St. John's was able to avoid a 0-4 start in conference play Wednesday night with a crucial win over Providence, 83-70, at the Dunkin Donuts Center. D'Angelo Harrison, who was included in the mid-season Wooden Award top 25, was dominant yet again, scoring 20 points. Phil Greene IV scored 20 points, on five three pointers, and Rysheed Jordan added 17 points and turned the ball over three times.
Jamal Branch did not play after suffering a hand injury that required eight stitches.
Branch's injury along with Chris Obekpa's early foul trouble forced the Red Storm to turn to Felix Balamou, Amar Alibegovic and Joey De La Rosa in the first half. Those three combined for six points in the opening half and gave the Johnnies the quality minutes they needed without dropping the intensity.
The Red Storm had one of their best shooting halves of the season in the opening half as they shot 55 percent overall and 61 percent from the beyond the three point line. They were up as many as 17 points at one point.
But in the second half, the Friars went on a huge run to overcome a 12-point halftime deficit thanks to improved energy and tight defense.
Providence got as close as three points but the Red Storm did not panic. Harrison started to take over the game. He scored 9 points in the second half and hit a critical mid-range jumper with 9:31 left to snap the Friars' run.
The starting five played almost the entire second half, with Balamou chipping in a few minutes, and that lineup played with more urgency than the Friars.
It's very difficult to win on the road in college basketball, especially in the Big East, but the Johnnies veteran toughness showed once again. They only turned the ball over 10 times and shot 51 percent in the game.
LaDontae Henton was the leader for the Friars with 22 points and Kris Dunn put up 17 points and dished out 10 assists.
The Friars only shot 56 percent from the free throw line and 29 percent from three.
Next up for the Johnnies is a trip to Chicago to face DePaul, who has lost two straight following a 3-0 start in the Big East.