#15 Providence Friars 86 (19-2)
St. John’s Red Storm 82 (11-9)
Although I don’t want to dawn Al Durham with the “Mariano Rivera” title that Ed Cooley gave him since I’m a Red Sox fan, I will say that I don’t think I’ve been as confident with someone on the Friars closing out a game with free throws than I am with him. Durham was 12/13 from the line but a perfect 8/8 in the last two minutes to secure the win for Providence at Carnesecca Arena. Let’s not get into how St. John’s never plays Providence at MSG. That’s a fight for another day.
Four players finished in double-digit scoring with Jared Bynum leading the way off the bench. Bynum (19), Nate Watson (16), Durham (14), and Noah Horchler (14) led a balanced attack to help Providence improve their record to 19-2 and 9-1 in conference play. Despite the absolute monster effort from St. John’s’ Posh Alexander, the Friars were able to pull away down the stretch with their vastly superior foul shooting and ability to close out close games.
- Sorry Kyra Sedgwick, but Al Durham is…The Closer.
- Despite going 1/10 from the field, Durham was able to bee one of the main factors for the Friars being able to pull this one out on the road. For someone only making a single field goal from the floor, the Indiana transfer was still able to record 14 points due to his impressive performance at the line.
- Jared Bynum continues to be a monster off the bench, leading the Friars in scoring with 19 points and some truly great shots throughout the game.
- Bynum was 5/8 from the floor including going 4/5 from three and a perfect 5/5 from the line.
- Bynum and Durham each dished out 4 assists for Providence as well.
- Nate Watson was able to be the go-to guy when the Friars needed buckets and took over the game for stretches at a time.
- Watson scored 16 points on 5/11 shooting but I would like to see a few more makes than his 6/11 tally from the line. He’s capable of it and it would have given us a nice little cushion to play with. Either way, he showed out when the team needed it.
- Noah Horchler matched Bynum with 4 made threes and contributed 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals (and a block and assist) to the team effort.
- Horchler’s 4 steals tied a career-high that he set against NJIT in the 2018-2019 season.
- Once again…Ed Croswell was perfect from the floor, going 4/4 on the night for 8 points in just 13 minutes. This is the 8th time this season that Croswell has not missed a shot in a game where he has taken a shot. He is 26/26 in those 8 games.
- A.J. Reeves still looks like he’s getting his feet back under him. He did hit a three but I think they are still trying to find the right combination of minutes for everyone since he came back to the line.
- Alyn Breed only played one minutes but he had a nice bucket that I hope carries over for him.
- The announcers kept trying to say that Justin Minaya fell asleep on different defensive assignments but some of those assumptions were just completely off. Minaya finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 steals, and a block. He did have an uncharacteristic team-high 4 turnovers that I don’t see happening again anytime soon.
- Posh Alexander played the best game I’ve seen him play in his time in the Big East. Alexander is known for his defensive prowess after becoming just the 4th Freshman to ever receive Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors last year, but he got into a zone at one point where everything he shot was going in. He also knew he was in that zone and starting straight attacking at will.
- Alexander finished with 29 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Both his 29 points and 12 assists were career-highs.
- One of my favorite non-Friar Big East players to watch, Aaron Wheeler, played a great game as well, going 7/11 from the floor for 17 points.
- The fact that both Wheeler and Alexander weren’t starting for most of the season is insane. This was only Wheeler’s 5th start of the season and Alexander’s 17th in 21 games. Someone needs to explain that to me. Another thing, why is St. John’s still playing 10 guys every single game? I know they like to put some presses on during the game but they really need to tighten up that rotation STAT.
- Julian Champagnie, who, full disclosure, I picked as my Big East Pre-Season Player of the Year, recorded his 4th straight game in single-digit scoring. If the Johnnies are going to do anything with the season, they need him AT LEAST in double-digits.
- Also, my man was going for the Nelly band aid look during the game.
- Psst, hey Mike Anderson, Joel Soriano freaking stinks. 21 minutes, 0 points, 5 fouls.
- St. John’s is in the bottom 5% of all NCAA teams in foul shooting, 341st out of 358. In conference play, they have actually been even worse, shooting just 59.12%, which would put them 2nd to last in the country for a full season, behind only Sam Houston State at 58.6%. If they could just shoot decently from the line, they would solve a lot of their problems.
- Sidenote, I like this…
Next up, the Friars stay on the road and face the 0 conference win Georgetown Hoyas on Sunday at noon on FS1.