Providence Continues Its Freefall – Lose to Red Storm by 11

Providence, fresh off a beatdown from Seton Hall, continued its rough spell of games by losing to St. John’s at home 92-81. It was a far cry from the 40 points scored against the Pirates, but the game was pretty much in hand for St. John’s from the onset of the game.

Revisiting Key Themes from the Game

Take Care of the Ball – Providence had 12 turnovers in this one, one above the 11 from St. Johns. When watching the game, I thought our guards did an admirable job with the basketball. This wasn’t the reason for the loss.

Dictate Pace of Play – Given we scored 81 points and still lost by 11, I would say this one leads me scratching my head a bit as to whether this was effective or not. While the offensive explosion is a pleasant surprise and good to see, it played right into what St. Johns wanted to do on the court. The defensive effort, or lack there of, may have had more to do with the 91 points than playing at the pace St. John’s is familiar with.

I am fine with them pushing the ball off St. Johns misses. If there is not a fast break opportunity for points, pull it back out and run the offense through Watson.

All Defensive Efforts Focused on Champagnie – Bingo. Champagnie came into the game averaging about 19 a game, and went 5 points above that, totaling 24 points and 10 rebounds. What most bothered me watching the game is that we often lost him on the court and allowed him to get free looks from deep. Where is the scouting and coaching there? Make all 4 other players on St. Johns beat you.

Find an Edge – This one is most frustrating to me. Besides some intensity and aggression from AJ Reeves and Nate Watson, this Providence squad seemed lifeless out there. The bottom line is this team has become accustomed to losing, and you can see it in their body language and effort.

Other Notable Takeaways

What is up with Duke? – Over the last 3 losses, he has averaged a shade under 7 points a game. As the apparent leader of this team, that cannot happen. What is most frustrating, beyond the output, is the seemingly lack of emotion or care out on the court. One only needs to look at him holding the ball for 5 seconds with 2 minutes remaining in the game and wonder where his head is at. We saw something similar in the Georgetown game with the shot clock expiring.

I won’t pretend to know why he is in a slump, but it is one of the more peculiar things I’ve seen in my years watching Providence basketball. We wrote here about how Duke needs to become the leader on the court, and he just may not be quite ready for that role at this point in his career (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/02/06/how-to-turn-around-the-season-what-the-friars-can-do-to-make-the-ncaas/#more-3190).

Providence Frontcourt a Bright Spot – Horchler likely had his best game of the season, putting up 19 points and 8 boards, while Watson had a season high of 30 points and 8 boards. This is something to build off of, if you are looking for silver linings, but it seems when one part of the starting line-up does well, the other parts disappear. Very frustrating.

Defense Remains a Massive Issue – Letting up 92 points in regulation tells the story here. St. Johns shot 59% from the field and 52% from deep. That cannot happen. Regardless of if we have the bodies and athletes to play adequate defense, the coaching staff needs to put these players in a position to succeed. It was mind boggling to see us continually turn to a zone when Champagnie and Alexander were shooting the lights out of the gym. Giving those two guys free looks from deep is asking them to beat you.

The Friars play Wednesday against rival UCONN at 4pm EST on FS1. Cooley better have the boys ready to match the intensity and energy of the Huskies.

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