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No. 20 Providence looks to stay perfect at home, welcomes Georgetown

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No. 20 Providence puts its 12-0 home record on the line when Georgetown visits Rhode Island’s capital city to continue Big East play on Wednesday night.

The Friars (17-6, 9-3 Big East) have had a week off since completing their third set of back-to-back road games in conference play, falling 85-83 in overtime at first-place and now-No. 13 Xavier on Feb. 1.

“I can’t wait to get back home, and I’m looking forward to a sold-out building. We’re going to need everything we can to get our 10th Big East win,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “Nothing to put our heads down about (after the Xavier loss). I’m very, very proud of our men.”

Against Xavier, graduate guard Noah Locke led Providence with 22 points on six 3-pointers, and redshirt senior forward Ed Croswell had 21 points and nine rebounds.

Sophomore Bryce Hopkins finished with a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double — his fourth in the last six games and ninth of the season.

Hopkins remains the Friars’ top producer with 16.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Graduate Jared Bynum, who has played the last three games after missing four in a row with a torso injury, became the 53rd player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points.

The Friars will benefit from the comforts of home down the stretch, playing five of their final eight games in Providence. Their three conference losses have come on the road against Creighton, Marquette and Xavier, all of which rose in or entered the AP Top 25 this week.

“We went into three of the more hostile environments in our league and competed at an elite level twice without (Bynum), who clearly showed (at Xavier) why he’s a first-team all-conference guard,” Cooley said. “It’s a long season. … Let’s look where we are somewhere in March.”

Georgetown (6-18, 1-12) has clinched a losing Big East record for the fourth consecutive season, but it took Connecticut down to the wire in Saturday’s 68-62 home loss.

The Hoyas led with 4:42 remaining but could not hold on, dropping their third straight since a Jan. 24 win over DePaul that ended a 29-game conference losing streak.

“I didn’t think we executed very well down the stretch,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said after his team’s second loss to UConn.

The Hoyas also fell 84-73 in December in Storrs, Conn.

On Saturday, sophomore Brandon Murray had a team-high 21 points along with three steals, four rebounds and two assists.

Junior Jay Heath (13 points) hit three of his five field goals from 3-point range in just his second game back from a left hand injury that required surgery. He has scored in double figures in nine of his 13 games.

“I thought he gave us a huge boost with his offense,” Ewing said of the Arizona State transfer. “We’re very happy that he’s back. We love what he’s doing for us.”

Georgetown’s leading scorer is sophomore Primo Spears (16.1 points per game), a Connecticut native who had five assists, a steal and two rebounds despite not scoring against the Huskies.

The Friars and Hoyas have not met this season.

Providence, which swept last year’s home-and-home set, will make a return trip to Washington, D.C., on Feb. 26. Bynum had 32 points in the Friars’ 71-52 road win on Feb. 6, 2022.

–Field Level Media

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