After taking two steps forward, St. John’s once again took a big step tonight on the road in Friartown, as the Providence Friars easily routed the Red Storm by a score of 78-59 to sweep the season series.
Providence was able to jump out to a lead early on and from there build on it, especially as St. John’s tried to make it a foul-for-foul affair to pull their opponents out of rhythm.
It did not work and instead had the offset effect of the Johnnies getting frustrated early on and pulling themselves out of the game with bad fouls and poor shooting. Capitalizing on that allowed for the Friars to keep going as St. John’s disappointed. For their efforts, the Friars had four players tonight finish the game in double figures. One, in the case of Alpha Diallo, had himself a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He led in rebounds and was second on the team in points behind Nate Watson who had 21 points. Rounding out the scoring were two 11-point efforts from Maliek White and Isaiah Jackson. Both Watson and Jackson were one rebound short of a double-double, which would have furthered the Friars’ rout tonight.
On the St. John’s side of things there is not much positive to take away from this game. Shamorie Ponds had another bad outing. He looked lost at times and generally struggled to get things going when he was on the floor. Ponds did have five assists but most came in the first half, and was generally silent for the rest of the game save for the four points he scored. Marvin Clark II was another non-factor, as he was already in foul trouble halfway through the first half and fouled out barely with three minutes into the second half. This happened with a course of action that had him getting his fourth foul and then right way away his fifth and final of the game on a technical Rounding things out, Mustapha Heron had a good start but faded down the stretch in this one.
The bright spot though was once again LJ Figueroa, who scored 16 points and once again looked all around solid. Justin Simon also had a 10 point game and Marcellus Earlington was a surprise this one with 10 points, as the bench got more play time in this one due to the nature of the game.
It was a big rebound win by the Friars following back-to-back losses against the Villanova Wildcats and their fellow cellar dwellers, the Xavier Musketeers. The win coupled with Georgetown’s win earlier against Villanova means that the Big East is open again at the top of the standings. This loss brings St. John’s back to a .500 record in conference and leaves the door wide open for the rest of conference to get into that 3rd place spot, or the more likely scenario of a multi-team tie.