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Mar 18, 2024 4:02 pm

Old rivals Boston College, Providence meet in NIT opener

quinten post

Providence and visiting Boston College, teams that were rivals when both played in the Big East, will face each other for the first time since 2018 when they meet in the opening round of the NIT on Tuesday night.

BC (19-15) enters the tournament with four wins in its last five games. The loss came against Virginia in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.

“Just really happy that our guys showed a lot of character and played hard and played together and played very connected,” BC coach Earl Grant said. “We came up short, but we played with a lot of energy, a lot of grit — very unselfish.”

The matchup will be BC’s first NIT appearance since it dropped a 79-62 decision at Western Kentucky in the opening round of the 2018 tournament.

“I feel like we deserve a shot to play in the NIT and I feel like we did enough to put ourselves in that spot,” Eagles center Quinten Post said. “There’s some unfinished business for us.”

Providence (21-13) won two games in the Big East tournament before it lost to Marquette 79-68 in the semifinals. Friars coach Kim English said he thought his team had done enough to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s what you earn,” English said. “If you don’t take care of those games (in the Big East tournament), you put yourself in a position to put your faith in someone else’s hands. That’s not where you want to be. It’s not where we’re going to be as a program. We want to be firmly in if we don’t take care of business in New York in the future.”

The Friars are playing in the NIT for the 21st time. They won the tournament in 1961 and 1963. BC is in the NIT field for the 13th time. The Eagles have never won the tournament but finished as the runner-up to Temple in 1969.

Providence earned a 100-95 overtime win at BC when the teams last met during the 2017-18 season. Tuesday’s game will be the second time BC and Providence have met in the NIT. The Friars won 75-58 at BC in 1993.

–Field Level Media

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