Smothered: St. John's loses to the Louisville Cardinals, 73-58

St. John's lost a sloppy game at Madison Square Garden 73-58 to Rick Pitino's 10/11 ranked Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals struggled to score the basketball, especially in the first half...

...But St. John's struggled much more, going 5-35 in the first half, scoring 18 points.

It was a tough game to watch, and showed the youth of the Red Storm. Gorgui Dieng blocked 5 shots in the first half to set the tone, and St. John's found themselves shooting too quickly, missing shots inside and outside the arc.

It was a tough and frustrating game for St. John's fans against the top-15 Louisville Cardinals. They showed why they are ranked, despite an occasionally sloppy offense.

For the Red Storm, it feels like a bad loss, but it's but one game in the young team's learning curve. The effort was solid, but the pressure was stifling.

Boxscore

The Red Storm hit three of their five shots, and had a lead early... and then shot 2/30 from about the 17:00 mark on. The Red Storm shot 13% from inside the arc and 16% outside the arc in the half. The team shot 33% inside the arc (16/48) and 2/16 from the perimeter (12.5%) for the game.

Louisville wasn't much better, but hit from the outside in the second half as St. John's tried to pressure them into mistakes. The Cardinals made mistakes, just not enough to cover for St. John's shooting.

On the plus side, St. John's didn't turn the ball over - committing 12 turnovers in all, losing it on about 16% of their possessions.

Louisville turned the ball over 25% of the time, and struggled both in the half court and with their ballhandling, even in the first half. The Cardinals were paced by 17 points from Russ Smith, 15 from Kyle Kuric, whose outside jumper started falling in the second half (he had more space as well), and 12 points from Gorgui Dieng, who had a career-high 7 blocks to go with his 9 rebounds.

In the loss St. John's was led by an aggressive D`Angelo Harrison (24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals). He shot 8 of 18 from the field but earned 7 free throw attempts. Moe Harkless struggled to find his opportunities, scoring 12 on 4/13 shooting with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Sir`Dominic Pointer had 6 points, 5 steals, 2 blocks, and 7 total rebounds (3 offensive). God`sgift Achiuwa (4 points, 2/6 shooting, 6 rebounds) and Phil Greene (3 points, 0/9 shooting, 4 assists, 5 rebounds) struggled a bit to make impacts against the aggressive, smothering, trapping Cardinal defense, as many players before them have.

Next game: a trip to Cincinnati to match up with the 11-3 Bearcats. Tip off on Saturday at 2.00 pm Eastern time. Look out for pregame posts from Thursday-Saturday.

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