The Providence Day Chargers held host Charlotte Latin without a field goal for the final 9 minutes, 32 seconds of the game and turned a tight affair into a comfortable 65-46 victory in a key CISAA game Wednesday night.
The game was hyped as a matchup between senior guards – Providence Day’s Jordan Watkins and Latin’s Rusty Riegel – who will be Davidson College teammates next season, but it was a trio of Providence Day sophomore big men who controlled much of the play.
Josh Howard scored a game-high 21 points, while Grant Williams had 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots to go with eight points and Isaac Johnson came off the bench to add 12 points and 10 rebounds for Providence Day (16-3 overall, 3-0 CISAA), fourth in the Observer Sweet 16, who won their seventh game in a row.
“That was our game plan, to try to get the ball inside,” Providence Day coach Brian Field said. “I thought we did a good job both getting the ball inside and being able to finish in traffic.”
Each team had spurts of offense in the first half that kept the game close. Providence Day went on a 13-0 run late in a five-minute stretch that spanned the first and second quarters to take a 23-11 run. But Latin (14-5, 1-1) responded by outscoring the Chargers 16-6 the rest of the quarter to cut the deficit to 29-27 at the break.
Providence Day began to extend its lead in the third, taking a 44-32 lead with 3:29 left, but Latin again answered, as back-to-back three-pointers by Joe Baynard and Rusty Riegel sparked an 8-0 run that cut the lead to 44-40.
But Riegel’s three with 1:32 left in the third was the Hawks’ last field goal of the game. Providence Day scored 17 of the game’s next 18 points keyed by Howard, who scored six points in a 58 second stretch.
“Coach got on us to get the ball inside, because we were struggling from outside,” Howard said. “We really worked hard on defense and were able to get some easy baskets off of that.”
The matchup of Riegel and Watkins was pretty much a draw, as Reigel scored 13 points for Latin while Watkins had 12 for Providence Day. Latin, who had its 10-game win streak snapped, was led in scoring by Baynard’s 15 points.
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