Providence rallies to beat Butler in Big East Tournament

Providence has evolved in the same way it stunned its way to becoming a #1 seed of the year Great East Tournament: barely survive, seemingly never run out of nails to bite.

The Monks rarely dominate opponents, however They also rarely lose against them.

A game that was tied at half-time and in which Providence trailed six with nine minutes to go turned into an exciting 65-61 victory over No. 9 Butler on Thursday afternoon in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals at the Garden. Providence (25- 4) meets the winner of Creighton-Marquette, whose game was on deck, in the semifinals at 6:30 ET on Friday.

Ahead of an announced sell-off of 19,812 — mostly Providence fans — at Midtown, Providence stole a game with some clutch work late. In the last minute, guard Alyami Durham was freed from behind the arc with a minus point and connected to give the brothers a 61-59 lead. On the ensuing possession, Butler’s Simas Lukosius thought he had a layup to level the game, but Justin Minaya, who Son of former Mets general manager Omar, slapped it away. After Bo Hodges missed a contested shot under, Providence made his free throws on the stretch to fend off the Bulldogs.

Providence won the Big East regular-season title — for the first time in program history — without a single member on the All-Big East First Team. Significantly, the brothers’ hardware included the best sixth man (Jared Bynum) and the conference’s Coach of the Year (Ed Cooley) as they relied on a well-trained and disciplined squad to weather any obstacles.

No one on Providence averaged 14 points per game during the regular season, though 6-foot-10 center Nate Watson was the tallest player, physically and metaphorically, in the afternoon. Watson finished with 26 points on 9 of 14 shots, including five big points in the last five minutes started by his coach.

Providence was trailing at six with nine minutes to go but panic never set in. The brothers largely erased the deficit through Watson’s work inside. After Butler’s Bryce Golden missed a contested layup and the time was calling, Cooley took to the court and threw some fist pumps at the crowd. Providence rallies to beat Butler in Big East Tournament


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