Rushed Reactions: Providence 74, St. John’s 57

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 12th, 2015


Three Key Takeaways.

Ed Cooley's Game Plan Against St. John's Worked to Perfection (USA Today Images)

Ed Cooley’s Game Plan Against St. John’s Worked to Perfection (USA Today Images)

  1. Providence flipped the script on St. John’s. After getting swept in the regular season by the Red Storm and allowing an average of 79 points per game in those two matchups, the Friars locked down defensively and held St. John’s to 57 points on 31 percent shooting. Providence did not play an outstanding offensive game, but that is not where this game was won. Ed Cooley’s team kept D’Angelo Harrison and Sir’Dominic Pointer in check, as the two combined for only 14 inefficient points. It was an outstanding defensive effort and it took St. John’s out of everything it wanted to do.
  2. Do not be surprised if Providence pushes Villanova. While it would take a lot to beat a team that pounded Providence by 28 points just over two weeks ago, Providence is a team that can do it. The Friars have something that Villanova, aside from Daniel Ochefu, does not have — length. Providence uses as many as four players who stand 6’8” or taller, including two seven-footers. If that length is enough to keep the Wildcats from attacking the rim, it allows Providence to get out on Villanova’s lethal three-point shooters. Either way, it should be a fun game and more competitive than any game we’ve seen so far in this Big East Tournament.
  3. St. John’s could not get its transition game going. Steve Lavin’s team is at its best when it can utilize its quickness and athleticism in transition. Providence deserves credit too, but the Red Storm just could not get anything going on the fast break. For the game, St. John’s tallied just four fast break points and only six points off of turnovers. When this team is forced to play so much in the half-court, it struggles. After the game, Cooley talked about forcing them to play against a set defense — his team executed its game plan almost perfectly.

Player of the Game. LaDontae Henton, Providence. The Friars’ senior swingman totaled 20 points and 12 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season. Only the second Providence player ever to score 2,000 points and pull down 1,000 rebounds in his career (Ryan Gomes is the other), Henton showed why that is today. The first team all-Big East selection is one of the nation’s most unheralded players, but the rest of the country will find out just how good he is soon enough when Providence plays in the NCAA Tournament.


  • “I’m pretty sure nobody in this room is giving us a chance.” – Providence head coach Ed Cooley on tomorrow’s semifinal matchup with top-seeded Villanova.
  • “I thought our defense controlled the game, not so much our offense.” – Cooley, pointing out how the Friars forced St. John’s to play in the half-court and limited its transition opportunities.
  • “Two silent assassins tonight were Tyler Harris and Ben [Bentil].” – Cooley, in response to a question about three of his players recording double-doubles. For the record, Harris scored 15 points but did not post a double-double.
  • “Our aggressiveness was not the level it has been. The best indicator of that is rebounding. Providence was +13 on the glass.” – St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin, discussing his team’s effort today.

Sights and Sounds. Old timers will surely refute this but Madison Square Garden had a similar feel today to quarterfinal Thursdays of the past. The crowd of 15,197 was not a sellout, but it was engaged. This game was expected to be the closest of the bunch, yet that turned out not to be the case. The first four games of this event have not been competitive, with the closest final margin being Creighton’s 15-point win over DePaul in the first round last night.

What’s Next. Providence will return to the Garden floor tomorrow night at 7:00 PM ET to face Villanova in the first semifinal game. The Wildcats won both meetings between the teams this season — 74-68 in Providence and 89-61 at the Pavilion. As for St. John’s, it will await its NCAA Tournament fate. The Johnnies are generally considered to be safely in the field of 68, but you never truly know until the brackets are officially released. St. John’s will use this upcoming week of rest to hopefully get healthy as a few players are banged up.

Brian Otskey (269 Posts)

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