Feb. 4, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men's basketball team staged a second half comeback bid that included a 16-0 run but the St. John's Red Storm hung on for an 86-76 BIG EAST road win on Tuesday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence.
The Friars could not overcome St. John's hot start as the Red Storm shot 61-percent from the field in the first half, led 53-37 at halftime and held a 23-point advantage early in the second half. Providence worked the lead down to six points, 69-63, with 8:12 left in the contest and cut it to five (80-75) in the final minute but could not get any closer.
Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.) led Providence (16-7, 6-4 BIG EAST) with 32 points, a BIG EAST career-high. Cotton, who has scored 20 or more points in 16 games this season, turned in his fourth career 30-point performance and first since netting 33 against Boston College last season (Dec. 22, 2012). He also added six assists and four rebounds.
St. John's (14-9, 4-6 BIG EAST) had four players in double figures, led by D'Angelo Harrison's 22 points and JaKarr Sampson's 21. The Red Storm finished the game shooting 50-percent from the field on 31-62 attempts.
Providence senior Kadeem Batts (Boston, Mass.) finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. The 6-9 forward was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
Providence also made a season-high 12 3-pointers as it shot 12-of-28 from beyond the arc (43-perfect). St. John's held a 42-18 edge on points in the paint and committed just five turnovers.
In the first half, St. John's jumped out to an 18-6 lead to start the game, shooting 8-12 from the field. Cotton scored seven of Providence's final eight points of the half but the Red Storm held a 53-37 halftime lead after shooting 61-percent from the field (22-36).
To start the second half, the Red Storm scored back-to-back baskets, including a 3-pointer by Rysheed Jordan, to extend the lead to 58-37 SJU. Harrison's 3-pointer with 14:50 left gave St. John's a 23-point advantage, its largest of the night.
The Friars went on a 16-0 run to cut the lead to nine points. The rally included a four-point play by Cotton as Providence moved the score to 67-50. During the run, the Friars held SJU without a point for 6:20.
After St. John's broke the 16-0 run with a Chris Obekpa jumper, Cotton answered with a trifecta at the other end cut the lead to six points at 69-63. The Red Storm scored the next four points before a Carson Desrosiers dunk made it 73-65.
Then the Friars started fouling to extend the game. LaDontae Henton (Lansing, Mich.) hit a three with 47 seconds left that cut the lead to five points at 80-75 but it was as close the Friars would get.
The Friars will return to action when they travel to Xavier on Saturday, Feb. 8 for a 3 p.m. ET game. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
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