WASHINGTON (AP)With his team facing early foul problems, Providence coach Ed Cooley had to do what he thinks is the norm in college basketball today: He turned to his ”senior citizens,” and they delivered.
Ed Croswell scored a career-high 25 points and No. 20 Providence easily dispatched last-place Georgetown 88-68 on Sunday despite leading scorer Bryce Hopkins matching his season low with six points.
The Friars (21-8, 13-5) got double-digit performances from Jared Bynum, who had 18 points, and Noah Locke and Devin Carter, who each added 12. That helped Providence bounce back from its largest loss of the season – an 87-69 defeat at No. 18 UConn on Wednesday – as it continues to position itself for one of the top seeds in the Big East Tournament.
”We look around college basketball right now, because of COVID, we have two more years of having basically senior citizens playing on the court,” Cooley said.
”A lot of these teams are just old, and that experience just shows this late in the season.”
Croswell, Bynum and Locke are all fifth-year seniors who started their college careers elsewhere. Clifton Moore, another fifth-year player who played at two different schools and averages 4.9 points, scored eight points in a season-high 26 minutes with Hopkins on the bench.
Primo Spears had 26 points to lead Georgetown (7-23, 2-17), which has lost 13 straight games against AP Top 25 teams dating back to its surprising 2021 Big East Tournament championship under coach Patrick Ewing. The Hoyas also have lost their last 11 games at home to ranked opponents, last beating then-No. 25 Creighton on Jan. 15, 2020.
Hopkins, who was averaging 16.8 points per game, was whistled for three fouls in a 50-second span within the first four minutes and quickly found a seat on the Friars’ bench. He scored just two first-half points.
With the Kentucky transfer stuck on the sideline, the Friars went on a 24-7 run over the next eight minutes to turn a 9-8 deficit into a 32-16 lead. Providence took a 46-27 lead into halftime behind 15 points from Croswell while Carter added 10. The Friars held the Hoyas to 33% shooting while shooting 49%.
Georgetown opened the second half on a 12-3 run fueled by four 3-pointers to pull within 49-39. The Hoyas would never get closer and trailed by as many as 27 after two Croswell free throws with 10:57 remaining. Croswell added 13 rebounds and had a career-high six assists.
”Ed Croswell played probably his best game he’s played for us here,” Cooley said. ”Just how far he’s come when he came from La Salle and his hard work really showed today.”
Providence: With two games remaining, the Friars have a chance to break the school record for conference wins in a season, which was set in 2021-22 when they finished 14-3. Cooley has guided Providence to double-digit conference wins in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Georgetown: The Hoyas finished the home portion of their schedule at 5-12, setting a program record for most home losses in a season. The previous record of 11 home losses was set last season.
Bynum, who is from nearby Largo, Maryland, had another big game at Georgetown in hitting six 3-pointers to account for all of his points. Last season, Bynum posted career highs in points (32) and 3-pointers (7) at Georgetown.
”He’s from the area, so we know every time he plays against us he feels some sort of way about us,” Ewing said.
”Unfortunately, he was able to make some great shots and get it going.”
Georgetown senior center Qudus Wahab, the Hoyas’ leading rebounder, participated in senior day activities in uniform before the game but did not appear on the Hoyas’ bench until the second half, when he was wearing a suit. He was officially ruled out with an illness at halftime.
Providence: Hosts No. 16 Xavier on Wednesday.
Georgetown: Concludes the regular season at No. 19 Creighton on Wednesday.
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