Against Villanova, Providence gets a taste of the upcoming big matches

Credit…Nick Wass / Associated Press

Cooley is the rare coach who has been around for a while.

Of course, to him, it was home. Cooley, 52, grew up in South Providence, in the same troubled neighborhood as Marvin Barnes. He starred for Central High and didn’t travel far to go to college – Stonehill College, just across the Massachusetts border – before embarking on a coaching career that brought him to Providence in 2011.

His teams play with the same straight face.

This edition just happens to be for the better. It’s also old – Reeves, the youngest starter, turns 23 in June – and it’s been active around the block, with five graduates and five transfers. The Monks are, so to speak, all-round journeyers, not excelling in any particular trait except for one: winning close-knit games.

They’ve won all nine games this season that have been decided by 5 points or less through Tuesday – an impressive portfolio that includes road wins over Wisconsin, Connecticut and Xavier, and previous home wins Texas Tech and Marquette. However, that balance in tense moments was absent against Villanova.

Cooley wonders where his defense is – “left behind on Eaton Street or in the dorms,” ​​he said – but he hopes that there are lessons to be learned for the final stretch of the season, Many lessons revolved around how Villanova performed with calm and precision when the atmosphere was lively and the game was in balance.

“They showed a lot of poise,” Cooley said of Villanova, whom he characterized as having blue blood in basketball. “This is a hostile environment like you would see in college basketball. My head is ringing, literally. ”

Cooley spoke shortly after the crowd left the arena. While he wants his players to learn from the game, he also wants them to think about the upcoming final weeks of the regular season, the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden and then the NCAA tournament. .

Message: There will be more games like the one they played on Tuesday.

“Last time I checked, the Monks were still in first place,” Cooley noted correctly. “So there’s a big picture there. As I just told our men, our worst day was a young man’s dream to be in that dressing room.” Against Villanova, Providence gets a taste of the upcoming big matches

Fry Electronics Team

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