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St. John's struggles down the stretch and drops one to Butler at home, 73-69

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St. John's falls to 0-2 in the Big East. Are they in trouble?

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With a very thin rotation, St. John's wasn't able to bounce back on Saturday at home against the Butler Bulldogs, losing 73-69 in their second conference game.

D`Angelo Harrison was the leader for the Johnnies with 31 points and Phil Greene added 12 points. Sir`Dominic Pointer improved on his performance against Seton Hall as he scored 9 points but the effort wasn't enough.

St. John's was without two key players today and that obviously affected their depth and their scoring. Rysheed Jordan, the second leading scorer on the team, was not with the Red Storm at all as he has taken a leave of absence and Felix Balamou was out with an ankle sprain.

Just like the last game against the Pirates, the Johnnies got out to a quick start as they led 11-4 at the first timeout. Then, Kellen Dunham started to take over as he knocked down a couple of threes to spark an 8-0 Bulldogs run.

The game was physical and very well played throughout the first half. The largest lead was 7 but there were four lead changes and two ties.

In the second half, Butler attacked and finished around the rim despite Obekpa's shot blocking ability. The Bulldogs were up as many 7, but once again the Johnnies did not back down.

The Red Storm went on a scoring run with D'Angelo Harrison taking over the game and playing with a sense of urgency but the problem was the Johnnies couldn't get any stops.

Butler's efficiency both offensively and defensively was outstanding, especially down the stretch. They don't have the most talented team but they showed today why they cracked the top 25 earlier this year.

Butler held St. John's 29 percent shooting from behind the arc. They also forced 7 turnovers.

On top of the great Butler defense, the Johnnies had no points from their bench and only 4 points from Jamal Branch. That was obviously not enough to get them a victory.

The Red Storm played tough defense for most of the game but down the stretch they struggled to get stops. They also got beat up on the boards, 34 to 25.

Preseason first teamer, Kellen Dunham, was the best player on the floor for Butler as he scored 28 points on 6 threes. Roosevelt Jones also had a solid game putting up 14 points, grabbing 4 boards and dishing out 2 assists.

It doesn't get any easier from here on out. The Johnnies will play their first conference game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday against one of the strongest teams in the conference, Villanova.