St. John's loses to Providence

Jakarr Sampson goes to the hoop against Pittsburgh's

Jakarr Sampson goes to the hoop against Pittsburgh's Steven Adams during a game at Madison Square Garden. (Feb. 24, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Bryce Cotton scored 24 points, hitting five three-pointers, to propel Providence to a 62-59 win over St. John's Saturday.

Cotton made his final trey as he was fouled with 3:46 remaining. "God gave us that win," coach Ed Cooley said. "We were supposed to win today."

St. John's took a 55-52 lead with 4:21 left on a putback by Chris Obekpa, but Providence (16-12, 8-8) scored the next seven points to go ahead 59-55 with 2:21 left. "We did a lot of things wrong, but when it was time to do something right, we did," Cooley said. "The little things got us over the hump."

JaKarr Sampson tied his career high with 22 points and Sir'Dominic Pointer had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for St. John's (16-12, 8-8). Phil Greene IV had 10 points and Obekpa added six points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. But Pointer's missed layup with eight seconds left ended the Red Storm's chances of sending the game to overtime.

The Friars outrebounded St. John's 47-38. "To win on someone else's home court against a hot team, you can't be outrebounded by nine," St. John's coach Steve Lavin said.

St. John's shot 1-for-11 from three-point range and 8-for-14 from the free-throw line, but Lavin attributed his team's loss more to Providence's strength than his own team's faults. "I couldn't be more proud of them,'' he said. "They played with cohesiveness. They battled. We just lost."

St. John's played its first game without leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison, who was suspended by Lavin late last week.

Providence was able "to go from 2-7 to 8-8 and really is the hottest team in the league other than Georgetown," Lavin said. "In my book, [Cooley] is the Big East coach of the year runaway."

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