Small miscues were the difference in St. John’s loss to Providence, 83-80.
Two teams on two different streams came into this one. St. John’s brought in their four-game losing streak to matchup with Providence and their eight-game winning streak.
The revolving door of available players continued in this one. Rafael Pinzon and Andre Curbelo were both available off the bench, but Montez Mathis was out with a toe injury.
As has been the case as of late, St. John’s looked good in the first half. Posh Alexander exceeded his season scoring average (9.2 PPG) in the first six minutes of the game, and finished the game with 14 points (6-12 FG, 2-5 3PT) even knocking down a couple of threes.
Posh’s production led St. John’s to a 9-point lead with just under five minutes to play.
Usual standout, Joel Soriano, played only nine minutes due to foul trouble. Soriano picked up a cheap technical foul by clapping his hands in the face of Providence head coach Ed Cooley. Late in the half, the Friars started targeting Esahia Nyiwe in the post, which was key to Providence getting back into the game before halftime.
In an ironic twist, part of Providence’s success was on the fastbreak. The halfcourt-heavy Friars had 11 fastbreak points as compared to the up-tempo Johnnies who only had 5.
After the Friars closed the gap, St. John’s went into the half up only 40-39.
Despite missing most of the first half, Soriano put together another solid showing. It felt like Soriano touched the ball in every halfcourt possession, as he should, and the big man finished with 16 points (8-9 FG), 10 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Soriano’s solid night wasn’t enough, however, to overcome the Friars. After halftime, the Friars got two easy looks at the rim and a three, and it looked as if the Johnnies were going to look lost for another second half.
Instead, Coach Anderson called an early timeout, and the contest ended up being close for the remainder of the half.
After Nyiwe’s struggles in the first half, O’mar Stanley took over as the backup big man who also had some success sharing the floor with Soriano in a two big lineup. Stanley finished the contest with 13 points (6-6 FG) and 6 rebounds.
Despite the performance by Stanley, his blunder may have cost the Red Storm the contest. Soriano shot a jumper that initially bounced up off the rim, fell back into the basket, and was halfway down when Stanley grabbed the rim in an apparent attempt to put back what initially looked like a miss by Soriano. The bucket that would have given St. John’s the lead by Soriano was disallowed, and Alyn Breed came down at the other end and knocked down a jumper to increase Providence’s lead to three.
The game stayed close. With 6 seconds to go, Andre Curbelo hit a layup to bring the Red Storm within 1 point of Providence. After fouling and Devin Carter, he knocked down both free throws. With only 5 seconds remaining, St. John’s needed 3 points, so Providence fouled Andre Curbelo on the inbound. Curbelo made the first free throw, but missed the rim while intentionally missing the second attempt. The Red Storm sent Ed Croswell to the line, and he missed the second free throw. AJ Storr rebounded the miss and made a desperation heave that missed wide right as time expired with the Red Storm unable to pull of the upset at Providence, 83-80.
The Red Storm head back to Carnesecca Arena to take on Butler on Tuesday at 6:30 PM.
St. John’s Red Storm
Joel Soriano: 16 points (8-9 FG), 10 rebounds, 1 assist
Posh Alexander: 14 points (6-12 FG, 2-5 3PT), 5 rebounds, 1 assist
O’Mar Stanley: 13 points (6-6 FG), 3 rebounds
Noah Locke: 20 points (7-11 FG, 5-8 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Devin Carter: 19 points (5-11 FG, 1-2 3PT), 5 rebounds, 5 assists