St. John’s basketball falls in winnable road matchup against Xavier

St. John's basketball falls to Xavier (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball falls to Xavier (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports) /

480. Final. 61. 478. 69

St. John’s basketball fell late in a winnable matchup against Xavier on the road.

Following a 17-day break, the St. John’s basketball team was back in action on the road against the Xavier Musketeers (9-2, 2-2 Big East) on Wednesday night.

The Red Storm (6-5, 1-4 Big East) did what it needed to do early in the first half following its long pause, it stayed close with Xavier while shaking off the rust from its long layoff.

Mike Anderson‘s team had a four-point lead nearing halftime but saw Xavier draw even right before the break, but the Johnnies should have held a larger lead given how poorly the Musketeers played.

The same can be said for the second half as St. John’s was the better team for the first 32 minutes before Travis Steele switched to a zone defense which sent the Red Storm into a tailspin.

A late second half surge pushed Xavier to a 69-61 victory.

“It wasn’t for a lack of effort,” head coach Mike Anderson said to start his postgame press conference.

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The Musketeers out-rebounded the Johnnies, 57-40, and for the first time in nearly 20 years Xavier did not hit a 3-pointer, missing all 12 attempts the team took.

St. John’s has lost 12 straight games to Xavier, the longest losing streak to any opponent in program history.

Star sophomore forward Zach Freemantle and point guard Paul Scruggs found themselves in early foul trouble as Freemantle did not make a field goal, missing all of his attempts but still finished with five points and ten rebounds.

Scruggs ended the night with ten points, four rebounds, and three assists.

However, the Red Storm did not have an answer for role players Colby Jones and Jason Carter.

Jones scored a team-high 16 points while Carter had 11 points and 16 rebounds in the victory.

Xavier shot 37.5-percent from the field and 61.8-percent from the free throw line (21-of-34).

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St. John’s best player was senior point guard Rasheem Dunn, who looked the best he has since returning from a concussion, with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting.

Dunn took the brunt of the blame for his teammates saying that Xavier didn’t do anything they weren’t ready for, the team just didn’t execute down the stretch.

Julian Champagnie and Greg Williams Jr. did not have their best nights despite combining for 23 points on 7-of-26 shooting.

The Red Storm forced 19 turnovers, only creating 14 points, and blocked eight shots.

Things only get more difficult for the St. John’s basketball team

After dropping another winnable contest, Wednesday night marks three games the Red Storm could have won that it didn’t (BYU, at. Georgetown, at. Xavier) this season as things are getting closer to the brink for the Johnnies.

St. John’s remains on the road for its second meeting of the season with the No. 7 Creighton Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon, which was an 18-point victory for Greg McDermott’s team in the first matchup.

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