Thud goes the dreams of running the table up to the Big East Tournament, as St. John’s couldn’t catch up to a new-look and revenge-minded Marquette Golden Eagles team in Milwaukee, losing 85-73.
St. John’s falls back to .500 — 14-14, 3-12 in the Big East. St. John’s loses for the first time in February, breaking a four-game winning streak.
St. John’s started the game with sloppy and cold play, committing 3 turnovers and going 1/10 from 3 until the eight-minute mark.
Marquette’s zone defense, which helped the Golden Eagles rein in Creighton’s high powered offense on Saturday, paired with their mix of match-up zone and man defense, and kept St. John’s off balance early. The Marquette defense was active, with long freshman Greg Elliott getting some time defending Shamorie Ponds — starting in star Eagles guard Markus Howard’s absence.
The Red Storm struggled to get the ball into the paint against the mix of defenses, settling for early contested 3’s. With under 10 minutes left, St. John’s was able to get to the rim with an alley-oop from Shamorie Ponds to Justin Simon.
Followed shortly thereafter by back to back 3’s by Ponds and Bryan Trimble Jr. to pull the game within five. Tariq Owens added to to get the Johnnies within three.
Bashir Ahmed was forced to the bench early with 3 fouls for much of the final nine minutes. That gave Trimble some extra run, and Trimble made the most of it.
Trimble finished the half leading all scorers with 11 points off of 4-4 shooting from the floor and 3-3 from 3.
Ponds, only scoring 5 first half points off of 2-8 shooting from the floor and 1-4 from 3, found a way to contribute with 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Marquette, led by Andrew Rowsey’s first half 9 points off of 3-9 shooting from the field and 2-7 from 3, went into halftime with a 38-34 lead over the Red Storm.
The start to the second half was similar to the start of the first, but the Marquette 13-1 run — powered by eight points from Sam Hauser — locked the game down for them in the first five minutes of the half.
Marquette had little trouble passing the ball into the paint. Once it was there, Theo John and Jamal Cain could get to the basket at will or kick out the ball to the open perimeter shooter.
St. John’s was down as much as 20 in the second half, as Hauser (16 in the second half), Rowsey (10 in the second half) and the Golden Eagles coasted for the rest of the half, outplaying the reaching, grasping Red Storm.
The Eagles coasted the rest of the half, outplaying the Red Storm, who couldn’t find the shooting touch or the defensive chaos of their winning streak.
Next for St. John’s is a matchup against rival Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden on Saturday at noon.
Marquette Golden Eagles
Sam Hauser: 24 Points (9-14 FG, 5-7 3PT), 3 Rebounds, 5 Assists
Andrew Rowsey: 19 Points (7-16 FG, 4-12 3PT), 1 Rebound, 8 Assists
Sacar Anim, Greg Elliott, Jamal Cain: 11 Points each
St. John’s Red Storm
Shamorie Ponds: 19 Points (5-18 FG, 4-7 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 5 Turnovers
Bryan Trimble Jr.: 19 Points (7-9 FG, 5-7 3PT) [career-high], 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist
Justin Simon: 14 Points (5-8 FG, 1-2 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 5 Turnovers
Marvin Clark II: 12 Points (5-13 FG, 1-6 3PT). 6 Rebounds