St. John’s basketball comeback bid falls short after disjointed first half

St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

A furious comeback bid by the St. John’s basketball team fell short after a chaotic first half. 

It was a first half to forget for the St. John’s basketball team as the Johnnies (2-1) got its first true test this season on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers (3-0).

The avalanche started after a 3-pointer that was made by Tamar Bates which put the Hoosiers up 23-14.

Rutgers transfer Montez Mathis then tried to make a cross-court pass off the inbound, which was stolen by Trey Galloway as he attempted a dunk off the turnover but was fouled hard by the St. John’s guard.

After a lengthy review the officials deemed it a Flagrant 2 foul, which ejected Mathis from the game and gave Indiana two free throws and possession of the ball.

The Hoosiers would add four points on the possession and ballon the lead to 13 points.

Indiana led by as many as 14 points in the first half before St. John’s cut the deficit to 12 at halftime, 39-27.

But whatever head coach Mike Anderson said at halftime worked for the Red Storm as the Johnnies started the second half on a quick 7-0 run to bring the deficit back down to five.

ALSO READ: St. John’s defeats Brown in overtime, advances in NCAA Tourney

The two teams battled back-and-forth in the second half but the Red Storm could not take the lead despite tying the game on two separate occasions.

St. John’s star forward Julian Champagnie, who posted a game-high 32 points in defeat, missed a game-winning shot at the buzzer after a poor exchange between him and freshman Rafael Pinzon with less than five seconds left in the game, losing 76-74.

Each time the Johnnies made a run in the second half, Indiana had an answer.

The Hoosiers were just 6-of-18 from 3-point range but each felt like a big shot in the moment.

St. John’s was not able to get a big stop in the final two minutes as Indiana was 4-of-4 from the floor to end the game.

Indiana superstar Trayce Jackson-Davis led Mike Woodson’s team with 18 points and ten rebounds while Race Thompson chipped in 15 points in the Hoosier’s first key win of the year.

St. John’s basketball shows a lot of character in its defeat

Despite falling in a game it could have won, St. John’s showed a lot about what type of team it would be this season against Indiana.

After nothing went the right way for the Johnnies in the opening 20 minutes, the team battled back and hit difficult shots to will themselves back in the game.

Champagnie’s 32 points will get most of the focus but 16 points from Stef Smith was critical in the Red Storm’s comeback attempt.

ALSO READ: St. John’s selected to NCAAs, set to face Princeton

Pinzon, other than his pass at the end of the game, was phenomenal in the first true road game of his college career as was Posh Alexander, despite battling foul trouble.

Now things become easier said than done for St. John’s, the Johnnies must be perfect in the reminder of its non-conference schedule until the massive December 3 meeting against No. 3 Kansas.

The Red Storm return to the court on Saturday, November 20 as the team will host Fairleigh Dickinson (6:00 p.m., FoxSports2).

Next. St. John’s most important player is abundantly clear. dark