The finish was absolutely wild, but still ended the wrong way for the visiting Red Storm in Milwaukee. St. John’s 17 turnovers were too much to overcome with the Red Storm losing to Marquette, 96-94.
There’s an old adage that there are no meaningless games. With Marquette locked into the top seed in the Big East Tournament and St. John’s guaranteed to play in the 8-seed/9-seed game against Butler, this game had no bearing on seeding.
The Red Storm weren’t going to be able to out-talent these Golden Eagles, but the Johnnies had a chance if this game was meaningful to St. John’s and meaningless to Marquette.
Optically, this game was always meaningful to Marquette and meaningful to St. John’s after the first 10 minutes.
The Golden Eagles went on an early 15-0 run, a remnant of the 17-2 run St. John’s gave up to Iowa State earlier this season. The run helped Marquette amass a 19-point lead early in the first half.
The careless turnovers is what nearly did this team in the first half. The Johnnies had 11 first half turnovers, a few which were caused by Marquette pressure but others — like Kolby King’s travel in the backcourt — were both inexplicable and inexcusable. The Golden Eagles converted those turnovers in 17 points.
Posh Alexander did power the team to a 14-3 later in the half to salvage the team from being completely embarrassed in Milwaukee, and even put the team in a position to compete in the second half. Alexander finished the half with 13 points (4-8 FG, 2-4 3PT), but didn’t record any assists as he was relegated to the backup ball-handler duties with Dylan Addae-Wusu running the offense in this one.
Alexander’s performance and Addae-Wusu’s half-court buzzer beater helped the Red Storm go into the half down only 53-47.
DYLAN FROM DEEP pic.twitter.com/gzC3LhzrF8— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) March 4, 2023
The second half was collectively more competitive that the first. The Red Storm didn’t dig another huge hole for themselves and hung in to have a chance to win.
However, turnovers continued to be an issue. The Johnnies turned the ball over 8 times in the second half — 19 total turnovers in the game — which the Golden Eagles converted into 11 more points. Turnovers can be tolerable if the other team is being more careless with the ball, but Marquette had the same amount of turnovers in the game than St. John’s had in the second half with only 8.
O’Mar Stanley’s motor helped keep the Red Storm in the game. In the second half, Stanley added 9 points (4-6 FG) and 5 rebounds. Importantly, Stanley only had 1 turnover in the second half.
The Johnnies got as close as 2 points of Marquette with just under 6 minutes left to play, but the Golden Eagles responded with a 7-0 run to put the score out of reach.
Things got a little frisky late after Joel Soriano fouled out. St. John’s had an 11-3 run in the final 21 seconds of the game. David Jones knocked down a three, stole the ball, and immediately knocked down another three; then Dylan Addae-Wusu drove the ball upcourt, twisted Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro around, and got fouled on a three-point attempt that he made. Addae-Wusu knocked down the free throw before Marquette’s David Joplin missed a pair of free throws.
David Jones missed a layup to tie it, but O’Mar Stanley grabbed an offensive rebound before getting fouled trying to put a shot back up. Stanley hit the first free throw, before a timeout (and Marquette’s Kolek saying something to him on the free throw line); he missed the second free throw, which would have tied the game.
Marquette’s Kam Jones was fouled, made his first but missed his second free throw and Addae-Wusu couldn’t hit a second near full-court heave as St. John’s fell 96-94.
Next, the Red Storm take on Butler on the first day of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday at 3:30 PM.
St. John’s Red Storm
Dylan Addae-Wusu: 25 points (9-13 FG, 4-6 3PT), 6 rebounds, 5 assists
Posh Alexander: 18 points (6-12 FG, 3-6 3PT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers
David Jones: 17 points (6-14 FG, 2-5 3PT), 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Kam Jones: 23 points (8-14 FG, 5-10 3PT), 1 rebound, 2 assists
Tyler Kolek: 18 points (5-11 FG, 2-4 3PT), 1 rebound, 10 assists