Providence Friars 76 (16-7) – St. John’s Red Storm 86 (14-9)
You have to win games like this if you want to make the tournament at the end of the year, HAVE to. You need to beat teams that you’re supposed to beat. Especially when those games are at home. The Friar dug themselves an insurmountable whole in the first half (with 15 turnover to a season-low 5 for St. John’s), going down by 23 by the time the first 20 minutes were through.
Even with a long overdue second half surge that included a 16-0 run, Providence still could dig themselves all the way out of such a big deficit. Of course Cotton dropped in a spectacular 32 points but even that wasn’t enough to come back against a frisky St. John’s squad.
The Red Storm came out with noticeably more energy than the Friars and Providence couldn’t catch back up because it. With a full court press going from the start, St. John’s was able to force some lazy turnovers from a Friar team that only plays two guards to begin with. The rotations on defense tended to be a step late throughout the entire first half. Whenever the ball went to the middle and the big man stepped up to cover the man with the ball, the next rotation down to cover the baseline cutter was a step slow on almost every possession.
With the win, the Johnnies have now won 4 out of 5, with the one loss coming on a buzzer beating three-pointer from shoe-in All-American and his Herculean 39 point effort. Don’t sleep on St. John’s because the seem to be in every single game they play and they certainly don’t lack the confidence of a team expecting to win.
And with a first half effort like this, you get highlights that look like this.
Next Up: PC travels to Xavier on Saturday for a 3 PM tip on Fox Sports 1 (I love how I can find every Big East game on there…I know it as good for something).