No. 16/17 Butler (17-5, 5-4 BIG EAST) and Providence (12-10, 5-4 BIG EAST) showcased a classic conference battle Saturday afternoon. This was the Friars’ first win over a ranked opponent since March 9, 2018, and snapped their three-game losing streak against No. 25 Creighton, No. 10 Seton Hall, and No. 9 Villanova.
This was the third consecutive game for Butler without starting point guard Aaron Thompson, and the Bulldogs’ offensive continuity continued to struggle, despite Kamar Baldwin leading all scorers with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jordan Tucker, Bryce Nze, and Bryce Golden chipped in 12 points apiece, and Sean McDermott added 10 points.
Providence held a 31-25 lead at the half, shooting 11-30 (36.7 percent) from the field, with Butler going 5-17 (29.4 percent). The Bulldogs’ five field goals in the first half is the fewest-made in a half this season, but were able to manufacture points at the free throw line, knocking down 14-19. Providence capitalized off of Butler’s 10 turnovers scoring 11 points, and outscored Butler’s bench 8-1 in the first 20 minutes.
Butler took a 43-41 lead with just over 12 minutes to play in the second half with a Bryce Nze dunk, but Providence fired back with an 8-0 run with back-to-back three’s from Luwane Pipkins. Pipkins led the Friars’ with 22 points, knocking down six free throws in the final seconds to clinch the road win. With 17 seconds remaining, Nze’s put-back brought Butler within one at 61-60, but free throws sealed the deal for Providence in the closing seconds.
A few key notes to acknowledge offensively for the Bulldogs is their consistently to thrive from beyond the arc, but lacked in this outing, going 1-14 (7.1%) from deep, and the Friars’ most important statistic was their bench productivity beating Butler’s, 27-1.
Next up, the Bulldogs will take on the No. 9 Villanova Wildcats at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 6:30 p.m.