St. John’s basketball completes comeback, upsets No. 23 UConn in Storrs

St. John's basketball (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball pulled off the upset of No. 23 UConn on the road. 

It had been 21 years since the St. John’s basketball team won against the No. 23 UConn Huskies (7-2, 4-2 Big East) on the road.

It had been eight years since the Johnnies (8-7, 3-6 Big East) defeated UConn in any building.

Both of those clocks can be reset as the Red Storm pulled off the upset against the Huskies in Storrs on Monday afternoon, 74-70, and have now won four of its last five games against its Big East rival.

Filling in for Notre Dame and Howard, which was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns, St. John’s and UConn was pushed up to the national 2:30pm EST window on FOX.

“It’s an honor for us to play on a day like this, that means so much to so many,” St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson said of his team playing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

However, it wasn’t a smooth start for the Johnnies in renewing its rivalry with UConn, digging itself a 21-7 hole it needed to climb out of but Anderson turned to freshman Dylan Addae-Wusu and Marcellus Earlington to match the physicality of the Huskies and they did exactly that.

The two combined for 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting and ten rebounds, keeping the Red Storm within striking distance until freshman Posh Alexander took over in the final minutes.

“Posh Alexander absolutely destroyed us,” UConn head coach Danny Hurley said following his team’s loss.

The point guard, who did not practice on Sunday because of a back injury sustained in Saturday’s loss to Marquette, tied a career high with 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block while reaggravating his injury.

“I feel like we can beat any team in the country and in the league,” Alexander said following the victory.

St. John’s did not get the best performance from leading scorer Julian Champagnie but his two field goals were massive in giving the Johnnies a chance to win, a 3-pointer that brought the Red Storm to within two points and a layup that pushed the St. John’s lead to four with under a minute to go.

UConn, without leading scorer James Bouknight, leaned on point guard RJ Cole and freshman forward Adama Sanogo to shoulder the scoring load as the two combined for 30 points but Sanogo did not play in the final 12 minutes of the game.

Hurley mentioned that he was adjusting to the Red Storm’s rotation and his freshman could not keep up with Champagnie or Earlington on the defensive end.

Sanogo, however, thinks differently, “At the end of a game, I feel like they should be playing me a little bit more,” he explained in his postgame media availability.

St. John’s basketball with mixed emotions entering its bye week

Coming off its biggest win of the season, the Johnnies are conflicted as to what the team really wants.

The seven day break will allow Alexander to recover as well as Greg Williams Jr. who only played seven minutes because of a back injury suffered in the win.

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Posh Alexander and Mike Anderson both acknowledged that the team wants to get back out on the court and play games this week, but knows the time off will be beneficial in the long run.

St. John’s, winners in two of its last three games, will return to the court on Wednesday, January 27 against the DePaul Blue Demons in WinTrust Arena before getting a rematch with the Huskies on January 31 in Queens.