St. John’s basketball falls as No. 15 Providence shows winning gene

St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

No. 15 Providence showed the St. John’s basketball team how to win in Queens. 

A packed Carnesecca Arena tried its hardest to push the St. John’s basketball team to the finish line against No. 15 Providence, but the Friars were just too poised.

Providence (19-2, 9-1 Big East) did all the little things the Johnnies did not on Tuesday night in Queens and it resulted in a 86-82 win for the visitors.

“We got a disappointed locker room,” head coach Mike Anderson said after the game after his team left everything on the floor for 40 minutes.

The biggest difference in the game came at the free throw line as St. John’s (11-9, 3-6 Big East) was a putrid 4-of-11 while Providence sank 27-of-33, including the final eight attempted at the charity stripe by Al Durham, who was 1-for-10 from the field, to put the game away.

“It’s something we work on every single day,” Anderson said of his team’s free throw shooting.

“Guys have to have confidence to go [to the line] and knock them down…we always talk about that it’s the little things that add up to winning”

St. John’s miscues started to unravel at the end of the first half after Durham was assessed a flagrant foul with the Johnnies trailing by six, 37-31.

Dylan Addae-Wusu split the free throws and St. John’s had a chance to cut more off its deficit with 6.1 seconds left but the Red Storm would turn the basketball over and Posh Alexander fouled Jared Bynum on a 3-point attempt as Providence took a 40-32 lead into halftime.

“The worst case scenario is that you go [to halftime] down by five,” Anderson recalled of the sequence.

If everything fell the Johnnies’ way in the final seconds going into the break, it could have only been down a single point.

The Friars then pushed its lead to ten right out of the gates in the second half but Posh Alexander flipped a switch and willed St. John’s back into contention and sent the fans in Queens into a frenzy.

St. John’s last lead came on an Alexander layup with 3:34 to play, 74-72, as Bynum drilled an NBA-range near the end of the shot clock triple to put Providence back in the lead.

The Red Storm then turned the basketball over on its next three possessions as the Friars built a four point cushion and the 3-point barrage from the Johnnies in the final 30 seconds did not matter thanks to Durham’s free throws.

“It’s frustrating,” Anderson explained after his team has failed to meet its preseason expectations thus far.

“No one feels worse after we lose games than myself,” the St. John’s head coach continued.

“I put pressure on myself.”

Alexander put together his best game in a Red Storm uniform with 29 points, five rebounds, 12 assists, and two steals on 13-of-20 shooting from the floor.

 Julian Champagnie continued his struggles with just eight points, his fourth straight game in single digits, on 4-of-11 shooting.

“For me, looking at it, he’s second guessing himself. It’s all about confidence. He has to play with that swagger that has put him in a position to be where he is. I love that he’s doing all the other things, but we have to have him score,” as Anderson described his star’s recent slump.

Champagnie was hit in the head early in the first half and needed stitches above his eye before his returned midway through the opening stanza.

St. John’s basketball lets Providence stars shine

Noah Horchler and Jared Bynum were the only two threats from deep for Providence on the night and they delivered a combined 8-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc for the Friars.

The rest of the team was 1-of-9 from 3-point range.

Nate Watson, perhaps the best center in the Big East, had a first half to forget with just one point and two rebounds but the 6-foot-10, 260 pound force was too much to handle in the paint in the second half with 15 points and three rebounds.

ALSO READ: St. John’s returns to loss column over the weekend

Providence turned 16 turnovers from St. John’s into 23 points while the Red Storm could only muster eight points from 14 Friar giveaways.

St. John’s now must quickly go on the road to have any chance of saving its season with dates against Georgetown (6-13, 0-8 Big East) and Butler (11-10, 4-6 Big East) on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

“I know the guys will be eager to get out there and make up for this loss,” Aaron Wheeler said following the defeat.

“We gotta take it up another notch,” Anderson said.

The Johnnies and Hoyas will tipoff at 6:00 p.m. (FoxSports1) from McDonough Gymnasium on Thursday night.

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