It was a squandered opportunity for the St. John’s basketball team against No. 16 Providence.
Saturday afternoon was the first of a handful of upcoming Quadrant 1 opportunities for the St. John’s basketball team with a chance to reassert themselves as an NCAA Tournament caliber team.
The Johnnies (9-4, 1-1 Big East) were on the road to face No. 16 Providence (14-2, 4-1 Big East), without one of its best players in AJ Reeves, and a chance to make a statement and secure its first signature victory of the season.
Despite the poor shooting of Julian Champagnie, the Red Storm found themselves leading by three at halftime, 38-35, and pushed that lead to as many as seven in the second half.
However, the offense would torpedo in the final ten minutes of the second half as Champagnie could not find his rhythm at all after scoring a career-high 34 points on Wednesday night against DePaul.
“It was awful,” head coach Mike Anderson said regarding the foul and free throw discrepancy throughout the game.
Providence was 26-of-30 from the charity stripe in its 83-73 victory while the Johnnies converted on just 8-of-17 chances at the line.
Joel Soriano picked up his fourth foul just 11 seconds into the second half and allowed Nate Watson to feast inside as the All-Big East center posted 18 points and eight rebounds in the second half to finish with 22 points and 11 rebounds on the afternoon.
“Those games are hard to officiate…credit the officials for the job they did,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said after the victory.
Champagnie finished with just 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting from the field and missed all eight of his attempts from 3-point range.
St. John’s shot 22.7-percent from deep (5-of-22) but Providence was not much better at just 18.8-percent (3-of-16) from downtown.
Jared Bynum added 18 points for the Friars while Al Durham and Justin Minaya each chipped in 13 points.
St. John’s basketball continues challenging stretch
The Johnnies caught a trip to Rhode Island right after Providence was drilled by Marquette (10-6, 2-3 Big East) earlier in the week by 32 points and the Red Storm will have another opponent looking to get right in its next outing.
St. John’s will board the bus to Connecticut to play the Huskies (10-4, 1-2 Big East) after UConn was dropped by Seton Hall in overtime by three points on Saturday afternoon.
Following UConn, the Red Storm will host Georgetown (6-6, 0-1 Big East), travel to Creighton (10-4, 2-1 Big East), and play No. 24 Seton Hall (10-3, 1-2 Big East) twice in the span of three days.
Tipoff between the Johnnies and Huskies is at 8:30 p.m. (FoxSports 1) on Wednesday night.