The St. John’s men’s basketball team got back in the win column on Wednesday, matching a season-high for turnovers forced and shooting 42.9 percent from three-point range in an 80-69 victory over Providence at Carnesecca Arena.
After forcing a season-low eight turnovers against Creighton on Saturday in Omaha, the Red Storm returned to its roots, guiding the Friars into 24 miscues. The Johnnies, whose opponent registered 24 turnovers for the fourth time this season, converted those extra possessions into 22 points. The Red Storm, who recorded just one steal in their last outing, came away with 12 against the Friars.
LJ Figueroa led a balance scoring effort for the Johnnies (14-11, 3-9 BIG EAST), tallying 19 points thanks in part to a 4-of-9 showing from beyond the arc. The BIG EAST leader in steals also recorded four of the team’s 12 thefts.
As a team, St. John’s connected on nine of its 21 three-point attempts, good enough for the team’s highest single-game percentage of the conference season (42.9%). The Johnnies also set a BIG EAST high-water mark from the field, converting on 45.8 percent of their chances overall.
Following his 25-point, 10-rebound career night in the Johnnies’ last outing, Marcellus Earlington put forth another stellar effort against the Friars. The sophomore, who went 3-for-4 from three-point range against Creighton, made two of his three long tries en route to a 12-point finish. After starting the season 3-for-21 from distance in 23 appearances, Earlington has made five of his seven tries over the last two games. The Don Bosco Prep product also grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists and swiped a pair of steals.
Making his third consecutive start, Julian Champagnie continued to impress, posting 14 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks. Josh Roberts also joined the block party for St. John’s, swatting three shots and collecting six rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
Rasheem Dunn registered an efficient 12-point outing, going 4-of-7 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. The Red Storm’s assist leader also dished out a team-high four helpers.
Greg Williams Jr. narrowly missed becoming the fifth Johnnie in double figures, logging nine points, a career-high seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 30 minutes on the court.
Alpha Diallo led the way for the Friars in the losing effort, scoring 19 points and grabbing a career-high 17 boards. He also paced Providence with four assists.
Trailing 12-11 following a back-and-forth start, the Red Storm found it hard to miss for a stretch of six minutes near the midway mark of the half, embarking on a 17-3 run to move ahead by 13, 28-15, with 7:35 remaining in the opening period. The Johnnies went 7-for-11 from the field during the run, limited the Friars to 1-of-5 shooting and forced four turnovers. Figueroa led the way with six points on a pair of treys during the surge while David Caraher chipped in five points.
Providence scored seven of the game’s next nine points to pull within eight, the same deficit with which the Friars would enter the locker room, 33-25.
The Johnnies shot 41.9 percent from the floor in the opening half, including a 5-for-12 (41.7%) showing from three-point range.
The Friars cut the St. John’s lead down to six with a pair of A.J. Reeves free throws on the opening possession of the second half, but the Johnnies ripped off a quick 7-0 run in the stretch of a minute to restore their lead to 13 with less than two minutes gone in the period. Figueroa scored four of those points, including a fastbreak slam following a Roberts block.
With five minutes gone in the second half, the Red Storm was plagued by foul issues. In the span of a minute, the Johnnies were whistled for two flagrant-one fouls and a bench technical, allowing Providence to cut its deficit to five, 47-42.
The Friars sliced the St. John’s lead to four, 51-47, on a Diallo dunk with 11:45 go, but Earlington promptly sparked a run to restore the Red Storm advantage. The sophomore drained a trey on the next possession before adding another triple a minute later, capping a 7-0 run and putting the Johnnies ahead by 11. Figueroa added the spurt’s other point with a 1-for-2 trip to the line.
The Red Storm grew its lead to as many as 15 down the stretch before Providence pulled within six, 74-68, with 1:06 remaining. Dunn and Williams sealed the victory from the charity stripe, combining for six free throws in the final minute.
The Johnnies return to action on Monday, closing out a two-game homestand with a 6:30 p.m. tilt against Xavier at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for the game are available at RedStormTix.com. St. John’s is proud to offer free admission to all first responders who wish to attend Monday’s contest at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
1495Sports had Journalist John Venezia was at the St. John’s Men’s Basketball game versus Providence and brings us this Pre-Game look along with the Post-Game Press Conference video featuring Head Coach Mike Anderson along with Student-Athletes LJ Figueroa and Marcellus Earlington from Carnesecca Arena.
For more information on the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: