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St. John’s Takes Controversial Loss at the Buzzer at Creighton, 66-65

I don’t care if Creighton University can’t spell Blue Jays correctly, it was a great game out in Omaha

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

St. John’s loses in controversial fashion at the buzzer at Creighton, 66-65.

Johnnies offense looked clunky early. Despite the good looks, the shots were not dropping and the movement looked stiff. Their offense loosened up after the first media timeout, and the bench guys — RJ Luis, Jr., Zuby Ejiofor, and Simeon Wilscher — all scored on a 10-0 run.

The bench for St. John’s was a key factor in the first half. The guys scored 16 points on 7 of 14 from the floor in 38 collective minutes of play. Jordan Dingle was particularly impactful off the bench scoring 6 points (3-3 FG).

Creighton’s offense looked fluid throughout, but the shots weren’t dropping early for the Bluejays, a considerable contributor to the Red Storm run. However, the shots weren’t going to miss forever, even making shots with a high level of difficulty later, and Creighton quickly tied the game back up at 22.

The Red Storm struggled to contain Ryan Kalkbrenner in the half. the Creighton big had 9 points on 4 of 7 from the floor and grabbed 7 rebounds in the first half. However, Creighton played a tight rotation with only 8 guys and 13 bench minutes, so the Red Storm had a chance to benefit from being fresher in the second half.

Creighton came alive toward the end of the half and St. John’s went into halftime trailing 35-30.

Early in the second half, the Red Storm got Joel Soriano involved fir the first time in the contest. Soriano had a quiet first half with only 4 points on 6 shots. Soriano surpassed that with 7 points on a perfect 3 of 3 from the floor in the first 4 minutes of the second half. The Red Storm big finished the half with 9 points (4-5 FG) and 7 rebounds.

The Bluejays got into the bonus early, resulting in free throws seemingly every other possession for Creighton. However, the Bluejays missed 4 straight free throws (in the words of New York Knicks legend Rasheed Wallace, “Ball don’t lie”), while the Red Storm started heating up on offense. With the mix of Creighton’s sturggles at the free throw line and St. John’s offense, the Johnnies went on their second 10-0 run of the game.

Going into the final minute, St. John’s had a 1-point lead and the ball. Daniss Jenkins got his shot blocked. On the other end, Jenkins thought he grabbed a rebound, but when he didn’t, he surrendered a frustration foul on Trey Alexander. Alexander knocked down both free throws, putting the Johnnies back down by 1. Out a couple timeouts, Jenkins took a fadeaway jumper from the free throw line extended. The shot missed, and Jordan Dingle had a opportunity for a put-back that didn’t go down, despite considerable physicality from Creighton on the shot attempt.

As a result, St. John’s loses a great but controversial game at Creighton, 66-65.

Next, the Red Storm cross into Newark, New Jersey to take on a Seton Hall Pirates team, which surprisingly has a share of the Big East lead, on Tuesday at 8:30 PM.

St. John’s Red Storm

Joel Soriano: 13 points (5-11 FG, 0-` 3FG), 11 rebounds, 1 assist

Daniss Jenkins: 11 points (5-17 FG, 1-3 3FG), 2 rebounds, 5 assists

RJ Luis, Jr.: 8 points (3-7 FG, 0-1 3FG), 6 rebounds, 1 assist

Creighton Bluejays

Ryan Kalkbrenner: 18 points (6-11 FG, 1-2 3FG), 9 rebounds, 1 assist

Baylor Scheierman: 17 points (5-15 FG, 1-6 3FG), 12 rebounds, 2 assists