NEW YORK – Among the truisms of sports is that one year’s results have nothing to do with how a team will perform in a new season.
It is an adage that Providence coach Ed Cooley espoused, for all intents and purposes after Rodney Bullock scored 17 points to lift the Friars to a 77-70 win over Washington in the second game of the 2K Classic on Thursday night.
“I’m just glad we hung on,” Cooley said. “We’re trying to learn about our team. It was a pretty competitive game.”
Kalif Young added 12 points for Providence (2-1). Drew Edwards and Alpha Diallo chipped in 11 points apiece, and Kyron Cartwright had 10.
“Our bench won the game,” Cooley said.
Noah Dickerson led all scorers with 19 points for Washington (2-1). Jaylen Nowell finished with 14 points for the Huskies. David Crisp added 12 points and Matisse Thybulle had 10.
“I’ve seen Washington get better every single game they played,” Cooley said. “They’re going to win a lot of games out west.”
Trailing 37-30 at halftime, Washington outscored Providence 13-6 in the first five minutes of the second half to tie the second all-time meeting between the Big East and Pac-12 programs at 43.
“There were a lot of plusses,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “There were a lot of areas where we grew as a team. Our guys fought.”
So did Providence.
The Friars responded with an 11-4 run, sparked by back-to-back 3s from Bullock and Maliek White to take a 54-47 advantage. Providence extended the lead to 65-54 after Young’s layup. Washington answered with a 14-4 run spanning 4:54 to cut the Friars’ lead to 69-68.
“They could have collapsed when we went up,” Cooley said. “They made a big rush.”
Nate Watson’s jumper with 2:03 left extended Providence’s lead to 71-68, and Cartwright’s two free throws pushed the advantage to five.
Nowell’s layup cut Washington’s deficit to 73-70, but he missed a free throw. On the ensuing possession, Cartwright drilled two more free throws, and Bullock’s two free throws with 6 seconds left sealed the win for the Friars.
“We cut it to one,” Hopkins said. “We’re still learning how to win. Those are plays you are going to have to make.”
The Huskies averaged 35 attempted free throws in wins over Belmont and Eastern Washington. Against the Friars, Washington shot just 13 of 22 (59 percent) from the free-throw line.
Providence will meet Saint Louis in the championship game on Friday. The Huskies play Virginia Tech in the consolation game.
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