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Denver dashed: St. John's loses, 86-71 to Gonzaga in NCAA Tournament

It's over.
It's over.

It's over for the 10 seniors. It's over for Steve Lavin's first season.

It's over for the St. John's Red Storm's tournament hopes. For the seniors, they lose in their first and only NCAA Tournament game.

St. John's was absolutely crushed on the glass (43 total rebounds to 20 for the Storm) by the bigger Gonzaga Bulldogs on their way to an 86-71 loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Was the lack of D.J. Kennedy the deciding factor? 

Well, he is the team's best rebounder, but one has to think that the Johnnies' struggles all season against height played into the loss. Kennedy would have helped, but the Zags got great looks, and their skilled players made shots.

Gonzaga attacked the Red Storm's matchup zone clinically, mercilessly; they established the interior threat and found the spot up shooters for jumpers that they made, and made, and kept making shots, hitting 60% from beyond the arc, with an eFG% of 62.5, an offensive efficiency of 126.5, and picking up 26 foul shot attempts along the way. And the Zags only committed 15 turnovers.

Losing sucks. Getting carved up while the Johnnies' defense imitates a broken toy is even worse.

But it's great to get to this point. More on the game, below the fold.

St. John's fans are all happy for the season they got to enjoy despite this tough ending. Imagine - NCAA Tournament Thursday and we're still talking about St. John's?  The Red Storm are part of someone's busted bracket?  We can talk about "wait til next year" (hold off on that one, folks, that's a lot of youth coming in!!)?

This is a taste of success. And the bitter taste of an end of season defeat. The Bulldogs owned the glass and owned the paint for the game. Robert Sacre had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 4 offensive rebounds; joining him up front, Kelly Olynyk had 6 points on 3 field goal attempts and 4 rebounds; Sam Dower had 6 points; and Elias Harris had 15 and 8 total boards.

From the outside, they were joined by Steven Gray's stat stuffing 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists, and Marquise Carter's 24 points and 7 boards.

Dwight Hardy led the Red Storm with 26 on 23 shots, many scored in the second half as the Zags backed off of him a bit. Justin Brownlee added 14 and 3 steals. Dwayne Polee II got some extended second half run, and in 21 minutes of game time, scored 12 points with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

Sean Evans got the start, contributing 7 rebounds and 4 points. Coker got some time, as did Malik Stith and walk on Kevin Clark.

More looks at the game in the next day or so. Keep reading the Rumble, we'll be talking NCAA Tournament all the way through. And we'll start talking about the incoming recruits. Next year is the beginning of a beautiful resurgence.