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Providence Defeats St. John’s 74-57, Will Meet Villanova In Semifinal Round Of Big East Tournament

Providence moves on to play the number one seed in the Big East Tournament, Villanova.




St. John’s came into the Big East Tournament looking to cement their spot in the NCAA Tournament. While many pundits believe that the Red Storm is a lock for “The Big Dance”, others believe that they must win at least one more Big East game to really be considered in for Selection Sunday. Going against a Providence Friars team, who also may need a win or even two to get into the NCAA Tournament themselves, and many were looking at this game as a possible Game of the Day candidate.

To the surprise of most, this Big East quarterfinal game did not turn out the way many expected. St. John’s went down to Providence 74-57 in a game where the Red Storm may have had one of their worst shooting days this season.

St. John’s (21-11) zoomed ahead as D’Angelo Harrison scored five of the Red Storm’s first seven points to take a 7-2 lead. From that point forward, the lights went out and the St. John’s offense stopped cold as they were unable to run any resemblance of a proficient offense against the Friars. St. John’s, who averages 71 points per game, was held without a field goal for a stretch of over eight minutes where they turned the ball over six times and shot 0-of-13 from the field.

“I think any time you play against a transition team, you want to try to get them to play against a set defense,” said Providence coach Ed Cooley. “It’s really hard to score against a set defense.”

Providence (22-10) for their part began to go inside and dominate the paint as they finished the game with 36-16 advantage in points in the paint. Even with the returning Chris Obekpa inside for St. John’s, the Friars were relentless inside. While the inside offense was clicking for Providence, they also were able to win the rebounding battle out rebounding St. John’s 49-36 with 18 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. LaDontae led the Friars with 12 rebounds to go with game-high 20 points to lead Providence. Co- Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn added 17 points and 11 assists for the Friars who defeated St. John’s for the first time in three tries this year.

The Johnnies began to make a run in the early stages of the second half cutting the Friar lead to eight with 17:00 minutes to go. Similar to the first half, St. John’s went cold once again and leading scorer Harrison (17.8 ppg) could not find a rhythm for his shots after a hot start and ended with seven points. A 10-3 Providence run put the lead at 61-43 and St. John’s could not recover from the deficit.

Leading the Red Storm in scoring was Rysheed Jordan who finished with 18 points. St. John’s shot only 31 percent from the field and was 6-of-21 from three-point range.

For St. John’s, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has them in the NCAA Tournament as a number seven seed in the Midwest region. Based on this game, there is no question that their seeding possibly could take a hit from the selection committee this weekend. With that said, they will see postseason basketball and could be dangerous in the early part of the tourney.

Providence moves on to play the number one seed in the Big East Tournament Villanova in the first of two games Friday night. The Wildcats won both meetings against Providence this season, including an 18-point win in their last meeting last month.

“We’re excited to play tomorrow. We know we’re playing a juggernaut,” said Cooley. “I’m pretty sure no one in this room is giving us a chance. We’ve been in this position before. We’re going to do everything we can to continue to advance.”

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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