All season, the Pirates have won games despite the up-and-down performances of point guard Khadeen Carrington. Since he was learning a new role, fans and critics gave the senior time to adjust as he struggled early on. However, on Wednesday night, the narrative flipped and Carrington played a nearly perfect game, leading the Pirates to a 73-57 victory over the Providence Friars.
“I think he’s been playing great all year,” coach Kevin Willard said. “I just think he’s struggled at times making shots. I think it’s going in every time he shoots it, and he’s got to keep on shooting it. I thought he played an efficient game.”
Early on both offenses appeared stagnant, struggling to find rhythm. The momentum changed quickly for the Pirates though, as they hit four straight threes to jumpstart a 19-0 run with eight minutes left in the half. The run put the game out of reach quickly for Providence, who trailed 41-26 at halftime.
Carrington’s improved decision-making was the Pirates’ primary catalyst in their big first half, contributing 14 points and five assists without committing a turnover. In the second half, he turned the ball over just once, finishing with 23 points and seven assists.
“I think he’s getting a better feel as the teams have consistently gotten good,” Willard said. “He’s doing a much better job of understanding he’s got to get guys involved, and to his credit, he’s a good student.”
“This is important,” Myles Powell said of Carrington. “It’s great for one of top guys to get his mojo back, but really as long as we’re getting it done it doesn’t matter who steps up.”
The second half was more of the same from the Pirates, who used their intense defense to carry themselves to the win. In total, Providence shot a meager 38 percent from the floor and was smothered on the perimeter, shooting 2-of-17 from behind the arc.
Outside of Carrington, the Pirates found scoring from their usual core of Desi Rodriguez, Powell and Angel Delgado, each finishing in double figures. Rodriguez, the team’s leading scorer, finished with 16 points, highlighted by a thunderous alley-oop midway through the second half. Powell contributed 11 points, and Delgado claimed his 66th double-double of his career, finishing with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Delgado was also honored as the Big East’s all-time rebounder prior to the game.
The win comes at a pivotal time for the Pirates, who travel to Philadelphia on Feb. 4 to take on the nation’s No. 1 team, Villanova.
“They’re a big-time team. They’re big-time, I got a lot of respect for them,” Delgado said. “But we still got to play ball man.”
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @lombardo_andrew.