St. John’s basketball: Emotions take over David Jones in upset victory

St. John's basketball forwards David Jones and Drissa Traore (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball forwards David Jones and Drissa Traore (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

Emotions were running high for St. John’s basketball forward David Jones on Saturday. 

Playing against No. 20 Providence on Saturday afternoon for St. John’s basketball forward David Jones was not easy.

Eight days after losing his father he found the inspiration to lead the Red Storm in a much needed upset victory over the Friars, 73-68.

“Not everyone knows this, but my dad was the one that taught me how to play basketball,” Jones said following the victory.

The DePaul transfer paced the Johnnies (15-11, 5-10 Big East) with 16 points and seven rebounds coming off the bench.

“I wanted to make him proud. I woke up today and thought, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Jones missed the previous two games for St. John’s, losses against Xavier and Butler, as he remained back home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic attending the funeral service and grieving with his family.

“I just wanted to play in my dad’s name and I just wanted to win for him. I was going to do anything it took to win this game and I will do whatever it takes to win the other games as well,” the St. John’s forward continued.

It did not take long for David Jones to make his presence known with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in nine minutes in the first half as he battled foul trouble.

St. John’s led by as many as 16 points, 25-9, in the opening stanza before Providence cut its defect to two, 37-35, at halftime.

However, unlike in many other games this season, the Red Storm were able to sustain a punch from its opponents and find a counterattack behind junior point guard Posh Alexander.

Alexander has looked like his typical tenacious self in the last two games for the Johnnies, who were playing without Andre Curbelo (coach’s decision) on Saturday, with 10 points and nine assists.

St. John’s basketball finally puts together complete effort

Saturday afternoon was what everyone was hoping to see from St. John’s this season.

The defense was connected and energized as Providence committed 13 turnovers and shot a season-low 33.3-percent from the field and 30.4-percent from 3-point range.

Mike Anderson saw five different players score at least 10 points and, despite shooting 22.2-percent from distance, the Johnnies made its free throws and did not allow any second chance points from Providence (18-7, 10-4 Big East) in the second half after conceding 16 in the first half.

“These guys played good basketball today. They played well defensively and offensively. We shared the ball,” Anderson said.

St. John’s is still facing a nearly impossible challenge of reaching the NCAA Tournament but it finally, at least for one game, showcased the ability that many thought would be consistent throughout this season.