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St. John’s Struggles on the Road Against Creighton, 87-64.

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Red Storm drop first of four straight Quad 1 opportunities

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After St. John’s put together their most complete game of the season against Georgetown, the Johnnies played arguably their worst game of the season losing to Creighton, 87-64.

The first half for St. John’s was possibly the worst half they have played since Big East play started. To start, the defense had long defensive lapses. Creighton executed an 11-0 run which stretched through the under-12 minute media timeout as well as a subsequent 7-0 going into the under-4 minute media timeout.

Creighton’s Alex O’Connell in particular gave St. John’s fits prior to the break. O’Connell scored 17 points, an incredibly efficient 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from deep in addition to his 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

To make matters worse, the offense was ineffective and unable to offset the defensive lapses. Dylan Addae-Wusu had eight of the team’s first ten points, and Aaron Wheeler had nine of the next fifteen. Posh Alexander came on in the last eight minutes or so adding 8 points of his own. However, the rest of the team scored 9 points on 4 of 22 from the floor.

Despite the team’s defensive lapses, they also had a strong two minutes of shutout basketball immediately following Creighton’s 11-0 run. Montez Mathis, despite the scores, was particularly locked in defense and grabbed a couple steals to prevent the game from getting further out of hand.

The two great minutes, however, did not offset the other eighteen, and St. John’s went into the half down 49-34.

The start to the second half was no improvement for the Johnnies. Creighton nearly opened the second half with a 14-2 run growing the Bluejay lead even further. The final score is closer than the second half appeared, with Creighton leading by as much as 30 points going into the final six minutes of the game.

Coming into this game, St. John’s was pretty good at adjusting to quiet players who had big first halves. Against Creighton, however, O’Connell was just as dominant after the half as he was before it. The Bluejays’ guard added 11 more points (3/6 FG, 2/4 3PT) to his 17 first half points for a game-high 28 points.

Part of the issue for St. John’s was their return to failing to get to the free throw line and missing shots when they were there. The Johnnies shot only 12 free throws in the contest and missed 7 of them.

The high note for the Red Storm was their ability to help Julian Champagnie get open looks. While the adjustment was necessary much earlier, Champagnie improved on his deafeningly quiet first half of 3 points on 1 of 10 from the floor to 14 points on 6 of 11 in the second half.

What may be surprising is how late the Red Storm started substituting in others to see if there was any spark to turn the game around. Tareq Coburn and Esahia Nyiwe did not make an appearance until the game already far out of hand.

The game mercifully ended with the Johnnies flying back from Omaha after losing, 87-64.

St. John’s Red Storm

Julian Champagnie: 17 Points (7/21 FG, 2/7 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist

Aaron Wheeler: 16 Points (7/10 FG, 2/3 3PT), 6 Rebounds, 3 Assists

Dylan Addae-Wusu: 10 Points (4/10 FG, 1/3 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 8 Assists

Creighton Bluejays

Alex O’Connell: 28 Points (9/14 FG, 6/9 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 2 Assists

Arthur Kaluma: 20 Points (8/11 FG, 4/5 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist