By BRENDAN McGAIR Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — No. 20 Providence is searching for answers going into the Big East Tournament.
The Friars flopped in their regular-season finale on Saturday, losing 82-58 to Dre Davis and Seton Hall. The 24-point margin marked the biggest home loss in Ed Cooley’s 12-year run as Providence’s coach.
Devin Carter scored 14 points for Providence, which shot 40% from the field and 4 for 23 from 3-point range. The Friars (21-10, 13-7) lost for the third time in four games — with the lone victory in that span coming against last-place Georgetown.
“I did not expect a team to play like that, one that had so much to play for. You’ve got to show up,” Cooley said. “Am I playing the right guys? Am I playing guys who have a will, a want, and a passion? Hopefully we can reflect and bounce back. It is a new season, the Big East Tournament, but it’s a gut-check for our men. We’re not fighting like the team I know that we have.”
Davis was 9 for 10 from the field. Femi Odukale had 19 points while KC Ndefo scored 15 for the Pirates (17-14, 10-10 Big East), who had dropped three in a row. Al-Amir Dawes finished with 11 points.
Seton Hall shot a season-high 63% from the field. The Pirates made 10 3-pointers and led by as many as 32 points.
“Our offense was generated off our defense. When our defense is playing at a high level like it was, it makes executing on offense that much easier,” Davis said. “I thought everyone was clicking on all cylinders. Everyone who touched the ball was involved.”
BIG PICTURE Seton Hall: Point guard Kadary Richmond (back injury) and forward Tray Jackson (right ankle sprain) were sidelined by injuries. Playing without Richmond and Jackson, the Pirates were surprisingly efficient, especially for a team that has struggled to score at times this season. “Next man up mentality,” Davis said.
Providence: For the second straight home game, the Friars fell behind as many as 20-plus points. The lackluster play prompted the crowd to shower the Friars with boos. “I look at that as a positive point,” Cooley said. “They expect better, and so do I.”
Seton Hall: Plays Wednesday against DePaul in the Big East Tournament. The Pirates and Blue Demons entered the weekend locked in as the 7th and 10th seeds, respectively.
Providence: Plays Thursday in the Big East Tournament’s quarterfinal round against an opponent that will be determined after Wednesday’s games.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25