Last night the Friars took on the Purple Aces of Evansville in the Wooden Classic held in California. This matchup was one that many Friar fans perhaps overlooked as a “free-win” but to those familiar with both programs, it was actually quite evenly matched. Last season the Purple Aces won 24 games and 9 coming from conference play (MVC). Also, the Purple Aces had 5 returning starters to the lineup. This proved to be a factor in the early minutes of the game when the young Friars team struggled to put the ball in the basket, while Evansville was having their way.
The Purple Aces’ returning leading scorer, D.J. Balentine, hit his first 3’s to give the Purple Aces an early jump. Unfortunately Balentine quickly got into foul trouble resulting in him being on the bench for longer than the team had anticipated. With their leader sidelined, the Friars began to warm up at the hands of Ben Bentil, who finished the game with a career high 24. With Bentil getting to the free throw line with solid down-low play, the offense opened up for other players, such as Kris Dunn.
Dunn was playing with an extra set of eyes from many NBA scouts that were in attendance, and Dunn did not disappoint. In his usual fashion, Dunn filled up his stat line with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, in addition to his 18 points.
The hot Friars team went into halftime feeling comfortable and with a lead of 8. The Purple Aces’ came into the second half as cold as it gets, going 0-10 from the field and not scoring until over 6 minutes into the second half. The Friars capitalized on this cold streak and began causing disruptions on the defensive side leading to many fast break points off Evansville turnovers.
Overall the Friars looked like a strong, well-balanced team that was able to break out of their cold streaks and get the offense and defense moving effectively. In addition to Dunn’s 18 and Bentil’s 24, the Friars also got 13 from Junior Lomomba and 10 from Ryan Fazekas. D.J. Balentine lead the Purple Aces with 18. The Friars will now take on Arizona in the Semi-finals of the Wooden Classic tonight at 11:30.
Providence College Class of 2018
All Stats from: http://247sports.com/StatGame/Providence-Friars-Evansville-Aces-103230#gamestats