Brief stretches of intensity weren’t enough for St. John’s to overcome the UConn Huskies and the Johnnies lose their final home game, 95-86.
In the last home game of the season, the Red Storm seniors including Joel Soriano, Esahia Nyiwe, and the injured but not forgotten Montez Mathis were honored in front of a largely UConn crowd.
Rafael Pinzon remained out again.
The game got chippy early with double technicals getting dished out early to Nyiwe and UConn’s Tristen Newton.
For most of the first half, it looked as if St. John’s had mailed it in, and UConn was going to celebrate a blowout win in what was effectively a UConn home game. Jordan Hawkins and Joe Calcaterra torched the second-worst three-point defensive team in the Big East in St. John’s by combining for 6 of 10 from deep.
The Red Storm fell behind by as much as 15 points with just under 90 seconds left to play in the half. However, Posh Alexander, who has never been accused of mailing it in, refused to let the Johnnies go down without some fight. Posh added 6 points in the final minute to pull St. John’s within 9 going into halftime.
Beyond that, AJ Storr carried the offense. Storr was in attack-mode regularly getting into the lane and getting to the free throw line. Often this season, Storr has settled for questionable jumpers, but today made a conscious effort to get to the rim. Storr finished the half with 11 points (4-6FG) and shot 3 of 5 from the free throw line.
Part of St. John’s issue was the lack of pressure they put on UConn. Despite the Johnnies supposedly playing a “40 minutes of hell” style of basketball, the Huskies only turned the ball over 3 times in the first half which the Red Storm were unable to convert into a single point.
At the half, St. John’s trailed UConn 50-41.
All the progress made in the final minute of the first half was undone early in the second half. The Johnnies failed to score until nearly 4 minutes into the half.
David Jones helped the Red Storm get off their scoring skid by knocking down a pair of free throws. After the bench only scored 7 points in the first half, Jones’s scoring punch at least allowed St. John’s to keep pace with the Huskies. Jones finished the half with 15 points (3-7 FG, 1-3 3PT) and 4 rebounds.
Just as the Red Storm cut the UConn lead to single digits and held the Huskies without a Field Goal for over 4 minutes, Dylan Addae-Wusu picked up a technical foul which seemed to get UConn out of their scoring funk.
UConn regained their safe double-digit lead by either getting to the rim and getting easy layups or getting to the rim and getting fouled.
The Red Storm tried another strong finish like they did in the first half, but were only able to muster a single-digit deficit before time ran out with St. John’s getting blown out by UConn, 95-86.
Next, St. John’s closes out the regular season on Saturday at Marquette at 2:00 PM.
St. John’s Red Storm
AJ Storr: 20 points (7-15 FG, 1-3 3PT), 3 rebounds
Posh Alexander: 18 points (7-12 FG, 1-2 3PT), 4 rebounds, 5 assists
David Jones: 15 points (3-11 FG, 1-4 3PT), 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Jordan Hawkins: 20 points (6-18 FG, 4-10 3PT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Adama Sanogo: 18 points (5-9 FG, 0-1 3PT), 9 rebounds, 1 assist