Saturday, January 13, 2024

St. John's Suffered "Extemely Disappointing Loss," As Pitino Put It, At Creighton


Daniss Jenkins puts up a layup. @StJohnsBball.

The St. John's Red Storm suffered a crushing loss at Creighton on Saturday afternoon, 66-65, which might cost them a shot at a ranking in the Top 25.

St. John's falls to 4-2 in Big East Conference play, and 12-5 overall, while Creighton, who entered this one ranked 22nd in one poll and 20th in another, matched them at 4-2 in the Big East, while the Blue Jays are 13-4 overall.

Creighton jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead before St. John's went on a 14-2 run capped by a Jordan Dingle jumper to take an 18-12 lead at the 10:03 mark of the first half. The Red Storm took a 35-30 edge into the half, backed by a balanced scoring attack, as Daniss Jenkins and Dingle had six points apiece, while Nahiem Alleyne and RJ Luis Jr. had four points each.

In the second half, Creighton opened it much as they did the opening frame, with a 15-7 run capped by a Mason Miller fast-break dunk that made it 45-42. St. John's responded with a 10-0 run capped by a Chris Ledlum put-back layup that made it 52-45 with 9:47 left.

Creighton re-took the lead with 5:46 left when Ryan Kalkbrenner slammed one home to make it 59-58. Five lead changes would follow before St. John's took a 65-64 lead on a Joel Soriano dunk with 2:02 remaining.

It would stay that way nearly until the finish line, but Trey Alexander was fouled by Jenkins with 10 seconds left. He would get to the line, bury the pair of free throws to make it 66-65 Creighton. They would hold on at in the closing seconds as Jenkins missed a pull-up jumper in the paint, and Dingle grabbed the offensive rebound and missed a jumper in the paint as time expired.

Creighton was led by Kalkbrenner, who had 18 points on 6-11 from the field, 1-2 from behind the arc, with nine rebounds and one assist. Baylor Scheierman had 17 points on 5-15 shooting, 1-6 on three-pointers, and 6-7 on free throws, with 12 rebounds to give him a double-double, plus two assists.

St. John's was led by Joel Soriano, who notched his 10th double-double of the season with 13 points (5-11 FG) and 11 rebounds, with an assist. Daniss Jenkins had 11 points (5-17 FG, 1-3 on threes), with five assists and two rebounds. 

PITINO POSTGAME: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino addressed the media after the game, and he opened with this statement: "That was an ectremely disappointing loss for us. We played good enough to win, but on the road, you've got to get loose balls and you've got to rebound. It was a very disappointing loss and the team's very dow about it. We had a chance to win it. I told the guys not to take floaters in the lane, take two-point shots. I thought our bench gave us a big lift tonight and got us the lead...We're disappointed, but in this league, you can't get too low because we have Seton Hall next, who just beat Butler on the road. We'll take a long trip home and get ready for them. (St. John's plays Seton Hall on Tuesday night in Newark)

On Creighton: "I thought we played good defense and it came down to the buzzer...It was nothing they did that was impressive and there was nothing that we did that was impressive. It was two teams that were playing their hearts out and [Creighton] came away with the victory."

On this game: "We played well today, but didn't come away with a victory. We could have gone from 34 in the NET to 20 in the NET with a road victory, but we didn't get the job done. We have to get ready for a Seton Hall team today that is playing lights out."

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