Game Notes & Preview: Providence (13-8, 3-5) vs St. John’s (9-12, 3-5) 1/25/17

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 6:30pm EST

How: FS1 (Justin Kutcher & Tarik Turner)/Fox Sports GO (Where Available)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and St. John’s will meet for the 109th time ever on Wednesday. The Red Storm lead the all-time series, 60-48. Providence is 25-22 all-time against St. John’s in Providence. The Friars swept the Red Storm last season in both of their matchups.
  • Providence is 1-6 this season on the road against an 11-1 record at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Friars are also 1-1 on neutral courts. Providence’s lone road win occurred on January 16th against Georgetown at the Verizon Center.
  • Wednesday’s game will be Throwback Night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center with Providence and St. John’s both wearing throwback jerseys. Providence’s uniforms will be a throwback to the 1980’s with their interlocking PC logo from the 1990’s. A second mascot will also debut for Providence at this game. Providence previously had a dalmatian mascot named Friar Boy.
  • St. John’s is 9-12 this season. The Red Storm have beaten DePaul twice and opened Big East play with a win over Butler at Carnesecca Arena on December 29th. Their 5 league losses have come at home against Creighton and Villanova and on the road at Xavier, Georgetown and, in their most recent game, at Seton Hall on Sunday. St. John’s was picked to finish 8th in the preseason Big East Coaches’ Poll. The Red Storm are led by Chris Mullin, who is in his 2nd season at the helm of the St. John’s program. Freshmen Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds lead the Red Storm in scoring at 16.7 points/game, which ranks them 8th in the Big East. Junior Bashir Ahmed leads the team in rebounding, averaging 5.6 rebounds/game, which ranks him 12th in the Big East.
  • Opening Line: Providence – 8.5 vs St. John’s 1/25/17

Game Preview

Providence squares off with St. John’s on Wednesday night coming off a road loss at Villanova where they hung tough despite Kyron Cartwright fighting an illness. In the end, the defending national champions were too much for the Friars to handle. Returning home to the friendly confines of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center will also be accompanied by throwback uniforms and the unveiling of a second mascot.

St. John’s last played at Seton Hall on Sunday at the Prudential Center where they dropped the 5th of their last 6. Two of the Red Storm’s three wins have come against DePaul but they also beat Butler at home in late December. St. John’s sports a guard-heavy offense made up mainly of freshmen Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds. Junior college transfer Bashir Ahmed is also a big part of Chris Mullin’s offense, an offense that is largely based on 1-on-1 by Ponds and Ahmed and pick-and-roll by LoVett.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

Providence
St. John’s

The keys to victory for Providence are score the ball in transition and defend the 3-point line. St. John’s struggles to defend in transition. The Red Storm rank 296th nationally in transition defense score percentage. Opponents score 51.7% of transition possessions against St. John’s. Providence scores on 51.3% of their transition possessions and it’s been clearer and clearer over the last few games that Providence’s offense plays much better overall when they are getting baskets in transition. Those easy baskets feed into the rest of the game and their halfcourt offense has scored at a much better clip when they’ve also been scoring on the break. Look for Kyron Cartwright to move the ball up the court quickly, even after made baskets. St. John’s does like to press, which could slow Providence down, so it will be imperative for the Friars to clean the glass and run when they can.

On the defensive side of the ball, Providence needs to defend the 3-point line well against this good group of St. John’s guards. The Red Storm are 51st nationally in 3-point % at 38.2%, but they have proven to be streaky. In their 12 losses they have shot 30% from beyond the arc and in their 9 wins they’ve made 47%.  If the Friars can effectively contest and guard 3-point shots they have an excellent chance of slowing down St. John’s offense. Marcus LoVett is used most heavily in pick-and-roll, while Bashir Ahmed and Shamorie Ponds do most of the 1-on-1 isolation play.

Prediction: Providence 70 St. John’s 63

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