Friars survive Storm, beat St. John’s 84-83
Friday, January 17, 2014
Any win on the road in the Big East is a good win. But this win was particularly sweet for the Providence Friars.
After losing two overtime games in the last three weeks, PC was forced into double-overtime at St. John’s Thursday night after giving up several 2nd half leads. Trailing by four with 1:35 to play in the 2nd OT, Bryce Cotton hit a runner with nine seconds remaining to put PC in the lead – a lead which they held onto in a heart-stopping 84-83 win over the Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena.
Cotton led all scorers with 21 points, and while St. John’s defenders managed to slow him down for much of the 50 minutes he played, they could not stop him at the end. Or at the very beginning, either, as he scored six of the first nine points the Friars scored. PC got out to an early 14-2 lead on the Red Storm and maintained a double-digit lead for much of the first half. Leading by 13 with 2:20 left in the half after LaDontae Henton (17 points, nine rebounds) hit a three, SJU scored the final six points of the half to pull within seven at the break, 36-29.
St. John’s used that momentum to start the second half, scoring the first four points to pull within three…and the chase began. A Phil Greene jumper pulled the Red Storm within one with 14 minutes left, and they eventually tied the score at 50-50 on a free throw from God’sgift Achiuwa. But the Friars remained resilient, pulling back out to lead by as much as six after another Henton trey with 6:14 to play.
With PC’s defense holding leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison (14 points, 4-of-15 FG) in check most of the way, Harrison managed to get loose for seven straight points in a minute-and-a-half stretch to vault his team into the lead at 65-63 with 3:07 remaining. A Henton layup and free throws from Tyler Harris tied the score at 67, and put the game into the 1st extra period after Orlando Sanchez missed a three-point shot with seven seconds left.
In the opening OT, SJU scored the first two baskets on layups in the opening 30 seconds. From there, the Friars played from behind the entire period. A Josh Fortune trey – his only points of the game – tied the score at 72 with 3:56 remaining, but a three-point play on a drive to the basket from Sir’Dominic Pointer again put the Red Storm up by three. A Cotton layup and free throw – he missed one that could have put his team in the lead - tied the game at 77 going into OT #2, only because the PC defense held St. John’s scoreless over the final 2:28.
In the second extra period, with both teams running out of gas, Cotton gave the Friars the first lead on a jumper…but the Red Storm eventually grabbed it back on two drives from Greene, and a layup from Harrison. SJU (9-8, 0-5 Big East) led 83-79 with just 1:35 on the clock…and again the Friar defense shut the Johnnies down. Three free throws from Harris pulled Providence within one, and Cotton scored on his drive with :09.8 left…giving St. John’s one final shot. Greene took the drive straight to the basket and put up a shot too strong off of the glass that was rebounded by Harris…giving the Friars (12-5, 2-2 Big East) their victory.
After dropping an overtime game at the buzzer on the road to UMass, and losing in double OT at home to Seton Hall just a few short weeks ago, holding on at the end for a win against St. John’s – on the road in the Big East – made this win particularly satisfying for the Friars. But there won’t be much rest for weary legs, with 20th ranked Creighton dancing into the Dunk for a Saturday night date.
The win in two overtimes is the first for Providence in almost 23 years, since a 98-93 double OT win over James Madison at the Dunk in the NIT on March 13, 1991…PC managed to shoot just 37% from the floor, but used a 30-for-36 performance from the foul line to stay in it, and win it. The Friars remain the #1 free throw shooting team in the nation at 80%...Cotton’s 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists were supported by 17 points and nine rebounds from Henton and Kadeem Batts, who fouled out with 1:58 left in regulation…Harris added 18 for PC, while St. John’s had six players in double figures. JaKarr Sampson led with 16 points, Greene scored 15 and Harrison 14 (5 under his average), but the Red Storm could only manage 1-for-10 from deep. They also kept themselves in it by hitting free throws, going 20-of-24 from the line…27 of St. John’s 31 field goals were scored in the paint, but offensive rebounds by Providence helped offset that inside advantage with 17 2nd chance points…the loss was the first this season for St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena on campus, and just the 5th loss at home under Steve Lavin in 4+ seasons. They’re now 6-1 this season…PC’s defense also forced 14 SJU turnovers, scoring 20 points on the miscues…the first meeting against one of the three Big East newcomers is Saturday, as the Creighton Blue Jays, led by national player of the year candidate Doug McDermott, get their first taste of the Dunkin Donuts Center in an 8:00 pm tip off (7:45 pre-game on 103.7 FM and friars.com)…