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Providence survives Red Storm, 61-57

The Friars have put themselves in good position heading into postseason play at 19-12 (10-8 Big East)

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Providence entered Saturday’s matchup with St. John’s in need of a win help their tournament resume. The Johnnies on the other hand were shorthanded to say the least, missing Shamorie Ponds and Kassoum Yakwe in addition to their multitude of other absences. Pending a run in the Big East Tournament next week, St. John’s is out of the NCAA Tournament field, so this game meant much more for the Friars. You wouldn’t have known that from the looks of this one.

First Half

Neither side got off to a hot start, as it was just 4-2 at the first media timeout. Providence had 3 turnovers and 2 field goals in that span. 9 minutes into this one, both teams were shooting under 40% and had a combined 9 turnovers.

The Providence woke up from their early slump (1/7 FG) thanks to Isaiah Jackson providing a nice spark off the bench. He came in and chipped in 4 quick points, but the Johnnies were able to find their flow as well. The early shades of a rock fight had worn off.

Tariq Owens was a major part of that, as the St. John’s 7-footer had 8 of the Red Storm’s first 15 points, including 2 three pointers.

Both teams exchanged a few inevitable multi-minute-scoring droughts, but Maliek White really really paced the Friars with energy and aggression off the bench. He finished the half with 6 points in 13 minutes.

Providence went into halftime leading 26-25, but they certainly didn’t look like a team trying to cement their place in the NCAA Tournament. They were 0/7 from beyond the arc with 10 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Second Half

The turnovers continued to start the second half, but the Friars were managing to take advantage of them, while St. John’s struggled to deal with Providence freshman Nate Watson. He had 7 points in the first 7 minutes of the half.

Providence’s defense seemed to be wearing down the limited St. John’s lineup. It was evident that their seven-man rotation was running out of steam. The Friars stretched their lead to 13 with 12 minutes left in the half, setting a tempo that the Red Storm simply couldn’t keep up with.

In what felt like an offensive struggle for both sides, Providence was suddenly shooting over 50% for the game.

As they extended their lead however, Providence began to settle, and the Red Storm cut the deficit back to 5 with 5:33 remaining. The Friars went 8 minutes without a field goal, and St. John’s was taking full advantage. They locked down on the defensive end as well, pushing Providence into some careless turnovers.

The Friars were fortunate that St. John’s was careless with the ball, as 9 second half turnovers from the Red Storm allowed Providence to stay above water.

Game Notes

  • The Friars were led by Rodney Bullock, as the senior finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds in his final game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Kyron Cartwright and Alpha Diallo each had 10 of their own.
  • Marvin Clarke led St. John’s with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Bashir Ahmed, Tariq Owens, and Justin Simon all finished in double figures.
  • Providence finished 1 for their final 12 from the field.
  • The two teams combined for 35 turnovers.
  • The Friars had 25 free throw attempts compared to the Red Storm’s 10.
  • Providence attendance note: