PROVIDENCE — There was plenty of Nate Watson, who emphatically snapped out of his two-game funk.

The 3-pointers were dropping courtesy of A.J. Reeves, a great sign for the offense.

And that leads to an important question: When was the last time the Providence College men's basketball team received big games from the stars of Tuesday’s 68-58 win over Vermont in the same contest?

Don’t strain too much, Friars fans. The quick-to-the-point answer is that it hasn’t happened often during the three-plus seasons of Watson and Reeves running in the same basketball circle.

That’s what made the 24 points that each one produced against the Catamounts a refreshing change of pace and something that coach Ed Cooley would welcome with open arms as the dawn of Big East play approaches.

“I’m happy for my teammates and all the success that they have,” Watson said. “I’m not surprised that A.J. had a good game. That’s what he does. He shoots the ball.”

After receiving one hard double team after another against Texas Tech and URI, Watson’s eyes must have lit up like a Christmas tree when Vermont (6-4) elected to apply single coverage during the early minutes. He made his first three shots as the Friars (9-1) jumped to an 11-0 lead.

“As soon as I got it, I went right up to avoid the double team because I know it’s coming right away,” Watson said.

The good vibes also extended to Reeves, who for a change of pace was the beneficiary of some open looks.

One 3-pointer was followed by two more triples as Reeves helped stake PC to a 20-7 lead. The party from beyond the arc continued as Reeves finished 6 of 10 from deep.

“Sometimes they play me so tightly that I can’t always get open the way I want to,” he said. “Anyone who plays basketball, they want to see the ball go through the net and get that rhythm so they’re comfortable out there. You’re feeling good when they’re going in at a high clip.”

Cooley liked the position of the Friars after the home team pulled into halftime up 10, 30-20, against a Vermont team that should once again be a factor in the America East Conference. Vermont featured a deliberate style that never truly confounded Providence. The Catamounts trailed by double digits over the final 14 minutes, yet the visitors deserve credit for hanging tough just enough to avoid getting chased out of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

“This was a difficult game to prepare for because of the way they play,” Cooley said. “They space the floor. They have a really skilled big man [in Ryan Davis, who had 19 points]. It’s one of the few teams in the country that’s older than the Friars. Coming off last week and all the energy that was in our building, I was proud of our guys’ resilience.”

Reeves and Watson were the lone PC players to crack the double-digit scoring column. Noah Horchler added 10 rebounds, while Al Durham contributed nine points and five assists while logging 37 minutes.


• For the second straight game, the opposing team featured a basketball product from Bishop Hendricken. The baton was passed from Sebastian Thomas (URI) to Justin Mazzulla (Vermont), with a number of members from the Hendricken community turning out to show support for the CatamountS guard who’s listed as a graduate student.

For Hendricken head coach Jamal Gomes, the past two Friar games have served as a major source of pride.

“Both have been good ambassadors to the school and also our program. It also shows that we have really good basketball players in the state of Rhode Island,” Gomes said. “If anything, Rhode Island deserves respect because of the level of players that we’re putting out there. For two young men from Hendricken to be on the biggest stage in Rhode Island against a Big East team, it makes me extremely proud.”

• The news appears promising for PC points guard Jared Bynum, who missed his third straight game Tuesday. Cooley mentioned that the Big East opener at UConn on Dec. 18 is a possibility for Bynum (ankle) to return.

“He’s moving a lot better. I don’t think he’ll be ready for Saturday [versus Central Connecticut], but we’re close to getting him back.”

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