did finish 27-4, and entertained scores of fans across the country...while creating a buzz about PC hoops that still exists today. (rirhof.org)

  • 1986-87 NCAA Final Four

    This wasn't the best Friar team of all time...and probably not the most-talented.  But it was, perhaps, the most magical.  And it did have talent, led by Billy Donovan, Jacek Duda, Dave Kipfer, Ernie "Pop" Lewis and Delray Brooks.   But the best attribute of this team was shooting the three, and believing in themselves.  These Friars finished 25-9, and lost in the National semifinals to Syracuse(realclearsports.com)

  • 1996-97 NCAA Elite Eight

    This Providence team was one of the most-talented teams ever assembled on Smith Hill...but as the legend goes, had a hard time getting along with each other.  Pete Gillen led these Friars to within a missed jump-shot of a berth in the Final Four, but did get into overtime in the Regional Final against eventual national champ Arizona before falling.  God Shammgod, Austin Croshere, Jamel Thomas, Ruben Garces and Derrick "Flight" Brown whipped Duke along the way to a 24-12 record, gaining legendary status, fame, and perhaps near-fortune. (friarbasketball.com)

  • 1959-60 NIT Finalists

    No, this team did not win the NIT...which at the time was considered the TRUE National Championship Tournament.  But it was this team (along with the NIT team in 1959) that helped create the passion for Friar Basketball in Providence, and throughout the state of Rhode Island.  Led by Hall-of-Famer Lenny Wilkens, and head coach Joe Mullaney, PC arrived on national scene as well.  Big man James Hadnot led the Friars in scoring and rebounding. (providence.edu)

  • 1960-61 NIT Champions

    It wasn't the NCAA Championship, but at the time, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) WAS the national championship, and the Friars won it in 1961...defeating St. Louis 62-59 at Madison Square Garden in New York behind Vinny Ernst and James Hadnot.  PC finished 24-5, Hadnot averaged nearly 20 points and more than 16 rebounds per game, while Ernst was a whirling dervish on the floor (look that one up)! (providence.edu)

  • 1962-63 NIT Champions

    There was one more championship team in Providence history, as two years after the first one, the '62-'63 Friars returned to the NIT throne room by winning 15 straight games to finish the season at 24-4.  Former Boston mayor and US Ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn led PC in scoring, along with legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson, Jr.  Vinny Ernst was also on this team as a senior, winning two titles in his Providence career. (Flynn & Ernst, providence.edu)

  • 1993-94 Big East Champion

    In the Big East era, it's tough to leave this team off of any list...even though they did not have success in the NCAA Tournament in 1994.  But PC's first Big East title came after a talented team caught fire in the '94 event at the Garden, led by Rob Phelps, Eric Williams, former Central HS and CCRI star Abdul Abdullah, Dickey Simpkins and Michael Smith - one of the best rebounders the league has ever seen.  The Friars finished 20-10, winning the Big East, but lost to Alabama in the NCAA Tournament 1st round. (Williams & Phelps, wordpress.com)

  • 2013-14 Big East Champion

    It's hard to say, when they have yet to prove much on the national stage...but this year's Friar team deserves to be ranked with the best in school history just from the story of their journey(s) alone.  Bryce Cotton came from Arizona without another Division I offer; injury and suspension depleting the roster; two transfer players playing significant roles; Coach and Providence-native Ed Cooley, whose house caught on fire during the year...it goes on and on.  One heck of a ride and a story...and it's still going. (Cotton, twcc.com)

  • 1964-65 NCAA Reg. Finals

    It wasn't known as the "Elite 8" then, but the '64-'65 Friars were certainly one of the best teams in the school's athletic history.  Finishing 24-2 and ranked 4th in the national polls, the Jimmy Walker-led Friars were beaten by Bill Bradley's Princeton team in the NCAA's, just missing out on the Final Four.  Sophomores Walker, Dexter Westbrook and future NY Knick Mike Riordan led this group of Friars, along with James Benedict and Bill Blair.  This team may have been coach Joe Mullaney's most talented. (Westbrook & Walker, friarbasketball.com)



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