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Game Preview: Providence vs. a St. John's team in need of a win

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The end might be coming sooner rather than later for St. John's (9-7, 0-4). Despite the disappointment to this point, the games still have to be played and the Johnnies must show something - for pride, to maintain hope and for a chance at any postseason.

It is way too early to just throw away the season. Like fourth year head coach Steve Lavin stated before the Villanova game, "it is a privilege not a right, to play college basketball."

The good news is there is a chance to get some momentum here as the Providence Friars (11-5, 1-2) come to Queens to play at Carnesecca Arena, where the Red Storm are 6-0 this season.

This will be the two schools' 101st game; St. John's holds the all-time advantage 57-43.  This matchup can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and will be called by Justin Kutcher and Ron Thompson.

Scouting St. John's

St. John's hasn't played at Carnesecca Arena in nearly a month, and boy what a month it has been.

It started with almost blowing a double digit lead at the Barclays Center against Columbia, and ended with a loss at DePaul which seemed to be the last straw for fans in the SJU community.  The Johnnies against DePaul were held without a field goal for the remaining 4:35 in the second half.

Mix that in with getting dominated in the second half at Xavier, an embarrassment at Georgetown, and bad play down the stretch against Villanova and that gives you an 0-4 start in league play.

It is time for St. John's to show some resiliency and actually create a positive impact - and get out of the Big East cellar.

Although pre-season projections don't mean much, DePaul was projected to be last, and St. John's was projected to be middle of the pack with Providence right behind them. Both of these teams are at the bottom of the conference, but you could say both are trending in different directions. Can St. John's turn the narrative around, starting tonight?

Scouting Providence

The Friars, like the Johnnies have had an interesting last couple of games as well.

They went to Amherst and played #23 UMass to the ropes and lost in overtime. Overtime seems to be a recurring thing with Ed Cooley's Friars as three days later, they opened the Big East against Seton Hall and lost in double overtime.

"We need to find a way to not get down," Cooley said after that loss.

After a beatdown by Villanova, Providence did a great job bouncing back and going to a hostile environment and dominating Georgetown.  Like the Johnnies, Providence has struggled to finish off teams recently.

Returning Big East scroing champion, Bryce Cotton will be a player that can give St. John's problems.  He is a very underrated point guard who averages 20 points a game.  He leads the Big East with almost six assists per game.

Game Notes

D'Angelo Harrison now ranks 23rd in St. John's all-time scoring list. He passed Mark Jackson in the game against DePaul.

Providence sophomore lost Kris Dunn for the season with shoulder surgery. The 2012 McDonald's All-American is awaiting approval on his red-shirt eligibility.

Last time these two teams met at Carnesecca Arena, then freshman Maurice Harkless (SJU) scored a Big East debut record of 32 points in the 91-67 rout of the Friars.

Besides the 6'1" Cotton, the rest of the Providence rotation is 6'5" or taller.


I think this will be a close contest. Will St. John's finally put the dagger on a team when they are on the cusp of victory? Although St. John's hasn't showed signs of finishing teams off, I think Providence has a comeback but falls short on the last possession or two.

St. John's 70 Providence 68