Providence Beats Xavier After Delay

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The game that almost didn’t get to finish 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 because of slippery conditions. Leaks from the ceiling at the arena in Providence, R.I., had caused water to fall onto the court. Play resumed after a delay exceeding 10 minutes.

Then came 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 largest lead before they clinched a 99-92 victory.

Providence (23-3, 13-2 Big East) took one more step toward winning its first regular-season Big East title, while Xavier (17-10, 7-9), having entered the game widely projected as an N.C.A.A. tournament team despite a recent skid, lost for the fifth time in six games.

Standing water on the roof was believed to have caused the problem, Bob Driscoll, Providence’s athletic director, told CBS Sports, which broadcast the game. Once play resumed, for a brief period managers ran onto the court with towels while action continued at the other end.

“Whatever it was, it worked,” Providence Coach Ed Cooley said in his postgame news conference.

Xavier led, 66-63, at the stoppage but lost its advantage after a 4-0 run by the Friars. After a jumper by Providence’s Al Durham tied the game with 23 seconds left, Xavier’s Adam Kunkel missed a jump shot with three seconds left to send the game to 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 upcourt and made a 3-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer to force the third overtime.

“We just had no gas in our legs to try to foul,” Cooley said. “With six seconds left, it’s almost automatic. And we just couldn’t catch him.”

Bynum led all scorers with 27 points, and Durham, Providence’s second-leading scorer, added 13 before fouling out in the 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, unseasonably warm in the morning and afternoon before a precipitous temperature drop, the weather change created condensation on the court from the ice surface beneath it. The arena also hosts the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins.

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

Providence does not face this problem exclusively. In 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers had to postpone a game against the Sacramento Kings because of a wet court after the Flyers had a home game the previous night.

But Wednesday needed no postponement or change of venue, and Providence, with its third overtime win of the season, continued its march to the N.C.A.A. tournament.


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