After a week which saw them drop games to one of the best teams in the country (Duke), and the worst team in the Big East (Creighton), St. John's picked up a big win at Madison Square Garden against the Providence Friars by a score of 75-66. The game taught us some things about each team. Here is what we learned.
When St. John's gets it going, they're near impossible to beat
I said the same thing after their loss to Duke. If the Red Storm can get consistent scoring out of Phil Greene, Sir'Dominic Pointer, Rysheed Jordan, and D'Angelo Harrison, they're the best team in the conference. That happens very rarely, though, which is an issue for the Johnnies. Today they all scored in double digits which contributed to the victory. St. John's was also aided, at least in the first half, by great defense against Providence's two scoring threats -- Ladontae Henton and Kris Dunn. Dunn and Henton combined for just 10 points at the half. They finished the game with a combined 32, thanks, largely, to Kris Dunn's offensive output in the second half. But the deficit was too much to overcome.
Providence is a good team, but sometimes you're just going to get beat
Kris Dunn played well, LaDontae Henton was a bit less than average, and Carson Desrosiers had a nice game, yet the Friars still lost. Why? Because sometimes in conference play that'll happen. You can do (mostly) everything right and still get beat. That's why it's so hard for teams to go undefeated. There are so many variables in this league. One thing Providence could have done, however, was abandon the three. It wasn't working for them and yet they kept going back to it time and time again resulting in a 3-14 performance from long range. They also only hit one field goal in the final seven minutes of the game.
At the end of the day, this game was more important to St. John's than Providence
It's not arguable, really. Providence is safely in the Tournament right now. St. John's, before they lost to Creighton, was in Joe Lunardi's "First Four Out". If the Red Storm want to be playing deep into March, this is the first step in the right direction, but they're going to need to continue to roll off some wins.