After 11 non-conference games filled with comebacks and heartbreaking defeats, the Red Storm finally began Big East play tonight as they hosted Providence at Carnesecca Arena. The raucous and sold out crowd included former Johnny star Dwight Hardy. The Hardy Homecoming was a good one, as St. John’s went on to improve their record to 7-5 with a 91-67 victory.
Big East play got off to a big start for the Johnny’s as they dominated Providence in the first half. After starting the game down by 2, St. John’s forced 4 turnovers to pick up 9 unanswered points. Providence finished the half committing 10 turnovers with St. John’s stealing 9 of those balls. D’Angelo Harrison continued his burning hot streak, dropping 18 points in the first half alone, while also forcing 2 steals. Moe Harkless was just 1 point and 1 rebound shy of a first have double double, he also converted 4 Providence turnovers into steals. The Red Storm shot 57% in the half while also making 5 threes. Providence found themselves trailing St. John’s 47-31 at the end of the half. The 47 points were the most in a first half for the Storm this season.
Moe Harkless got his double double just two minutes into the final 20 minutes. Harkless rolled right over the Providence defense in the second half and was able to finish the game with a career high 32 points, the most points scored by a St. John’s player since Dwight Hardy had 34 last season at Villanova. The game quickly turned into a dunk fest and a blow out, as the Johnny’s were able to score at will, often in stylish fashion to finish the game with a season high 91 points.
With 32 points, Moe Harkless had himself a career night. The freshmen had a double double that included 13 rebounds. D’Angelo Harrison simmered down after a red hot first half, but still finished the game with 25 points. Gerald Coleman of Providence had a team high 20 points for the Friars, but it just wasn’t enough as his team lost by 24 points.
Not only did St. John’s dominate Providence offensively, but they also did a solid job of controlling the defensive side of the ball. The Johnny’s forced the Friars to commit 20 turnovers, while the Storm only had 9 give aways. Providence also shot just 20% from beyond the arc.
Big East play continues on December 31st as St. John’s takes on the #9 ranked UCONN Huskies in a New Years Eve Matinée. St. John’s was able to defeat the reigning champs in a meeting last season.