PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Providence men’s basketball team defeated St. John’s, 61-57, afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Prior to the game, the Friars honored seniors Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.), Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va.), Jalen Lindsey (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), and Tom Planek (Oak Park, Ill.) for their four years as players in the men’s basketball program.
Bullock led the Friars with 13 points and eight rebounds while Cartwright had 10 points, Lindsey finished with four points and five rebounds, and Planek corralled a rebound and dished out an assist.
With the victory, Providence finishes the regular season with a 19-12 overall record and a 10-8 mark in BIG EAST play. It marks the sixth-consecutive season that the Friars have secured at least 19 wins on the season and the fifth straight season with 10 or more BIG EAST victories.
Providence led 26-25 coming out of the half, but freshman Nate Watson (Arlington, Va.) provided the Friars with a spark in the second half, scoring nine points in 13 minutes of action.
Watson scored four points to complement at Cartwright three-pointer to put the Friars up 33-29.
The Friars increased their lead into double figures as Diallo finished at the rim, Bullock splashed a triple, and Watson dunked one home to give Providence a 45-33 lead with left.
Following the under 12 media timeout, Bullock nailed a jumper to give the Friars a 47-34 advantage.
St. John’s, however, refused to go away quietly.
Bashar Ahmed scored five straight points and Marvin Clark II drove to the basket for two to highlight a 9-1 run that pulled the Red Storm within 48-43 with to play.
Cartwright stretched the Friars lead back up to seven with two at the free throw line, but Ahmed connected on a mid range jumper, and Justin Simon threw down a dunk to trim the Red Storm’s deficit to three with left.
Providence’s lead remained three, 50-47, with less than two minutes to play but that’s when Cartwright rose to the occasion.
The Friars’ senior leader connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Friars a 53-47 edge with to play.
Lindsey, and Bullock, and Diallo sealed the win at the free throw line, combining to go eight-for-10 at the charity stripe over the following minute.
The Friars trailed 16-15 with just under five minutes to play in the half, but a Maliek White (Arlington, Va.) basket and a Bullock trey highlighted a 6-0 run that put the Friars in front, 21-16.
St. John’s came back with baskets from Clark and Ahmed, but a Lindsey layup put the Friars back up four.
A tip in by Tariq Owens tied the score at 25, but Bullock hit one at the free throw line with five seconds to go to put Providence up 26-25 going into the locker room.
Next up the Friars travel to Madison Square Garden for the BIG East Tournament. The Friars will open the BIG EAST Tourney on Thursday, March 8 but their opponent and seed will not be determined until after the final game tonight in which Butler plays at Seton Hall at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
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