Red Storm moves above .500 in BIG EAST action with seventh conference victory.
The St. John's men's basketball team continued its stretch of stellar play on Saturday, extending its winning streak to six and pushing past Providence, 92-81, inside Alumni Hall.
The Red Storm (13-7, 7-6 BIG EAST) has won five consecutive BIG EAST games for the first time since the debut year of the realigned conference in 2013-14. Four of those league wins have come on the road, marking the first time since 1998-99 that the Red Storm has rattled off four consecutive BIG EAST wins away from New York City. That season, the Johnnies reached the Elite Eight.
Ahead by as many as 17 in the first half, St. John's saw its lead disappear and Providence climb in front by five in the early minutes of the second stanza. The resilient Red Storm responded with a 20-3 spurt over the next eight minutes, helping the Johnnies regain a double-digit lead that it would not surrender.
As a team, St. John's shot 58.6 percent (34-of-58) from the floor and 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from three-point range, both of which set single-game season highs.
Two Johnnies finished with double-doubles for the second time this season. Julian Champagnie posted team highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds while also grabbing a pair of steals. The sophomore scored 19 of his points before halftime and shot 9-of-18 from the floor, 4-of-7 from deep, on the game. Rasheem Dunn tallied 13 points and matched a career high with 10 assists, seven of which came in the first half. The redshirt senior guard scored 11 points and committed no turnovers after the intermission.
Posh Alexander netted 15 of his season-high 21 points in the opening half, a period in which he went 6-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from deep. The Brooklyn native also recorded four assists.
Isaih Moore and Dylan Addae-Wusu proved critical in helping the Red Storm close out the Friars. Moore connected on all four of his second-half field goal tries for nine points while Addae-Wusu went 3-for-3 from the floor to finish with eight points over the same stretch.
Marcellus Earlington narrowly missed double figures, recording nine points, six rebounds and two steals in 18 minutes of action. Greg Williams Jr. connected on a couple of 3-pointers in 17 minutes, his highest such total since Jan. 16.
Neither side was interested in missing shots at the start of the contest, as two teams traded buckets on nearly every possession in the opening minutes.
With Providence leading by a pair, 14-12, and 15:35 to play in the half, the Red Storm started forcing Friar misses and embarked on a 19-0 run. The Red Storm made seven of its first eight and nine of its first 11 tries from downtown, moving ahead by as many as 17, 31-14, with just under 11 minutes remaining in the half. Champagnie posted 15 points in the opening seven minutes of the contest and combined with Alexander to score the Red Storm's first 23 points of the game.
A few minutes later, Providence uncorked a 9-0 run to cut the St. John's lead back to seven, 41-34, with four and a half minutes remaining until intermission.
Leading 49-41 at the half, the Red Storm quickly saw its lead evaporate. Providence scored the period's first nine points in the span of two minutes, moving ahead 50-49 on a pair of A.J. Reeves free throws. The Red Storm appeared to have no answer for Nate Watson, who then scored six straight Friar points to push the run to 15-1 and increase the St. John's deficit to five, 56-51, with 16:01 to go. Watson finished with a game-high 30 points for Providence.
Following a media timeout, the Red Storm began to adjust defensively and regained its rhythm on the offensive end. A Dunn jumper sparked an 8-0 St. John's run, as the Johnnies moved back ahead by three, 59-56, after an Alexander steal-and-score with 13:41 to go. In possession of the lead once again, the Red Storm continued to pour it on, extending the run as high as 20-3 and ballooning its advantage to 12, 71-59, following a pair of Dunn free throws with 8:10 remaining.
The Friars moved within seven, 83-76, following a Reeves triple with 3:05 to go, but that was as close as St. John's would allow them to get.
The Red Storm will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Indianapolis for a matchup with Butler at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. on FS1.