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March 3, 2013

Providence Downs Johnnies

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 2, 2013) - JaKarr Sampson matched a career-high with 22 points and Sir'Dominic Pointer registered his fourth-career double-double, but in a game that featured six ties, 11 lead changes and two teams that shot below 38.0 percent from the field, Providence held on to defeat St. John's, 62-59.

Sampson was 9-of-20 from the floor and added six rebounds, and Pointer finished with a 13-point, 10-rebound, four-assist effort for St. John's (16-12, 8-8 BIG EAST), which shot just 25-of-68 (36.8) percent from the floor. Phil Greene IV added 10 points and Chris Obekpa had six points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. The Red Storm, however, finished just 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) from long range and 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from the charity stripe.

Bryce Cotton drained five 3s and scored a game-high 24 points to lead Providence (16-12, 8-8 BIG EAST). Kadeem Batts added 15 points and nine boards, while Kris Dunn chipped in with five points and 12 rebounds as the Friars posted a +9 margin (47-38) on the glass. The Friars managed to shoot just 37.3 percent (22-of-59) from the floor and also struggled to shoot just 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the line.

"There were a number of positives we can build on, but in the end Providence's rebounding edge was the difference. I liked our team's cohesive approach and competitive fire," said St. John's head coach Steve Lavin. "But it's difficult to win on the road in this league against a hot team if you're outrebounded by nine."

A Council layup gave Providence a 29-28 lead with 19:04 to go, but a Pointer layup-and-one followed by a Greene jumper capped a quick 5-0 run to give the Red Storm a 33-29 lead at the 17:51 mark of a second half in which neither team led by more than four points. Batts tied the score with a dunk before Cotton made a trey to put Providence on top, 36-33. Sampson tied the game at 44-44 with a free throw to complete a three-point play and the Red Storm took a three-point lead on a Pointer 3, but Cotton answered with a 3 of his own to tie the game for the sixth time.

St. John's led 55-52 with 4:21 left in regulation, but Providence went on a 7-0 run to take a four-point lead with just 2:21 to go. Greene made a pair of free throws to pull the Red Storm to within one, 60-59, but a pair of 1-of-2 trips to line put the Friars up by three and a Sampson 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.

Pointer opened the game with two layups before a Sampson jumper gave the Red Storm a 6-0 lead with 18:17 left in the half. The Friars tied the game at 8-8, but consecutive buckets from Obekpa and Amir Garrett put the Red Storm back up by four. Providence pulled to within one before St. John's went on another quick run, a 5-0 spurt capped by a Sampson dunk. St. John's eventually opened up its largest lead of the game, a 25-17 advantage at the 5:49 mark, but Batts made two-straight layups to lead the Friars on a 7-0 run and the Red Storm took a 27-26 lead into the locker room.

St. John's completes its home-and-home series with Notre Dame on Tuesday, March 5, with a 7 p.m. clash on ESPN2.



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