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BYU outlasts St. John’s 74-68

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The Johnnies could not get stops when they needed.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Boston College David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Storm fell for the first time this season, dropping this one 74-68 to BYU. The Red Storm looked ‘fun’ at times, but could not make the plays they needed to win. They led 12-9 about eight minutes into this contest but would never regain the lead.

For as many shots as both teams put up, the first half was not a masterclass in offense. Going into the break, St. John’s was a lousy 9-31 (29%) from the field and 2-11 (18%) from beyond the arc. BYU did not fare much better as they went into halftime shooting 12-33 (36%) from the field and 4-12 (25%) from deep.

St. John’s took some time to get comfortable on offense. With seven minutes remaining in the first half the Johnnies had only 12 points. There was a stretch in which St. John’s missed nine consecutive field goals. The offense looked sloppy early, and the basket seemingly had a lid on it. Nevertheless, for as tough as the first half was for St. John’s, they only trailed by six going into intermission.

It did not take much time in the second half for St. John’s to break out of their funk. On the very first possession of the half, Julian Champagnie stole the pass, got out on the fast break, and finished his layup through the foul. That proved to be just the spark St. John’s needed as they put 18 quick points on the board, forcing BYU coach Mark Pope to call for timeout less than five minutes out of the break.

Champagnie once again looked like the best Red Storm player on the floor. He hit several key baskets to keep St. John’s in contention. Unfortunately, he did not get enough support from his teammates to overcome the Cougars lead. Champagnie finished the game with 25 points, 3 assists, while shooting 50% from the field.

As the half went on, St. John’s kept close, but failed to ever tie it up with BYU. Had the Cougars made just a few more three-point shots, and been less sloppy with the basketball, they likely would have beat St. John’s by even more. The Johnnies could not get the critical stops when they needed to. Their defense fell apart at the wrong times, and BYU had several mini bursts in the second half that St. John’s just could not overcome. Coach Mike Anderson even tried to mix in a 1-3-1 zone at one point to stymie BYU.

One guy the Johnnies really struggled to contain was guard Alex Barcello. He proved to be a problem to contain shooting 8-11 from the field and finishing with 20 points. He also added two steals to his stat line. Gideon George was another Cougar that had a strong outing. He finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Collectively, the Red Storm had a tough time making shots from beyond the perimeter. As a team they shot 4-21 (19%) from distance, with two of those coming from Dylan Addae-Wusu. Additionally, they had trouble keeping this large BYU team off the glass, getting out-rebounded 44-35.

St. John’s will return home to Carnesecca Arena on Sunday for a bout with Stony Brook. That contest will tip at 2:30 PM EST, and will be avaliable for viewing on Fox Sports 1.