The Providence Friars looked to continue their win streak to close out the season, but fell short of that losing 81-67 in Queens, NY vs St. Johns. Star freshman Posh Alexander was sidelined with a wrist injury, maybe giving Providence a little more hope before the game. Jimmy Nichols remained out for the Friars. Ed Cooley and the rest of their squad pray to see a return from their big man hopefully by the conference tournament if possible. The chance of seeing the Friars in the NCAA tournament this year does not look very promising as their only hope seems to be capturing a Big East Tournament Championship to punch a ticket.
The Friars started out with a great first half, going on a couple of good runs consisting of an early 7-0 run and starting the game strong in the paint starting off beating St. Johns early in that category. This was completely different from the first time these two met this season, when the Red Storm came into Alumni Hall and went on a scoring tear in the first half. The game of going on runs turned around quickly with a 10-2 St. Johns run. PC then came with an answer with a quick 8-0 run and then a 13-2 run to close out the half, showing an impressive offensive performance. David Duke was looking like himself in the first 20 minutes, he led with 13 points.
The story of the game though, was the second half. Providence led 41-30 on 50% shooting, but the game of runs continued in favor of the Red Storm in the 2nd half. Much more balanced scoring and all around better shooting was a leading factor in the second half that helped St. Johns run away with this one. St. Johns ended up going on their own 13-2 run at one point in the game and completely turned around their offensive mindset. They only had 2 fastbreak points in the first half, but got 21 fast break points in the second half. St. Johns was outscored in the paint 46-34, but was able to expose the Friars bench and force them to completely fall apart in the second half.
Nate Watson led the Friars with 19 points and 3 blocks, while David Duke pitched in 16, and Jared Bynum contributed 13. As much as Friar fans love to see stats like these and have a third guy add on to Duke and Watson’s scoring, they still need more from AJ Reeves and Noah Horchelor, as they shot a combined 4-16 from the field and a combined 1-13 from 3 point land. On the other side, Rasheem Dunn led St. Johns with his season high 21 points, Julian Champagnie had a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Greg Williams Jr. had 15 and Isaih Moore chipped in 10 off the bench.
The Providence Friars will look to avoid a losing season as they are now 12-12 on the season. St. Johns improves to 15-10 with high hopes for a tournament bid.
The Friars look to end their season with a bang as they will host the #10 ranked Villanova Wildcats, who will be without their star player Colin Gillespie who is now out for the season after suffering a torn MCL in his left knee.
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Providence’s final game of conference play before the Big East Tournament will be Saturday March 6th at 2:30pm ET on FOX.