Providence College Press Release

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men's basketball team topped the St. John's Red Storm, 63-58, on Wednesday, January 15 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. The Friars improved to 11-7 overall and 4-1 in BIG EAST play. Alpha Diallo (New York, N.Y.) led the way for the Friars with a game-high of 19 points and four rebounds. 

"We talked about holding court at home," Head Coach Ed Cooley said. "We had to try to secure a win before this two-game road trip coming up." 

Diallo dunked it home for the Friars' opening basket. With just under 13 minutes left in the first half, David Duke (Providence, R.I.) stole the ball and assisted on a dunk by Maliek White (Richmond, Va.). The Friars led 12-7 at the second media timeout.

Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) added a dunk with 7:22 left in the first half to tie the game. White contributed with a layup to make the Friar lead 20-18. Greg Gantt (Fayetteville, N.C.) converted on an and-one basket in the paint to extend the Friar lead to five. Gantt finished with seven points and six rebounds on the evening. 

Providence went on a 5-1 run at the end of the first half led by a Gantt layup and White three-point goal. St. John's called their first timeout of the game with under 30 seconds left, and later capitalized with a Rasheem Dunn layup. The Friars took a timeout with three seconds left before halftime.

Both teams headed into the locker room with a 31-26 Friar lead. Providence shot 12-35 (34.3%) from the field, 3-10 (30.0%) from three, and 4-5 (80.0%) from the free throw line. St. John's shot 10-28 (35.7%) from the field, 4-10 (40.0%) from three, and 2-4 (50.0%) from the free throw line.

Diallo opened the half for the Friars with a mid-range jumper to answer the Johnnies early field goal. The Red Storm's Mustapha Heron made a four-point play to decrease their deficit to three. Going into the first media timeout, the Friars had the lead 36-32.

With 13:25 left to play, the Friars took a timeout after St. John's went on a 5-0 run. Providence had not scored a basket in the last 4:22 minutes. Diallo broke the drought on a three-point play to tie the game at 39. Not long after, Duke was fouled on a three-point attempt with just under 13 minutes left to go. He converted on all three free throws. Duke returned to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. He missed the free throw, but Watson grabbed the offensive rebound and added a two-handed dunk. 

At the media timeout with 7:54 remaining, the Friars led 50-46. The game continued to be back-and-forth as it got deeper into the second half. Kalif Young (Vaughan, Ontario) added a second-chance dunk to extend the Friar lead to 57-52 with 3:48 to play. 

With under two minutes to play, Marcellus Earlington got fouled in the paint on a made floater. He missed the free throw to keep the game at 58-56. On the ensuing possession, Luwane Pipkins (Chicago, Ill.) made a clutch fadeaway jumper just beating the shot clock. St. John's answered to keep it a one possession game with 28.3 seconds on the clock.   

Duke was fouled right away on the next possession. He missed the first three throw, but made the second. St. John's took their final timeout with 10.5 seconds remaining, but failed to capitalize after Mustafa Heron missed jumper. Pipkins controlled the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws to close out the game. 

"That's what these games come down to," said Cooley. "Something crazy happens, maybe a call that doesn't go our way. We have to withstand everything."

Providence finished 21-59 (35.6%) from the field, 4-17 (23.5%) from three, and 17-24 (70.8%) from the free throw line. St. John's finished 22-58 (37.9%) from the field, 6-22 (27.3%) from three, and 8-13 (61.5%) from the free throw line. LJ Figueroa led the way for St. John's with 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Friars finished with one player, Diallo, in double-figures. They had all seven participants in the scoring column. The Red Storm finished with four players in double-figures and seven in the scoring column.

Up next, the Friars will head on the road to take on the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday, Jan. 18. Tip-off is at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.