If you’re a St. Johns fan, that’s what you hoped for. They wanted to see how the Red Storm reacts. They didn’t want Big East Freshman of the Year leader Posh Alexander to paralyze this team with an injury to his right thumb.
After a sloppy first half in which they were up to 11 points behind, the team increased Red storm the defense intensity. They stopped being satisfied with jumping shots. They mimicked the effort and focus they showed during their last six-game winning streak. And they returned from an eight-day layoff with a deserved 81-67 win over visiting Providence at Carnesecca Arena.
The win gives St. John’s (15-10, 9-9 Big East) the chance to setting a league record for the first time since 2015. It also means that with a win over Seton Hall tossing on Saturday, the Red Storm would bid farewell to next week’s Big East tournament in the first round and could finish no worse than fifth.
To the loss of Alexander To balance out, St. John’s contributions received from almost his entire list. Greg Williams Jr. looked his best since missing three games with a back injury, ending with 15 points. The top scorer Julian Champagnie was his typical, efficient self with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Moore continued to provide a boost of energy from the bench with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
Most importantly, Rasheem Dunn, who missed seven of his first eight shots and has had big problems recently. But the senior in the fifth year woke up on time. In the second half, he scored 18 of his 21 team-level points, eight of them during an 11-0 run from St. John to break a tie towards the end of the second half.
The Johnnies defense that took place during the The streak was as persistent and shaky as losing three of the last four games, the second half was as good as the year. The Red Storm kept Providence 34 percent off the field and without a 3-pointer made in nine attempts in the last 20 minutes. They also forced eight turnovers and limited the brothers’ standout David Duke to just three points.
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