St. John's 76 Butler 63: Three Point(ers) of Emphasis

New York City- The opening round of the Big East Tournament saw St. John’s start on the right track. The Red Storm posted a 76-63 victory at Madison Square Garden The Red Storm improved to 18-14 while Thad Matta’s Butler Bulldogs finished at 14-18.

St.John’s led by Joel Soriano’s 19 points placed five players in double figures. Butler was paced by Simas Lukosius with a game-high 23 points. The Red Storm advanced to face top seed Marquette in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Three point(ers) of emphasis:

Outstanding first half. A last second three quarter court shot by St. John’s rimmed. Wouldn’t have been surprised if it went in. St. John’s played that type of half. They took a 44-29 lead into the break. The Red Storm penetrated almost at will. Scored off pressure and owned a 26-14 edge in points in the paint. The St. John’s offensive efficiency was 122, Butler checked in at 81. Posh Alexander buried two three pointers. Soriano was effective inside, as usual, while stepping out to hit a few mid range jumpers. St. John’s was running on all cylinders. "That might be the best half I saw St. John’s play," said one Marquette assistant advance scouting the game.

St. John’s owned the glass. The Red Storm out rebounded Butler by a 53-28 count. The advantage in the offensive rebounding department was 20-8. St. John’s led in second chance points by a 20-13 count. They outscored Butler 40-28 in points in the pack. Soriano led the way with a game-high 15 boards, six on the offensive end. Dylan Addae-Wusu added 10.

Defense. St. John’s limited Butler to an 89 offensive efficiency (24 below their season average). The Bulldogs shot 39% from the floor and turned the ball over 14 times. "The two times we played Marquette (both losses) ," Soriano said, "we gave up over 90 points. Today we defended well and need to do that tomorrow."

"Made shots early, established inside. Did a good job of getting to the glass that was big. We have a quick turnaround facing Marquette tomorrow. But we are in one of the greatest events, the Big East Tournament." - St. John's coach Mike Anderson

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