Wednesday, January 31, 2024

St. John's Drops Another One On Road, With Champs On Deck


Daniss Jenkins looks to make a pass. @StJohnsBball.

After a week off since their stirring one over Villanova, the St. John's Red Storm suffered another tough road loss, as the Xavier Musketeers staged a decisive late run in the final minutes to roll to an 88-77 win.

This is St. John's fourth loss in their last five games, and they are now 5-5 in Big East conference play. Their overall record is 13-8, and they are set to host the defending National Champions and current #1 in the country, UConn, on Saturday at noon at Madison Square Garden.

Xavier led this one from the start, and maintained a seven-point lead towards the end of the first half, and took a 38-34 lead into the intermission.

St. John's kept chipping away in the second half, as they fought their way back from a nine-point deficit to tie it up at 75 on a pair of Chris Ledlum free throws with 3:02 remaining.

The thing about a game like this is that you fight so hard coming back, and when you do, it can fire up the other team, and that's what happened here.

Xavier closed the game on an astonishing 13-2 run, powered by eight points from Quincy Olivari, who buried a pair of three-pointers and hit two free throws with nine seconds left to seal it.

Xavier was led by the trio of Olivari, Desmond Claude, and Dayvion McKnight, who combined for 65 of their 88 points.

Olivari had 23 points on 6-16 from the field, including 4-8 on three-pointers and a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line, with seven rebounds and two assists. Claude also had 23 points, as he shot 6-13, 0-2 on threes, and 11-12 from the charity stripe, with three rebounds and three assists. McKnight had 19 points (6-9 FG, 1-2 threes, 6-7 FT), with six assists and five rebounds.

St. John's was led by Daniss Jenkins, who had 25 points on 11-17 from the field, including 2-5 on three-pointers, with four rebounds and two assists. Joel Soriano had a double-double, as he poured in 21 points (8-14 FG) and hauled in 15 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, with four blocks, an assist, and a steal.

PITINO POSTGAME: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino addressed the media after the game, and he opened with this statement: "Sometimes it doesn't come down to the obvious of somebody making a shot. Sometimes games are won or lost on a loose-ball rebound. That's just the case when we were down two there. We got them to miss the shot and couldn't come up with the loose rebound. They did and then scored. I've been in this game a long time. It always comes down to something you don't expect. A loose ball rebound, getting on the floor for a loose basketball. We played our hearts out. [Xavier] wins 85 percent of their games at home, they are very good at home. Beat Houston, almost beat UConn. They are a tough team to play against, especially here. Sean [Miller] is one of my favorite coaches in the country and they played really well tonight. We played really hard, but didn't play well enough to get a win."

On Xavier and their transition offense: "[Xavier] plays that way all the time. The transition game for them is number one. If Joel [Soriano] doesn't beat the pack back, you are in trouble. They are going down at full speed, you can't touch them. They only way to stop it is for the five-man to get back and block it late. In the beginning, Joel and Zuby [Ejiofor] missed a couple shots inside, so he is worried about that and didn't sprint back...They beat us from the three-point line. They beat us in transition."

No comments:

Post a Comment