Nate Watson scored 18 points and Providence pulled away down the stretch Saturday afternoon for a 70-56 victory over St. John’s, who remained winless in Big East games at Madison Square Garden.
Watson made 5 of 9 shots and 8 of 10 free throws as the Friars (14-10, 4-7) outscored St. John’s 39-27 in the second half and 27-13 in the final 12 1/2 minutes.
Isaiah Jackson added 12 points and David Duke contributed 11 as Providence snapped a three-game losing streak despite shooting 39.6 percent.
The Friars won on a day when leading scorer Alpha Diallo shot 3 of 12. Diallo finished with 10 points and collected a career-high 15 rebounds as Providence dominated the glass by a 43-23 margin.
The Friars beat St. John’s for the fourth straight time and seventh time in the last eight meetings.
Shamorie Ponds scored 20 points for St. John’s (17-7, 5-6), which fell to 0-2 in conference games at the home of the New York Knicks. The Red Storm played without second-leading scorer Mustapha Heron, who was a late scratch with a bruised right knee.
LJ Figueroa played through foul trouble and added 14 points for St. John’s, which shot 37 percent from the field.
Providence used an 11-4 run to take a 30-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Drew Edwards with 85 seconds left and held a 31-29 lead by halftime. St. John’s forged a 43-43 tie on a layup by Ponds with about 12 1/2 minutes remaining, but the Friars used a 10-2 run and took a 53-45 lead on a layup by Watson with 8:02 left.
Two free throws by Watson pushed the lead to 57-48 with 6:13 left and Providence expanded it to 61-50 on two free throws by Jackson with 5:09 left. The Friars clinched their latest win over St. John’s when Jackson hit a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down with 2:59 left to make it 66-54.
—Field Level Media