St. John’s could not sustain their first half production, as Butler came back to blow out the Johnnies, 77-55.
The Red Storm falls to 15-15, 4-13 in Big East play; Butler improves to 21-9, 9-8 in the Big East.
Butler appeared to approach St. John’s in a similar manner to how Creighton approached the Red Storm, wherein Butler started the game by giving the Johnnies on the perimeter a considerable amount of room. When St. John’s, and particular Julian Champagnie, got hot from deep, Butler quickly adjusted and played closer on the perimeter.
Much of St. John’s success before the break was thanks to the hot hands of Julian Champagnie. Champagnie scored 16 points on 6 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 4 from deep to go along with 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal. His 16 first half points were a career high for Champagnie, topping his previous high of 15 points against Arizona State.
Despite Champagnie’s great half, the Red Storm left several points on the table by only shooting 7 of 13 at the rim with a majority of the misses being layups capable of conversion.
Butler was able to put up five quick points in the last 90 seconds of the half, but St. John’s still went into the break up 32-31.
St. John’s struggles at the end of the first half bled over into the second half, with Butler going on a 9-0 run six minutes into the half to take an nine-point lead. Butler’s Sean McDermott hit a couple of threes early in the half putting St. John’s in that second half hole.
Not only was Butler getting things rolling on offense, but St. John’s went ice cold on offense. The ball both stopped moving and going through the net, and which caused which is certainly up for debate. Regardless, the Johnnies went nearly eight minute without converting a field goal. By the time St. John’s made a shot, it was too late as the Red Storm were down 14 with less than nine minutes remaining.
As might be expected, the Red Storm did not get better at the rim in the second half. The Johnnies converted only 5 of 10 at the bucket in the second half, resulting in only going 12 of 23 at the basket in the contest.
Largely what Butler did well was take care of the basketball. St. John’s is indisputably better in the open court then they are in the half court, and the Bulldogs kept the Johnnies out of the open court by only turning the ball over 9 times in the game, only one more than St. John’s.
Butler kept it rolling for the remainder of the game, and St. John’s never got it together offensively, so the Red Storm eventually fell, 77-55.
Next, St. John’s goes back to Madison Square Garden to close out the regular season against Marquette on Saturday at noon.
St. John’s Red Storm
Julian Champagnie: 23 points (9/14 FG, 4/6 3PT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover
Greg Williams, Jr.: 11 points (4/9 FG, 1/3 3PT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
LJ Figueroa: 9 points (4/11 FG, 1/3 3PT), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 turnovers
Sean McDermott: 16 points (6/11 FG, 3/7 3PT), 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover
Jordan Tucker: 14 points (3/8 FG, 3/8 3PT), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 turnover