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St. John’s Falters Late to Boston College, Loses 86-80

With no timeouts for the final nine minutes, a top-heavy rotation looked gassed late

NCAA Basketball: Brooklyn Showcase-St. John at Boston College Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Fatigue overcomes the St. John’s key rotation late and St. John’s loses a game to Boston College, 86-80.

The Red Storm got to play at their second of three major New York City area venues in Barclays Center, having already played once at Madison Square Garden against Michigan and scheduling to play Hofstra at UBS Arena on December 30. For a team calling itself New York’s team, it’s nice to see them back at Barclays for the first time since the 2022 Empire Classic.

Boston College also respected their time in New York City by wearing their “For Welles” jerseys, honoring Welles Crowther, a volunteer firefighter who died as a result of the September 11 attacks.

In the first half, neither team played a quality half of basketball. Both teams were soft at the rim, both teams made several mental errors, and neither team looked ready for a Sunday matinee.

Chris Ledlum led the Johnnies in scoring, despite his continued struggles at the rim. Ledlum missed his first three layup attempts before the under-16 minute media timeout, and the timeout appeared to start with Coach Rick Pitino laying into Ledlum pretty hard for the performance. Ledlum finished the half with 12 points (6-13 FG, 0-2 3FG), 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. The Harvard transfers woes at the rim improved as the half went on, and he finished the half shooting 6 of 11 at the bucket.

The one guy on the floor who looked ready to play was Kansas transfer Zuby Ejiofor. The sophomore wing was physical and present on every possession. While Ejiofor only finished with 4 points (1-1 FG), and 1 rebound in 4 minutes, his presence and effort helped set the tone for the remainder of the half.

The Red Storm struggled to contain Boston College senior big Quinten Post. Aptly named, Post scored 13 points (6-9 FG, 1-1 3FG) and grabbed 4 rebounds.

Despite sleepwalking through large stretches of the first half, St. John’s remained in it at the half, trailing Boston College 38-36.

The Johnnies turned up the intensity in the second half. The first 4 minutes of the half had several chippy interactions between Joel Soriano and Quinten Post where the referees had to intervene on more than one occasion.

The Red Storm weren’t just chippy out of the half, but they channeled that energy into points. About 5 minutes into the half, St. John’s strung together a 14-0 run to give the Johnnies a double-digit lead. Of those 14 points in the run, 8 of them were scored by Soriano. Soriano finished the half with 14 points (5-7 FG) and 4 rebounds.

Of course, nobody expected the Eagles to just go away. Boston College answered with an 8-0 run of their own, and the contest went right back to being a one-possession game.

St. John’s had to call a couple timeouts when Boston College was going on their run, and had to call another one to avoid a Daniss Jenkins turnover. Consequently, the Red Storm were out of timeouts with more than 9 minutes to play. The Johnnies made the most of that early final timeout, by going on another 10-0 run.

The Johnnies looked tired after their run, and Boston College, yet again, forced their way back into the lead. The Red Storm bench only played 39 minutes, of which Nahiem Alleyne played 23. Boston College’s bench played 66 minutes, and their starters looked fresher for it. Also as expected with the difference in time played, Boston College’s bench outscored St. John’s bench 32-13.

The Red Storm’s execution down the stretch suffered as a result of fatigue caused by the top-heavy allocation of minutes and the early use of timeouts. Ledlum fouled a Claudell Harris Jr. while he was shooting a three, Jordan Dingle air-balled a three late, all symptoms of fatigue. Harris made all three of his free throws, and the Johnnies didn’t have another run in them to respond.

Without another run in them, St. John’s falls to Boston College, 86-80.

St. John’s Red Storm

Joel Soriano: 21 points (8-12 FG 1-1 3FG), 11 rebounds, 1 assist

Chris Ledlum: 16 points (8-19 FG 0-2 3FG), 11 rebounds, 3 assists

Daniss Jenkins: 10 points (5-13 FG 0-4 3FG), 3 rebounds, 8 assists

Boston College Eagles

Quinten Post: 14 points (6-11 FG 1-1 3FG), 11 rebounds, 9 assists

Claudell Harris Jr.: 14 points (4-9 FG 2-5 3FG), 2 rebounds, 4 assists