After another strong start, St. John’s stumbled in the second half and lost to Marquette, 96-85.
While the blowout loss to Seton Hall might have suggested the shake-up to the starting lineup with the insertion of Dylan Addae-Wusu and O’Mar Stanley was a failure. However, Coach Mike Anderson kept those two in the starting lineup, reinserted David Jones, and had Posh Alexander come off the bench.
Adding to the musical chairs that is the Red Storm rotation, Andre Curbelo was not available tonight due to “not adhering to team standards.” Rafael Pinzon was a gametime decision due to an illness that had seemingly kept him sidelined since the Florida State game and played briefly in the final minute of the contest.
The Johnnies played well in the first half. As has been the case all year, this team goes as far as Joel Soriano takes them, and schematically against Marquette and Seton Hall, Soriano has benefitted from playing in two-big lineups with Stanley and Esahia Nyiwe. The big man was dominant in the post by gaining post-position that demanded the ball and he took advantage of those opportunities by efficiently scoring 16 points (7-8 FG) and grabbing 5 rebounds. Soriano also picked up a pair of assists on back-to-back alley-oops to Posh Alexander (you read that right, here’s one of them).
However, as we saw against Seton Hall, a strong showing by Soriano does not guarantee a victory. The big man needs a little help, and in the first half he got it from Dylan Addae-Wusu. Addae-Wusu has been frustratingly inconsistent thus far this season with flashes of the old Addae-Wusu coming few and far between. However, the junior guard played a simple and efficient first half and earned 7 points (3-5 FG, 1-2 3PT), 2 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Behind Soriano and Addae-Wusu, St. John’s went into the half up 48-41.
What started as a promising game in the first half quickly turned into a nightmare for St. John’s. Marquette picked up an early “kill shot” (a 10-0 run) with an 11-0 run run after the under-16 minute timeout, putting St. John’s behind early in the second half.
After holding Marquette to 27% from deep in the first half, the Golden Eagles exploded from deep after the break. Marquette was getting to the rim with relative ease, and St. John’s adjusted to prevent those looks. However, it came at the cost of perimeter defense with the Golden Eagles shooting 7 of 12 (58%) from three in the second half, with two of those misses coming in the final 4 minutes with the game in hand for Marquette.
St. John’s efforts to defend the basket did not get any easier when Soriano picked up his fourth foul with nearly 5 minutes left in the contest.
After Marquette got their lead up to 11 points, the Red Storm were able to claw their way back to get the game within 4 points with nearly 4 minutes left in the game. Marquette's Olivier-Maxence Prosper immediately responded with a fastbreak lay-in and a subsequent converted free throw to quell the rising Red Storm.
The Red Storm failed to make another meaningful push, and St. John’s dropped their fourth straight game, 96-85.
Next, the Johnnies head up to Providence to take on the Friars on Saturday at noon.
St. John’s Red Storm
Joel Soriano: 22 points (10-17 FG), 13 rebounds, 2 assists (fouled out)
Dylan Addae-Wusu: 21 points (8-12 FG, 3-5 3PT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists
David Jones: 13 points (5-16 FG, 2-4 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Olivier-Maxence Prosper: 29 points (9-13 FG, 4-5 3PT), 7 rebounds
Kam Jones: 16 points (6-10 FG, 4-8 3PT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists