In a game where both teams had several missed opportunities, St. John’s missed more and fell to UConn, 63-60.
Both teams had many clean looks at their baskets that were missed far more frequently than any coach will be satisfied with. However, in this game, UConn happened to convert one or two more, which were enough to put the Red Storm away.
In the first half, it was looking dicey with UConn’s Adama Sanogo scoring the first 6 points for the Huskies. However, seemingly by design, the Red Storm targeted Sanogo when he was on defense and the big picked up a pair of fouls after only seven minutes of play.
Dylan Addae-Wusu led the way for the Johnnies offensively early. After being held to single digits in scoring since the Georgetown game, Addae-Wusu eclipsed that mark in the first half with 12 points on 5 of 9 from the floor to go along with 6 rebounds and a pair of assists. Montez Mathis was the beneficiary of one of Addae-Wusu’s passes as well.
@MontezMathis— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) February 13, 2022
Johnnies lead 15-14 with 10:57 to play in the first half pic.twitter.com/cLb9UHZSnu
Despite Addae-Wusu’s quality half, the Red Storm left many points on the table. With regularity, the ball was passed to a Johnnie wide open under the basket. However, the receivers regularly could not handle the pass or bobbled it, generally resulting in misses at the basket. As a result, the Red Storm were 8 of 20 at the rim.
Luckily for St. John’s, UConn struggled with their open looks as well, keeping the game close at the half with the Johnnies trailing, 30-29.
Early in the second half, UConn’s Tyrese Martin looked to fill the role of the shooter that puts St. John’s away. Martin scored all of his 17 points in the second half while shooting 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Montez Mathis, however, had other plans. After coach Mike Anderson banished Mathis from the starting lineup for this contest, Mathis responded converting some gritty looks at the basket. Mathis finished the half with 12 points (4/4 FG) to keep the Red Storm in the game.
St. John’s went up by as many as seven behind Mathis’s strong second half. However, the Johnnies went ice cold thereafter, failing to score for the following nearly six minutes during which UConn regained a two-point lead.
With under a minute to go, UConn’s Martin followed a miss to put the Huskies up four, only for Aaron Wheeler to respond with his first three of the game and the team’s second field goal since there was nearly eight minutes remaining in the half.
St. John’s fouled R.J. Cole to send him to the line as UConn had the ball and there were fewer than 30 seconds remaining. Cole knocked down both of his free throws. Rather than fouling anyone on the abysmal free throw shooting Red Storm, UConn trusted its defense. The Huskies were rewarded for the gamble, as Aaron Wheeler forced and missed a tough three as the buzzer expired with St. John’s trailing, 63-60.
St. John’s Red Storm
Montez Mathis: 14 points (5/6 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Julian Champagnie: 13 points (6/16 FG, 1/3 3PT), 11 rebounds, 2 assists
Aaron Wheeler: 13 points (5/18 FG, 1/7 3PT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Tyrese Martin: 17 points (6/13 FG, 4/6 3PT), 8 rebounds, 1 assist
R.J. Cole: 14 points (4/13 FG, 2/7 3PT), 2 rebounds, 5 assists