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St. John's gets a crucial win at home against Providence, 75-66

In a must win game, the Johnnies knock off the first place Friars.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

It was desperation time for St. John's (14-7, 3-5) on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden and the team answered the calling card with a season sweep of Providence (16-6, 6-3), winning 75 to 66.

D'Angelo Harrison, 15 points on 5 for 12 from the field, was a non-factor for much of the afternoon but hit two critical three's down the stretch. Sir'Dominic Pointer added 20 points, 7 boards and 5 assists while Phil Greene put up 16 points.

Rysheed Jordan, 14 points and only 1 turnover, did not show any ill effects of a knee injury but did not start due to disciplinary reasons. He did end up playing heavy minutes though.

This game was almost exactly like the previous showdown at the Dunkin Donuts Center earlier in the season. St. John's opened up a big lead before the half. The Friars went on a mid-second half run and then St. John's countered with a punch to finish the game.

The Johnnies had a strong effort in the first half as they controlled the paint against a Friars team that has two seven footers. They out-rebounded Providence by five and scored four more points inside the colored area. The Red Storm also forced the Friars into taking more outside shots than they were comfortable taking.

St. John's went into the break with a 44-32 lead thanks to Sir'Dominic Pointer, who hit his first three pointer of the season before the buzzer expired.

In second halves during this conference season, the Red Storm have really struggled due to their lack of depth. On Saturday, they again squandered a double-digit lead with Kris Dunn scoring nine points in the first four minutes but Chris Obekpa, 6 blocks and 10 rebounds, was a force in the paint and the energy defensively was high.

The Johnnies stayed out of foul trouble and knocked down their shots, 48 percent from the field.

Dunn, who was coming off a triple double against DePaul, scored 23 points, dished out only 1 assist and turned the ball over 4 times. The leading scorer for the Friars, LaDontae Henton, only scored 13 points and shot 2 for 14 from the field.

Next up for the Johnnies is a trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse where they will play the Butler Bulldogs (15-6, 5-3). Butler knocked off St. John's by only four earlier in conference play at Carnesecca Arena so Tuesday night's game should be another entertaining match-up.