Providence defeats Xavier after a delay

The game that almost didn’t end suddenly didn’t want to end. With 2 minutes 43 seconds remaining in the second half of the men’s basket...


The game that almost didn’t end suddenly didn’t want to end.

With 2 minutes 43 seconds remaining in the second half of the men’s basketball game between No. 11 Providence and Xavier on Wednesday night, officials halted play due to slippery conditions. Leaks from the ceiling of the arena in Providence, RI, had caused water to fall onto the field. Play resumed after a delay of more than 10 minutes.

Then came the overtime. Then a second extra period. And then a third.

Finally, with 31.5 seconds left in the third overtime, Providence’s Jared Bynum beat Xavier’s zone defense with a deep 3-pointer to give the Friars their biggest lead before securing a 99-92 win.

Providence (23-3, 13-2 Big East) moved closer to winning its first regular-season Big East title, while Xavier (17-10, 7-9), having entered the game wide projected as an NCAA Tournament team despite a recent slip-up, losing for the fifth time in six games.

Standing water on the roof is believed to have caused the problem, Bob Driscoll, athletic director of Providence, told CBS Sports, which broadcast the game. Once play resumes, for a brief period managers ran on the pitch with towels while the action continued on the other end.

“Whatever it was, it worked,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said at his post-match press conference.

Xavier led, 66-63, from a stoppage but lost his advantage after a 4-0 run from the Brothers. After an Al Durham jumper from Providence tied the game with 23 seconds left, Adam Kunkel from Xavier missed a jump shot with three seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Providence had a chance to seal a victory in the second overtime, but Alyn Breed’s missed free throw with 6.6 seconds left kept the margin at 3 points. Xavier’s Paul Scruggs grabbed the rebound, sprinted up and made a 3-pointer from left wing at the buzzer to force the third overtime.

“We just didn’t have gas in our legs to try to foul,” Cooley said. “With six seconds remaining, it’s almost automatic. And we just couldn’t catch it.

Bynum led all scorers with 27 points, and Durham, Providence’s second-leading scorer, added 13 before fouling out in second overtime. Kunkel led the Musketeers with 20 points, and Colby Jones and Jack Nunge had double-doubles.

The teams avoided the fate of a February 2018 game also at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

On a similar day, unusually warm in the morning and afternoon before a precipitous drop in temperature, the change in weather created condensation on the ground from the ice surface below. The arena is also home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins.

Seton Hall and Providence had to play the rest 13:03 the next day at Alumni Hall, the on-campus music box that had never hosted a Big East men’s basketball game.

Providence is not exclusively confronted with this problem. In 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers had to postpone a game against the Sacramento Kings due to a wet court after the Flyers played a home game the night before.

But Wednesday needed no postponement or change of venue, and Providence, with its third overtime win of the season, continued its march to the NCAA Tournament.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Providence defeats Xavier after a delay
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