Three games into the season, Providence coach Ed Cooley’s excitement level is already in midseason form.
The Friars coach was thrilled with his team’s recent win at Wisconsin, and he hopes the squad can author a similar performance Thursday when it hosts New Hampshire in nonconference action.
Providence held Wisconsin to 32.8 percent shooting last Thursday, including 5-of-27 from 3-point range, in a 63-58 road victory. Nate Watson led the team with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting as the Friars (3-0) remained undefeated on the young season.
“I’m in my 28th year coaching and this is one of the better wins we’ve had,” Cooley said. “I thought we showed resilience and I thought we were really tough.”
Watson, a member of the preseason All-Big East team, is averaging 20 points and 7.3 rebounds so far. Al Durham (14.3 points) and A.J. Reeves (10.3) are also scoring in double-figures.
That trio likely will be the focus of the defensive game plan for New Hampshire (1-1), which played Marquette tough on the road its last time out before falling 75-70. The Wildcats trailed by one in the final 30 seconds before the Golden Eagles made 4-of-4 foul shots down the stretch.
Jayden Martinez led the team with 21 points and Nick Guadarrama chipped in 15. Each of them made four 3-pointers and contributed eight rebounds in the near-upset.
“I am really proud of our guys about how hard we played. The guys competed and played well,” New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion said. “Jayden Martinez and Nick Guadarrama were terrific, and then you are in a possession game down the stretch, and you have to make some plays. They made a few more plays than us and got to the line more than we did.”
Martinez (20.5 points) is the Wildcats’ leading scorer through two games, followed by Guadarrama (14.0) and Qon Murphy (10.0).
Providence holds a 15-1 advantage in the all-time series, although the teams haven’t met since 2016, when the Friars topped the Wildcats 76-62.
–Field Level Media