Game Notes & Preview: Providence 16-5 (6-2) at St. John’s 13-7 (2-5) 1/31/15

Where: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

When: 12:00 PM

How: Fox (Rich Ackerman & Vin Parise)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • This will mark the 105th meeting all-time between Providence and St. John’s. The series is led by the Red Storm, 59-45. The series favors the Red Storm, 31-16, when played in New York. Providence went 2-1 against St. John’s last season and are 0-1 against the Red Storm this season. St. John’s beat the Friars, 83-70, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on January 14th.
  • St. John’s welcomes Providence to Madison Square Garden following 77-74 defeat in Omaha against Creighton that gave the Bluejays their first Big East win of the season on January 28th. The Red Storm are led in scoring by senior guard D’Angelo Harrison, who averages 19.1 points/game. Harrison is 2nd in the Big East in scoring behind LaDontae Henton, who averages 21.2 points/game. The Red Storm are led in rebounding by junior Chris Obekpa, who averages 7.8 rebounds/game. Obekpa also leads the Big East in blocks/game at 3.4. Carson Desrosiers is 2nd in that category in the league with 3.1 blocks/game
  • Providence is 1-0 this week with their win coming in a re-scheduled home game against DePaul on Thursday. Kris Dunn registered his first career triple-double in the 83-72 win. Dunn also scored a career high 27 points while the Friars had 5 players score in double figures for the first time this season.
  • Henton is in 8th place on the all-time points scored list at Providence College with 1,826 career points. Henton is now 2 points behind Joe Hassett for 7th place in school history. Desrosiers is 8th on the all-time blocked shots list at Providence College with 146 blocks through 55 career games as a Friar. Desrosiers is now 9 blocks behind Randall Hanke for 7th place in school history.
  • The line opened with Providence as a 3 point underdog.

Kenpom InstaGamePrep™

Note: Stats include games through January 30th vs D-1 teams only

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Game Preview

Providence isn’t a stranger to playing at Madison Square Garden and some of their players are probably even pretty comfortable on the Garden’s floor. The 2013-14 Friars did rattle of 3 straight wins at MSG last March to win the Big East Tournament Championship and get themselves an invitation to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. The 2014-15 Friars will also be accomplishing another feat that hasn’t happened in a few years: playing a regular season game at MSG. The last time Providence played at Madison Square Garden during the regular season was Herb Hill’s senior season. That game, which the Friars lost by 13,  took place on March 4, 2007. Ed Cooley is hoping the result on Saturday is more reminiscent of the Big East Tournament quarterfinal meeting between Providence and St. John’s a season ago.

St. John’s is coming off a road loss at Creighton that gave the Bluejays their first Big East win in 9 tries. The Red Storm also lost sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan in the first half of that game due to a knee injury. Further medical evaluation once back in New York indicated the injury is a patella tendon strain for Jordan who has been deemed “probable” to play against the Friars.

Aside from D’Angelo Harrison another St. John’s player who has been playing aggressively and well for the Red Storm is Sir’Dominic Pointer. Pointer is dangerous in transition and isn’t afraid to take the ball coast-to-coast off a missed shot or steal.

Kris Dunn has obviously been hot of late and is coming off his first career triple double in Providence’s win over DePaul at home on Thursday. The Friars had 5 players score double figures in that game and would  probably be happy with 3 players getting to the 10+ point mark.

Considering St. John’s hasn’t shot the ball close to as well as they did against Providence 17 days ago in any other games since then I’m going to chalk that up to a hot shooting night and expect that Providence will try to force St. John’s to pass around the perimeter of their zone and make the Red Storm play a deliberate half court game settling for tough 2’s.

Prediction: Providence 71 St. John’s 69

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