Stat Takeaways from the SF loss: Jakarr Sampson up, defense down

Jakarr Sampson's beastly night wasn't enough to propel the Johnnies past the Dons. - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the Four Factors, compared to the Johnnies' season average.

Last night's 81-65 loss to the San Francisco Dons was frustrating for fans who started to believe that this year's St. John's squad was building something special. But special isn't built in a day, or in a win over South Carolina. The schedule, devoid of big names, is filled with challenges of travel, style, and talent.

The oddsmakers had San Francisco as the favorite; now we see why.

The Johnnies get an easier test against the 1-7 Fordham Rams at the Holiday Festival doubleheader. But first, a look back at the San Francisco game that was. A look at the tempo-neutral numbers from last night, compared to the averages from before the San Francisco game.

  • EFG% is field goal percentage with a modifier to account for three-pointers made, making it easier to compare team's true level of scoring;
  • percentage of turnovers (TO%), what percentage of possessions end with a turnover;
  • offensive rebounding percentage, the team's ability to get their own misses and prevent other teams from getting their misses (i.e., defensive rebounding)
  • FT Rate, the ratio of free throws earned divided by field goals taken, a measure of offensive aggressiveness and defensive fouling.

The Four Factors from last night:

Factor
St. John's
Pre-SF StJ Season Avg
San Francisco
Pre-SF StJ Opponent Season Avg
eFG%
42.1%
50.3%
58.3%
46.0%
TO%
11.9%
15.7%
13.4%
20.3%
Off Rebounding
30.0%
29.8%
19.4%
35.4%
FT Rate
23.8%
30.5%
46.3%
24.9%

Comparing last night's performance against the Red Storm season averages, a few things are clear (ignoring an inflated free throw rate as the Red Storm fouled late to extend the game):

  1. The shots were not falling. One player kept the Red Storm close. It wasn't Phil Greene IV, who shot 2/7 on the night for 6 points. Neither was it D`Angelo Harrison went 1/7 in the second half, a performance far from the steady torrent of buckets 3`Angelo usually provides. He scored 2 points and had 1 assist as the San Francisco Dons did a great job of bottling him up, trapping at times.
  2. The Dons had no trouble ripping through the Red Storm defense. In the second half, point guard Cody Doolin scored 16 points - 8 on free throws, 8 from the field - and assisted on 7 of 8 of the Dons' second half scores. The Dons had 9 turnovers and scalded the nets, especially from outside (9/15 from the field). The second half was powered by their ability to score inside the arc (9/17 - 53%) against a St. John's team with length and shot blockers.
  3. On the plus side, St. John's rebounded the ball well. The Dons preferred to run back on defense, cutting off transition opportunities, so that low offensive-rebounding-allowed number is misleading. But Chris Obekpa had 9 rebounds, an improvement for the big man.
  4. The Red Storm weren't able to get the Dons' stars off the floor or staunch the bleeding with foul shots. That's a matter of style. When St. John's isn't hitting jump shots, the team doesn't yet have a weapon to draw fouls and regain control of the game. Or a weapon to hit threes if Harrison is covered - the team attempted only five three-point shots in the second half.
  5. Lastly, Jakarr Sampson was a beast. In reaching a new season high of 22 points, Sampson also carried the team in the second half, shooting 6/9 for 13 points.

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