- Associated Press - Saturday, February 11, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence coach Ed Cooley looked at his team after an overtime loss on the road and decided it needed rest more than practice.

Giving his players two days off from running, Cooley told them to think about the little things that could help them win the game. They worked on free throws and had some fun shooting, instead.

“It was a gut feeling,” Cooley said Saturday after the Friars responded with a 71-65 victory over No. 22 Butler. “We’re in shape, but we need to be more energetic emotionally and physically. There was no need for us to run up and down the floor.”

Alpha Diallo scored 15 points, and Kyron Cartwright scored 14 as the Friars won for the second time in six games. Three days after an overtime loss to Seton Hall in which Cartwright played 42 minutes, the Friars (15-11, 5-8 Big East) overcame 32 percent shooting in the first half to pull away in the second.

Diallo missed both of his shots in the first half and scored all of his points in the second.

“My teammates never let me feel down for myself,” he said. “Second half, they just told me to keep playing, keep working. I told them the same thing.”

Nate Fowler scored a career-high 19 points and Kamar Baldwin had 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who have lost three of their last four games. Fowler made his first seven shots for Butler (19-6, 8-5), which was even worse in the first half with 31 percent shooting.

“We know this is a process, a daily process. I think our guys for the most part do a good job ignoring the noise,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “You don’t have to be a college basketball savant to know teams get beat up (in the Big East). … This may not be our last one.”

Providence trailed for most of the game before Cartwright scored six straight points midway through the second half - a 3-pointer and three free throws - to tie it 47-all. It was 61-60 Friars when they scored the next eight points - including Diallo’s free throws when Holtmann was whistled for a technical.


Butler was as high as No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25 before back-to-back home losses to Georgetown and Creighton. The Bulldogs rebounded with a win at Marquette on Tuesday, but the loss to Providence could knock them out of the rankings.


Kelan Martin, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, and Tyler Lewis started on the bench for second straight game. Martin finished with eight points on 3-for-11 shooting - going 0 for 4 from 3-point range - with five rebounds and three turnovers.

Avery Woodson and Kethan Savage got the start. Savage had 13 points, and Woodson scored two with two rebounds.


Fowler and Savage were the only Butler players to shoot better than 50 percent. Fowler made his first seven, going 3 for 3 from 3-point range in the second half after the Bulldogs missed all eight from beyond the arc in the first.

The 6-foot-10 sophomore gave credit to his teammates.

“If I’m there, I just took the team’s best shot,” he said.


At halftime, Providence introduced the new members of its hall of fame, including ESPN analyst Doris Burke, who was a basketball star for the Friars; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello; and hockey hall of famer Cammi Granato. The others were basketball players Otis Thorpe and Bruce “Soup” Campbell and hockey’s Ron Wilson.


Butler: Hosts St. John’s on Wednesday.

Providence: Hosts No. 24 Xavier on Wednesday.


More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org

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