In another contest against a ranked opponent, St. John’s fell to Providence, 86-82.
From the get go, it was a physical contest. Julian Champagnie had to leave after 4 minutes to get some stiches over his right eyebrow. Anyone receiving a pass got a hard shove for good measure. Stylistically, the game favored Providence.
To make matters worse for St. John’s, the Friar zone defense gave the Johnnies fits. The Red Storm have struggled to shoot the ball from deep converting less that 29% of them over the past four games. Providence, as a result, pulled out a 2-3 zone for long stretches in the first half largely allowing St. John’s to shoot from deep, but the Red Storm were only 3 of 14 from beyond the arc in the first half.
In a gritty first half, the Red Storm’s grittiest player, Posh Alexander, was the closest thing to a bright spot for the Johnnies. Posh seemed particularly on edge when the team was pressing and quibbled with Director of Basketball Operations Chris Huey during a conversation from the sideline. Alexander saw the zone and drove into the teeth with success. The point guard finished the half with 10 points (5/9 FG, 0/2 3PT), 5 assists, and a pair of steals.
St. John’s had the chance to cut Providence’s lead to 4. Down 5, Providence’s Aljami Durham picked up both an intention and technical foul after hitting Dylan Addae-Wusu on a fastbreak. Addae-Wusu knocked down one of the two free throws then turned the ball over leading to Providence’s Jared Bynum getting fouled on a three point attempt. Instead of being down only 4, St. John’s went into the half down 40-32.
After a frustration first half, the Johnnies came out of halftime locked in. The press was more oppressive and the offensive possessions were largely crisper. Aaron Wheeler in particular put up 9 points (4/5 FG, 1/2 3PT) in only eight minutes of play with a beautiful alley-oop to tie the game.
Just like that, we’ve got a tie game! pic.twitter.com/n15zmTvEsP— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) February 2, 2022
However, an 8-0 by the Friars prior to the under-12 minute media timeout kept the Red Storm at bay, at least for a while.
Posh and Wheeler appeared to take the score personally dragged the offense on their backs until a Posh free throw tied the game up with five minutes to go.
The contest largely stayed tied or close thereto, but a big turnover and an offensive foul by Esahia Nyiwe on back to back possession were major factors leading to a four-point deficit by the Red Storm with a minute remaining.
Wheeler clanged a straightaway three that would have brought the game within one. Providence ran some clock until there were less than 30 seconds to go. A Tareq Coburn bucket from deep brought the game to a one-possession contest, but Providence knocked down there free throws.
As the buzzer sounded and the Red Storm ran out of chances, the Red Storm were not able to catch the Friars and fell 86-82.
St. John’s Red Storm
Posh Alexander: 29 points (13/20 FG, 0/3 3PT), 5 rebounds, 12 assists
Aaron Wheeler: 16 points (7/11 FG, 2/6 3PT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Dylan Addae-Wusu: 10 points (3/7 FG, 3/5 3PT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists
Jared Bynum: 19 points (5/8 FG, 4/5 3PT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Nate Watson: 16 points (5/11 FG), 5 rebounds