St. John’s basketball suffered a tough defeat at the hands of the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon in Queens.
A win would have put the St. John’s basketball season on a completely different trajectory than a loss would have but the Red Storm could not make the plays down the stretch to complete the comeback against the Marquette Golden Eagles, falling 73-71.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Greg Williams Jr. got the Johnnies off to a good start while Marquette started off cold from the field but the absence of Josh Roberts, who picked up two fouls in the first three minutes doomed the Johnnies for the rest of the half.
The Golden Eagles took an 11-point lead into halftime, outscoring St. John’s 39-22 after Roberts left the floor.
However, Mike Anderson‘s team was energized and focused defensively, with Roberts, to begin the second half, taking a two point lead just seven minutes after the break.
The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half with the largest lead coming in favor of Marquette by five points.
A jumper by Greg Williams Jr. gave St. John’s a 66-65 lead with 4:25 to go in regulations but Marquette would rattle off four points in a row before Julian Champagnie tied things at 69 with 2:57 to play.
St. John’s called timeout to run play and it took nearly all the time off the game clock before a Vince Cole layup was blocked with 1.5 seconds remaining.
Champagnie’s 3-pointer off the in-bounds hit the front iron and Marquette escaped Queens with a two-point victory.
“Marquette made one more play than we did. I told our guys we didn’t lose, we just ran out of time,” head coach Mike Anderson said.
The sophomore forward led the team with 20 points after only scoring two in the first half.
Williams Jr. was the only other player in double-figures for the Red Storm with 15 points.
“We didn’t get the shot we wanted,” Champagnie said after the loss.
Anderson explained that the team was trying to get the ball to the right side of the floor for a pick-and-roll between Champagnie and Willams Jr. but the Golden Eagle defense denied the look.
St. John’s basketball still has positives to takeaway from the loss
Despite its all too familiar defeat, St. John’s can look at another sensational performance from Josh Roberts in the second half.
The junior forward finished with the best +/- rating on the team at +19 and ended his afternoon with four points, two rebounds, one assist, four blocks, and a steal.
St. John’s will have to recover quickly with it’s first tilt against the Connecticut Huskies, without star point guard James Bouknight, coming up on Monday afternoon in Storrs.
Because of COVID-19 issues with Notre Dame and Howard, the Big East announced that St. John’s and UConn has been switched to a 2:30pm EST tipoff time and will be broadcasted on FOX.