National Basketball Association
Providence 97, Fairfield 56
When: 2:00 PM ET, Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Where: Alumni Hall (RI), Providence, Rhode Island
Officials: # John Gaffney, # Brian Dorsey, # Evan Burroughs
Attendance: N/A

Nate Watson scored a career-high 23 points to lead five Friars in double figures as Providence beat Fairfield 97-56 in the season opener for both teams Wednesday at Alumni Hall in Providence, R.I.

David Duke, like Watson an all-Big East preseason selection, had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. A.J. Reeves (14 points), Noah Horchler (11) and Ed Croswell (10) also scored in double figures for the Friars, who shot 48.6 percent from the field.

Watson, who scored 15 of his points in the first half, added a game-high 10 rebounds for the Friars, who are 34-5 all-time against Fairfield. Watson made 8 of 11 shots from the field.

Taj Benning and Jalen Leach each had 10 points to lead the Stags, who shot 37.3 percent from the floor. Fairfield is now 0-10 all-time at Alumni Hall.

Fairfield took its largest lead, 11-6, with 13:54 left in the first half on Leach's 3-pointer. But, capped by a Watson dunk, the Friars responded with a 31-12 run to go up 37-23 with four minutes to go.

Two early fouls limited Duke to 10 first-half minutes, but he hit two treys to help the Friars take a 41-29 halftime lead.

Watson capped his day with two free throws with 5:35 left to put Providence up 82-44. The 6-foot-10, 260-pound big man, who had scored 21 points four other times, recorded his second career double-double.

Nine of the 10 Friars who played scored for Providence, which had 21 assists on 34 baskets. Providence hit 7 of 16 shots from deep (43.8 percent) while the Stags missed 13 of their 15 long-range shots.

The Stags committed 15 turnovers, which led to 21 Providence points.

Providence had a 44-30 edge in rebounding and outscored the Stags 50-32 in the paint. The Friars are slated to host Indiana on Monday.

The Stags, whose reserves were outscored 33-23, are scheduled to visit Stony Brook on Saturday.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Fairfield   Providence
Taj Benning 10 Scoring Nate Watson 23
Caleb Green 4 Assists Jared Bynum 8
Tshiefu Ngalakulondi 8 Rebounds Nate Watson 10
Jalen Leach 5 Free Throws Made Nate Watson 7
Jalen Leach 2 Steals Brycen Goodine 3
Tshiefu Ngalakulondi 2 Blocks Greg Gantt 1
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Fairfield 56 37.3 2-15 16-24 6 26 2 3 15
Providence 97 48.6 7-16 22-29 21 42 3 7 7