PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It might have been easier for St. Johns versus Providence if they had only played rock, paper, or scissors.
It would have been less frustrating.
In search of their first road win of the season (spoiler alert, the Red Storm didn't win it as a Providence win, 63-58), St. Johns was given every opportunity. Providence shot like a gang of corpses. The top scorer of the brothers, Alpha Diallo from Harlem, had major problems in the second half. Sounds like the stuff for a happy night in the red storm.
Nope. St. Johns shot practically equally badly and clinked too late with 3 pointers after 3 pointers. The Johnnies ended up exactly where Coach Mike Anderson's goal was, but it just wasn't enough. The Red Storm even had a chance to draw. After a break, 10.5 seconds remained. But Mustapha Heron's controversial 3-pointer was fine. Heron claimed foul, the referees disagreed. Guess whose view was?
Anderson, who said his team tried to miss Heron's miss, also pointed to Providence's 46:34 flank and 17: 8 lead on the free-throw line, which are critical to the outcome ,
"This game was about rebound, toughness, and the free-throw line," said Anderson. "We did a pretty good job in the first and even the second half, but we missed the opportunity to take advantage of the momentum."
Despite sitting in the eighth half, Diallo led all goal scorers with 19 points in the offensive Sludgefest. But the biggest shot of the night could come from Luwane Pipkins (nine points), who managed a turnaround to hit the shot clock 53 seconds ahead and raise Providence (11-7, 4-1 Big East) to 60-56 to lead.
LJ Figueroa scored 12 for St. Johns (12-6, 1-4), who lost 0-3 on the road. Rasheem Dunn had 11 and Marcellius Earlington and Greg Williams Jr. each had 10th St. Johns, who couldn't understand his Big East win over DePaul, welcomes Seton Hall to the Garden on Saturday.
The Red Storm got a spark that they desperately needed at the start of the second half, but stayed behind at seven when Heron delivered a four-point game. This lift took visitors to an 11: 1 run with five friar sales.
After the tour reached 39-36, the celebration had stalled a bit. Diallo scored a 3-point game, David Duke followed with three free throws after being fouled three times, and Nate Watson ended a missed Duke free throw to push St. Johns into a 44-39 trench.
Anderson stayed with Dunn on his starting lineup for a second game in a row. Dunn "deserves the chance," said Anderson with a 19 point attempt to defeat DePaul in the garden on Saturday. Providence was gone. The brothers, already without a sixth husband A.J. Reeves (concussion protocol), who scored a goal against Butler on Friday, announced before the game that striker Emmitt Holt (ankle) was also injured.
After 36 seconds in the first half, Josh Roberts scored the rebound of a missed 3 pointer from Figueroa in the center of Red Storm. Well, that may not seem overwhelming, but it was the first offensive upturn for St. Johns that night.
And considering that the Red Storm shot 35.7 percent in the first half, it was almost difficult. Figure 1 should have accidentally landed in someone else's mittens beforehand. To further highlight the moment, Roberts promptly missed a put-back and the shot was grabbed by his teammate Dunn. Two straight, a real landslide.
Even if Providence shot a terrible 34.3 percent, St. Johns looked at a 31:26 halftime deficit, hardly a way out to take the season's first street win. But you shoot as if you are wearing a blindfold, hit the attack glass as if you are wearing two blindfolds, and don't care about the ball, you tend to land at the short end of the game.
But these two attack boards (yes, St. Johns didn't take the second chance either) could not make up for the nine sales that the Red Storm had triggered before half-time. Many of the errors came in bundles.