#16 Providence Rallies in Second Half for Ed Cooley’s 300th Win
The No. 16/17 Providence College men’s basketball team defeated the St. John’s Red Storm, 83-73, on Saturday, January 8 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. With the win, the Friars improved to 14-2 overall and 4-1 in BIG EAST play. Ed Cooley earned his 300th career victory as a head coach in today’s game. Graduate student Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) contributed 18 points in the second half. He finished with a double-double, recording a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) added 18 points and three assists. Graduate students Al Durham (Lilburn, Ga.) and Justin Minaya (Harrington Park, N.J.) each chipped in with 13 points each and Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) had a game-high 13 rebounds.
“When you do something that you love, you’re at a place that you love, and you work with people that give you the opportunity to do this, it’s amazing,” Cooley said in regard to his 300th career victory. “The fact that you can get to this point means that people believe in you, people trust you, and you have a great staff.”
Watson had the first points for the Friars with a second-chance layup.
St. John’s held the early lead, 10-7, at the first media timeout of the game.
At the 16:29 mark, Durham knocked down the Friars’ only three-pointer of the first half. The Friars led by two, 7-5.
At the 12:44 mark, Minaya forced a turnover and finished off the play with a two-handed dunk. PC led 15-13.
The teams traded baskets midway through the first half. At the 7:45 timeout, the game was knotted at 19.
With 3:30 remaining in the half, Bynum drew contact and completed the three-point play. The Red Storm answered on the next possession, tying the game at 32.
St. John’s guard Posh Alexander was the only player to reach double figures before halftime.
The Friars trailed by three points at halftime, 38-35.
Providence shot 11-26 (42.3%) from the field, 1-8 (12.5%) from three, and 12-15 (80.0%) from the free throw line.
St. John’s shot 16-35 (45.7%) from the field, 3-10 (30.0%) from three, and 3-7 (42.9%) from the free throw line.
After the Red Storm scored the first two baskets of the second half, Bynum buried a mid-range jumper for the Friars.
At the 14:27 mark, the Friars turned the ball over and Dylan Addae-Wusu finished in transition for the Red Storm. St. John’s held a five-point advantage, 50-45.
The Friars found a spark and responded with an 8-0 scoring run over the next two minutes. Minaya capped off the run with a layup in transition. PC took the lead, 53-50.
Neither team gained much separation as the second half progressed.
Heading into the final stretch, the Friars took control of the game. With 4:17 remaining, Minaya buried a dagger three-pointer to complete a 7-0 scoring run. The Friars had their first double-digit lead of the game, 72-60.
“To shoot with confidence and see the ball go in is a great feeling,” Minaya said.
With two minutes left to play, the Friars led 76-67. PC had made seven of their last eight attempts from the field.
Watson extended the Friars’ lead back to double-digits with a putback slam at the 1:46 mark.
“I thought [Nate] played the way we needed him to play to get us to the next level,” Cooley added.
Providence finished 27-53 (50.9%) from the field, 3-16 (18.8%) from three, and 26-30 (86.7%) from the free throw line.
St. John’s finished 30-73 (41.1%) from the field, 5-22 (22.7%) from three, and 8-17 (47.1%) from the free throw line.
The Friars held a slim advantage on the boards, out-rebounding the Red Storm by four.
Each team had four players finish in double figures.
Dylan Addae-Wusu led the way for the Red Storm with 20 points, seven rebounds, and a game-high five assists.
The game featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes.
The Friars are 10-0 at home this season.
Attendance – 10,008
The Friars will travel to take on the Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday, January 11 at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. (ET) on FS1.
The Friars hold a 17-12 all-time record versus Creighton. Last season, the teams split the season series, with each team winning on the road.