Rapid Reaction: Providence 84, SJU 83

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16
10:13
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Some quick thoughts on St. John's' 84-83 loss to Providence on Thursday at Carnesecca Arena:

What it means: This St. John's season is turning into a disaster.

The Red Storm suffered their fifth consecutive loss to begin Big East play -- and by far their most heartbreaking one -- by falling to the Friars in double overtime.

St. John's dropped to 9-8 overall, 0-5 in the conference. Providence improved to 12-5 overall, 2-2 in the conference.

The turning point: Steve Lavin went with his ninth different starting lineup in 17 games this season. God'sgift Achiuwa opened the scoring with a pair of free throws, but Providence rattled off 14 straight points from there, leading to a St. John's timeout. A late 6-0 spurt by the Red Storm cut the Friars' lead to seven, 36-29, at halftime. St. John's had just one assist in the first half.

St. John's took its first lead since 2-0 at 65-63 on a D'Angelo Harrison trey with 3:07 remaining in regulation. In the final seconds, with the game tied at 67, Orlando Sanchez had an open look from the top of the key. It missed, as did Bryce Cotton's subsequent last-second heave. Overtime.

The Red Storm scored two quick buckets in the first OT, giving them their largest lead of the game, 71-67, but the Friars tied it back up quickly. With the game knotted at 77, after a Cotton miss from deep, St. John's could hold for the final shot. Harrison drove, lost the ball, recovered it, then missed a very tough look from the corner. Double overtime.

A layup by Phil Greene IV gave St. John's an 81-79 lead with 2:21 remaining in double OT. Then, in a mad scramble for the ball near midcourt, the Red Storm emerged with the ball, and Harrison raced in for another layup, making it 83-79 with 1:35 left. After Providence's Tyler Harris made two free throws to make it 83-82 with 25.6 seconds left, St. John's inbounded the ball to Max Hooper, who was tied up for a jump ball -- possession Friars. On the ensuing possession, Cotton drove and drained a runner, plus a foul, with 9.8 ticks left. Cotton missed the free throw, but then Greene drove the lane and missed a layup in traffic. That's your ballgame.

Star watch: Six players were in double figures for St. John's, led by Jakarr Sampson with 16 points. Greene had 15 and Harrison 14.

Cotton scored a game-high 21 points for Providence.

Number crunch: The Friars entered the game as the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the country at 79.7 percent. They shot 30-for-36 (83.3 percent) on Thursday. The Red Storm shot the same percentage but had significantly fewer attempts, 20-for-24.

What's next: St. John's plays its final nonconference game of the season Saturday, hosting Dartmouth at 6 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena. It'll be the Red Storm's third game in six days. Providence hosts No. 20 Creighton on Saturday.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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