A lopsided first half was too much for Providence (16-7, 6-4) to overcome Tuesday night, as St John’s (14-9, 4-6) fought off a second half Friar comeback to secure an 86-76 road win.
A combination of Friar shooting woes and an impressive 61% first half shooting performance from St. John’s essentially determined the game. The Friars went just 14-for-38 from the floor in the first half, resulting in a 53-37 St John’s lead at the half.
In the second half, St. John’s increased their lead to 23 points before the Friars mounted a comeback. Providence then went on a 16-0 run to cut their deficit to just nine points. The Friars were able to cut their deficit to six points (69-63) around the five-minute mark and then five points (80-75) in the final minute, but couldn’t get any closer.
Providence’s comeback effort was led by senior Bryce Cotton, who had a game-high 32 points and six assists, his fourth 30-point performance of his Friar career.
Kadeem Batts notched his team-leading sixth double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He was also 9-of-9 from the line.
St. John’s was led by D’Angelo Harrison, who went just 4-of-15 from the field, but hit 11 of his 12 free throws to finish with 22 points. JaKarr Sampson also had an impressive game, posting 21 points and seven boards.
The Friars will return to action when they travel to Xavier Saturday afternoon for a 3:00 p.m. tip. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.