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St. John’s final: Johnnies fall to ODU, 63-55

A late spirited comeback falls short.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-St. John's vs Old Dominion Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Live by the LoVett, fall by the LoVett?

St. John’s ends the Battle 4 Atlantis 0-3, losing to Old Dominion 63-55. The Johnnies fall to 2-4 on the season, and will welcome cupcakes like Delaware State next week after the week in the Bahamas.

St. John’s most important player (LoVett) struggled for much of the game, and the Red Storm endured some rough scoring droughts against the disciplined and tough Old Dominion defense. The weather may have been warm outside, but the shooting numbers inside the Ballroom were cold. LoVett shot 7/16 from the field for 16 points, leading the Red Storm; Shamorie Ponds added 10 points on 3/12 shooting (0/7 outside the arc). Bashir Ahmed added nine and Federico Mussini added five in a second-half spurt.

Ponds led the team with seven rebounds.

It was a cold-shooting rock fight for both teams, though Old Dominion shot 31% overall from the field and just over 60% from the free throw line, continuing their early trend of struggles at the line.

Old Dominion (3-2) got 15 from Ahmad Caver and 12 from Trey Porter, but the bigger story is how they offset 31% shooting with 25 offensive rebounds - 1 more offensive rebounds than St. John’s had defensive rebounds.

Meaning that Old Dominion grabbed over 50% of their own misses, led by Denzell Taylor’s nine offensive rebounds (he had 17 overall).

There was a point in the second half of the loss to Old Dominion where, despite the deficit, a fan could believe. The Monarchs were in foul trouble, and St. John’s had some ball movement despite lacking the results.

But once again, youthful mistakes felled the Johnnies, fouling a three-point shooter and then giving up another jumper to balloon the lead to 44-30.

Given how ODU had stifled everything St. John’s wanted to do - from sending multiple defenders to LoVett, the making the traffic inside too thick for Sima/ Owens/ Yakwe to catch the ball cleanly, that lead was the point where the game seemed most lost.

Still, the Johnnies came back with a spirited run, as Old Dominion continued to miss and St. John’s drew fouls. A late turnover after a made LoVett shot gave Marcus LoVett one more bite at the proverbial apple, and he hit a three. St. John’s got within three late but could get no closer against the Conference USA squad.

The Rumble will take a closer look at this performance and some trouble points that the first five games have exposed.

But for now, enjoy the leftovers and tell us what you liked and didn’t like about this team’s performance.