Can You Believe It: Friars Stun No. 1 Pitt, 81-73

Ryan BurnsAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2009

I tried to pick myself up off of the hardwood floor when I saw a security guard, a woman in her mid-40's, on the ground right next to me. Riot? Hardly.

As we both struggled to get to our feet, the rabid Friar faithful were still rampaging onto the court at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, celebrating the school's first win over a top-ranked team in over 30 years.

Providence simply got it done last night, and played their most complete game of the season.  Stopping DeJuan Blair is never easy, but the stingy Providence defense, which has been non-existent thus far shut him down with great ball pressure and body positioning. 

It was an emotional Senior Night that saw Weyinmi Efejuku, Geoff McDermott, Jon Kale, Randall Hanke, and Jeff Xavier play their last home game as Friars. Fans were excited, but no one could have expected this.

The Friars did not trail once during the game and took a 20-point lead with 17 minutes left in the game. The trigger-happy Friars did a great job controlling the clock with the lead, keeping the ball out of the hands of Pitt's tough offense. 

The entire team played well throughout the game, as Efejuku netted 16 points, going 9-10 from the Free Throw line down the stretch to help the Friars preserve their lead.

PC controlled the tempo of the game, and by the time the second half rolled around, Pitt was jacking up threes and taking ill-advised shots to simply try to get back in the game. The Panthers however, turned the ball over 18 times, to the Friars' nine, which ended up being the story of the game.   

This team, and these players have seen more than their fair share of criticism since stepping on PC's campus four years ago, but now, they are back in the NCAA tournament conversation, depending on how they perform down the stretch.

The Friars played their absolute best when it mattered most, and stunned a team that most people thought would massacre the Friars. None of that matters now, as the Friars greatly improved their NCAA tournament resume.

If they can win at Rutgers and Nova, and then take a game or two in the NCAA tournament, they will be dancing in March. I will never forget last night's game, as it will live on in the annals of Friar basketball history.

Hey, the sweetness of victory makes getting stampeded not seem so bad.