After a difficult loss against Creighton in a tough environment on the road, the Johnnies returned home and they needed to pick up a victory. Falling to 2-6 in the Big East would not have been a good look for a team that started 0-5 last year, before going on a conference run and ultimately falling short of their goal.
Not only does 3-5 look a whole lot better than 2-6 but Providence sports wins over Notre Dame and Miami in the non-conference while beating Georgetown and Butler, on the road, in conference. To sweep a team that has been one of the stronger teams in the 2nd ranked conference in the country is a huge achievement for the Johnnies and it will go a long way for their resume come March.
While the panic meter was at a season high following the Creighton loss, the Johnnies potential have brought some more hope and thought to what it would be like for this team to make their first NCAA Tournament since 2011.
Sir'Dominic Pointer continues to roll
Pointer continues to be the X-factor and the most important player on this St. John's roster. When Pointer is putting up his monster stat lines and is igniting the team with his monstrous dunks, the team seems to play with more energy and more of a sense of urgency.
"Dom's going to win the player of the year award, for us for sure," Harrison said.
The guard playing power forward is averaging 12.2 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game and what is most impressive is he's shooting 52 percent from the field.
Providence head coach Ed Cooley called Pointer "superman" yesterday and said that he made "a monumental jump" similar to one of his own players, Kris Dunn.
Lavin loves this team
Despite losing six of eight, the issues involving Rysheed Jordan, and the injuries, Steve Lavin has remained very positive and continues to say that this team is capable of making a run, not only to make the tournament, but to be successful in the Big Dance.
"All along, I've really liked this basketball team," Lavin said following the game on Saturday. "To the start, to the middle, and to where we are now, I've never come off being bold on what a special group this is. This is maybe the best company in my coaching career. I really like the character of this group."
That is a strong endorsement for a team that is 3-5 in conference play but it does show that Lavin is confident that this season won't fall off the rails.
Lavin credits the improvement during the losing stretch to maturity and strides that have been made in practice.
Jordan shows no issues with the knee
Rysheed Jordan came into Saturday's match-up against Providence with a sore knee but he seemed to be just fine as he played a critical role in the win.
Jordan played solid defense on Dunn forcing him to turn the ball over four times, including a steal late in the second half that sealed the game. On the offensive end, his mid-range jump shot was clicking and the point guard played under control, only turning it over once.
If Jordan keeps this focus and energy, he is in for a special rest of the season because he certainly has the talent to distribute the ball as well as get any shot he would like due to his athleticism and size.
The Johnnies will play at Hinkle Fieldhouse against the Butler Bulldogs. Butler defeated Marquette in overtime on Saturday and are ranked in the Top 25. They beat the Johnnies at home at the beginning of January.