St. John’s Falls to Providence, 70-56
Fresh off a pair of impressive BIG EAST road wins, the St. John's men's basketball team dropped its second straight conference contest at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon, falling to Providence, 70-56. The Red Storm (17-7, 5-6 BIG EAST) played without the services of Mustapha Heron, who sat out the game with a bruised right knee. The Auburn transfer, who is averaging 15.0 points per outing, ranks second on the team in scoring. Heron, the team's most consistent three-point shooting threat at 42.7 percent, watched his team make just two of its 12 tries from beyond the arc on the afternoon. Shamorie Ponds scored 20 points to lead St. John's, marking his ninth straight BIG EAST outing with 20 or more points. The junior guard also tallied six rebounds and three assists. LJ Figueroa also finished in double figures for the Johnnies, netting 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Sedee Keita matched a career-high with seven points, all of which came in the first half. Marvin Clark II grabbed eight of the team's 23 rebounds on the afternoon. The Friars outboarded St. John's, 43-23, including a 16-7 edge on the offensive glass that led to a 19-4 edge in second chance points. The two teams battled back and forth to start the contest, as the first half featured seven ties and nine lead changes. After starting the game just 3-of-12 from the floor, the Red Storm made each of its next five field goal tries to take a 21-19 edge with 7:26 remaining in the period. From there, Providence (14-10, 3-7 BIG EAST) rattled off five straight points to retake the lead. The Red Storm quickly tied the game at 25 on a pair of Keita free throws, but the Johnnies would not lead again in the first half, as Providence took a 31-29 advantage into the locker room. The Red Storm kicked off the second half on an 8-2 run, retaking the upper hand, 37-36, on a driving layup from Clark with three and a half minutes gone in the period. With the game tied at 43 following a Ponds layup with 12:33 to play, St. John's saw Providence peel off a 10-2 run to take its largest lead of the game to that point, 53-45, with eight minutes remaining in the contest. The Friars steadily built their lead the rest of the way, outscoring the Red Storm, 17-11, and claiming its fourth straight road victory against St. John's. The Red Storm returns to action on Tuesday, playing host to Butler at Carnesecca Arena for the team's penultimate game in Queens this season. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.