St. John’s, in need of a win, faced the #10/ #11 team in the country.
With three minutes left, the #10/#11 team in the country cleared their bench to play their walk-ons, down 20.
St. John’s clobbered the Creighton Bluejays by the score of 91-71 at Carnesecca Arena, breaking a three-game losing streak, improving to 15-14. The upset also gives the Johnnies their fourth Big East win — they are 4-12 in conference play, with a trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse to play Butler on Wednesday coming up.
The offensive juggernaut* that is St. John’s [*when they are playing Creighton] took flight in the first half.
St. John’s, after being scorched in Omaha, trapped and pressured on the perimeter, choosing to force Creighton’s shots inside the arc.
And it worked well defensively — keeping Mitch Ballock and Marcus Zegarowski to a combined six points on 2/11 shooting. Would it be enough, as St. John’s gave up a number of backdoor baskets and shots at the rim to players like Damien Jefferson (13 points) in the half?
Would it work with Marcellus Earlington having committed two fouls and on the bench in his first start? Would it work with Josh Roberts sidelined after a first-half shoulder injury?
Apparently, the sight of Creighton blue also makes the Red Storm into capable shhoters. St. John’s was willing to trade twos for threes, and Greg Williams Jr., who reached a career-high, was happy to take those threes against Creighton’s sagging perimeter defense.
The Bluejays made moves — a five-point run by T-Shon Alexander here, a Mitch Ballock three there — but David Caraher, reliving his Houston Baptist days, took jumpesoff the dribble to help pace the Johnnies. Even walk-on Justin Cole, after helping to force a steal, hit a jumper off the dribble.
It was 45-37 at the half.
Creighton came back to lead for a short time by a point, but a Nick Rutherford three gave the Johnnies a little cushion.
After Ty-Shon Alexander’s fourth foul, St. John’s opened up the venegeful can of whoop on Creighton. Greg Williams Jr., with family in attendance, kept stroking threes, helped by Julian Champagnie and LJ Figueroa, to put the game far out of reach.
Greg Williams Jr. had 21 points on 7/10 shooting beyond the arc. The team as a whole shot 63% on treys and held Creighton to 14% shooting.
Rasheem Dunn added 19 and LJ Figueroa had 16; Dunn added 10 assists and Figueroa added 12 rebounds. Julian CHampagnie added 13.
They may not be able to bottle that kind of performance, but it was a thrill for the home fans, who went into the cold and windy night happy in the final regular season Carnesecca Arena game.