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Friars Feel the Love With Valentine’s Day Upset Over Villanova

Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY

It’s poetic beauty that the Friars beat Villanova on Valentine’s Day because the win against Wildcats is exactly how new fans become fans for life and veterans of the team remember what they love about the Friars.

Providence’s win over Villanova was a thriller in a wide range. If you watched the game or even read the recap you might hear about Rodney Bullock turning into NBA Jam’s Scottie Pippen; or Kyron Cartwright picking up a fourth foul early and still playing in the game; or Jalen Lindsey hitting big shots when it mattered; or the best defense the Friars have played all year.

Here’s what you won’t hear about: the students showing up an hour early and packing both sections to the brim, every one of them donning the pink shirt left for them on their seat. The focus and optimism of a fanbase who just witnessed possibly the worst home loss of the season against DePaul just a few days earlier. The no-quit attitude from players and fans when Providence went on a huge scoring drought for most of the first half, or when Villanova tried (and failed) to make comeback runs in the second half multiple times. And it’s a shame you won’t read about these stories, because these are the games that bring out the best in Providence as a program as a fanbase.

Confidence rose among the fans as the clock dwindled and Providence answered every punch Villanova had with a counter of their own. The fans remained standing and loud in the Dunk. The students were relentless. On Twitter and Scout and Reddit the posts were flying a mile a minute in hopeful optimism. And that optimism bubbled over into outpouring support when the buzzer sounded – literally. The students did not hesitate and stormed the court almost as immediately as the game officially ended.

This, of course, only brought nostalgia to many fans my age who remember being on the court when the Friars downed top-ranked Pitt during the 2008-2009 season. The same rush of excitement, the same energy, and the same memories. I had tweeted something about this and got some great responses and stories.

These are the nights that make lifelong fans. For many students, this was that moment, just as the Pitt game had been that moment for me. Now, however, games like this remind us all of why we love the Providence Friars in the first place. There’s a solidarity and commitment in the fanbase that I truly believe you can’t get anywhere else. It’s something special, and something you don’t give up or forget.

It has not been the easiest season. There have been some serious lows even as recent as last weekend. Fans have been excited, optimistic, frustrated, and uncertain of this team. However, games like these are the reason that fans never truly give up on the Friars.

And the poetic beauty of it happening on Valentine’s Day? It comes right out of a movie.