The St. John’s Red Storm open the Big East Tournament on Thursday afternoon with a Quarterfinal matchup against Providence. St. John’s lost to Providence last year in the quarterfinals of the Big East, so they will be out for revenge.
The Johnnies beat the Friars twice in the regular season, in Providence on January 14th, 83-70, and at The Garden on January 31st, 75-66.
St. John’s finished the regular season with a 21-10 record, 10-8 in Big East play. They closed out the season winning seven of their last nine games, with big wins over Georgetown and Xavier, whom they beat twice. Their only losses were to Georgetown and to Villanova in the regular season finale on March 7th, 105-68.
St. John’s is very likely in the NCAA Tournament, but a win here would help them get a better seed. Their reward for beating Providence would be a meeting with Villanova on Friday night at 7:00 pm.
Here is what St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin and the players had to say on Tuesday ahead of this big game with Providence.
Head Coach Steve Lavin
“Naturally, the team is looking forward to playing in the postseason. Our players are aware that this is a special time of year and it’s a great opportunity to play in the BIG EAST Tournament. It makes it even sweeter that it’s at Madison Square Garden and that our seniors have an opportunity to play again in a venue that has been good for us, not only this year, but throughout their careers.”
On playing against Providence:
“Our games have been competitive through the years. It’s less about how many times we’ve played them, but more that we know we’ll have our hands full because they are a very talented basketball team and arguably have one of the country’s best 1-2 punch tandems in Kris Dunn and [LaDontae] Henton.”
On having a team led by seniors:
“The great part of having seniors and upperclassmen is that they’ve been through the battles over the course of their career. It doesn’t guarantee success but there is something to be said for having experience. This group has exhibited an old fashioned work ethic. I’ve been impressed by our teams ability to bounce back. Resiliency is an important trait to possess.”
Senior Guard D’Angelo Harrison
On playing in the BIG EAST Tournament:
“We’re definitely excited. Getting everybody healthy has been the main focus for the last few days. Thursday is a big game for us. It’s going to be something new that we’re just going to add and do what we’ve done since we’ve been here.”
On playing against Providence:
“I know they’re going to come out ready to play. [Ed Cooley] is a great coach and he’s going to have them ready to play. I talked to some of the fans today on campus and they said they’re going to go crazy at the game. It’ll be a fun game.”
On the history this season with Providence:
“We’ve beaten them twice. I’m just going to look at the film at how we executed, finished and how everybody played and just try to duplicate it.”
Senior Forward Sir’Dominic Pointer
On him and Phil Greene IV not making First Team All-BIG EAST:
“We just take it as motivation and just keep moving. The coaches decided what they decided on. We’ll just use it to fuel ourselves to be better. We’re not worried about individual accolades, just about the team. We know how good we are and we know how good we can be.”
Senior Guard Phil Greene IV
On not earning All-BIG EAST honors:
“It gives me a lot of motivation. As a team, we’re going to get our extra work in so we can win against Providence on Thursday.”