March 13, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. The Providence College men's basketball team defeated St. John's in the BIG EAST Quarterfinals, 79-74, on Thursday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Sophomore Josh Fortune (Hampton, Va.) scored a career and game-high 24 points to lead the Friars (21-11, 10-8). It was Providence's first BIG EAST tournament win since 2009. The victory sends the Friars into the Semifinals for the first time since 1997 and the eighth time overall. Providence will face No. 8 seed Seton Hall (17-4), which upset No. 1 seed Villanova, 64-63, earlier in the day in the Quarterfinals. The Friars and the Pirates will play at 7 p.m. on Thursday night on Fox Sports 1.
The Friars opened the second half with a 14-4 run to take a 50-37 lead. Fortune hit two 3-pointers and a 2-pointer to lead the Friars in the run. St. John's went on an 8-0 run to pull within 11 (63-52) of Providence (5:24). The Red Storm (20-12, 10-8) put another 8-0 run together to cut PC's lead to three with 2:28 remaining in the game. D'Angelo Harrison hit two free throws to dwindle the Friars' lead to one (69-68) with 1:15 left to play. Cotton nailed two free throws of his own (71-68) and Fortune made a key block on a 3-point attempt by Harrison. Fortune then sunk two from the charity stripe to give PC a 73-68 lead (00:26). From there PC hit key free throws to seal the game, 79-74. Providence shot 42 percent in the half while St. John's shot 41. The Friars held the lead the entire half.
Providence used an 8-0 run in the first half, that was highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers, to take a 30-29 lead with 4:09 remaining. The Friars entered the locker room with a 36-33 advantage. Fortune and junior LaDontae Henton (Lansing, Mich.) led Providence in scoring with 12 points each. The Friars shot 40 percent from the floor in the half while St. John's shot on a 41 percent clip.
Senior Kadeem Batts (Boston, Mass.) recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Henton and sophomore Tyler Harris (Dix Hills, N.Y.) each reached double figures in rebounding with 11 and 10, respectively. Henton recorded his fourth double-double of the year by adding 16 points. Senior Bryce Cotton (Tucson, Ariz.) scored 12 points, including 10-of-13 from the free throw line. The Friars had the edge in rebounds, grabbing 49 boards over the Red Storms' 44. The Friars 49 rebounds are the most in program history in BIG EAST tournament play.
Harrison led St. John's with a double-double, scoring 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
The Friars reached the 21 win mark for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Providence has posted a 4-2 mark all-time versus the Red Storm in the BIG EAST Tournament, with the Friars winning the last four matchups.
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