Providence takes 2K Classic with rout of Saint Louis
NEW YORK (AP) Rodney Bullock scored 15 points to lead Providence to a 90-63 win over Saint Louis in the championship game of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Gardens on Friday night.
Providence (3-1) had four players finish in double-figure scoring to help the Friars to their second straight win. Alpha Diallo, Maliek White and Makai Ashton-Langford each scored 11.
Javon Bess led the Billikens (3-1) with 16 points, and Davell Roby scored 14.
For all intents and purposes, Providence had the early-season championship wrapped up at halftime. The Friars led 41-21, and 10 players had played at least five minutes in the half. All 10 had contributed in a tangible way to help Providence build its lead.
The trend continued in the second half, as the lead grew to as much as 31. The Friars finished with 21 assists on 31 field goals.
By comparison, Saint Louis struggled to shoot from the field (34.5 percent), from behind the arc (27.3 percent), and to protect the basketball. The Billikens committed 13 turnovers that were turned into 18 points for the Friars.
Providence coach Ed Cooley emptied his bench in the final minutes to cap off the rout, and walk-ons Andrew Fonts and Tom Planek each had layups, while Dajour Dickens threw down two alley-oop dunks.
Providence point guard Kyron Cartwright was named MVP of the 2K Classic. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by Bullock, Bess, Virginia Tech’s Ahmed Hill and Washington’s Jaylen Nowell.
Providence: Offensive efficiency is the en vogue philosophy in professional and collegiate basketball. Essentially, coaches, administrators and executives believe if teams can maximize their possessions, the likelihood increases that their programs will win. Exhibit one is Providence. The Friars made 62 percent of their shots from the field, including 90 percent from 3. For good measure, they knocked down 79.2 percent of their free throws.
Saint Louis: Defense is the Billikens’ calling card. Against Providence, though, it was declined with extreme prejudice. Saint Louis entered the game giving up 55.7 points per game. Rodney Bullock’s lay-up with 14:40 left in the second half gave Providence 57 points.
Providence: The Friars improved to 7-1 all-time agains the Billikens. Providence’s only loss to St. Louis occurred on Dec. 16, 1959, when the Friars dropped a 65-61 decision.
Saint Louis: The regular-season tournament championship game was Saint Louis’ first since 2011. That team, coached by Rick Majoris won the 76 Classic.
Providence: At home Wednesday night for a game against Belmont.
Saint Louis: Hosts Detroit Mercy on Wednesday night.