It’s always fun for an athlete to take part in a coaching milestone and for the St. John’s Red Storm, they got to play last Saturday in a marquee game where a head coach earned his 300th victory. The problem for the Johnnies is that it was not Mike Anderson but Providence’s head coach Ed Cooley.
The nearly three-week layoff due to Covid-related problems hasn’t seen to slow down the Red Storm too much and for the most part they were in this game. However, dropping an early conference game may come back to haunt them later down the stretch. St. John’s dropped this one 83-73 after Providence returned home from a beatdown at the hands of Marquette and found new life to lead Ed Cooley to chalk up his 300th career college basketball win. For St. John’s, the rust may still be in the system as a bit from the 18-day layoff and this loss brings them 1-1 in conference play.
Dylan Addae-Wusu has found himself in a key role for the Johnnies and led the team with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. However, his teammates couldn’t seem to find the big orange iron hoop as St. John’s was only eight for 17 from the free throw line, compared to 26 for 30 for the Friars. The lost points from the free throw line itself was the margin of loss for the Red Storm and improvements will be needed immediately or leaving points on the court will continue to haunt the Johnnies moving down the stretch.
Providence also switched to a zone defense and that seemed to stymie the Red Storm as well. In reality, St. John’s led at halftime with a score of 38-35 then moved the score up to 48-41 early in the second half before a 32-12 Providence run. Defensively, the Red Storm defense collapsed on itself and allowed Providence to take over the momentum and control in this game over the course of the second half. St. John’s also settled for taking outside shots and drove little in the paint which any opponent defense will love as it forces the offense to play on the outer edge of the perimeter all game long. St. John’s has two more road games coming up including another conference game at UConn. Life in the Big East will not get any easier and as January rolls on into February, the Red Storm need to solidify their chances for a postseason bid.