St. John’s basketball bludgeoned by Creighton in dismal showing

St. John's basketball guard Dylan Addae-Wusu defend Alex O'Connell (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Dylan Addae-Wusu defend Alex O'Connell (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s was drilled by Creighton on the road in an ugly showing. 

There was optimism building around the St. John’s basketball program.

After hanging tough with No. 16 Providence (14-2, 4-1 Big East) for 30 minutes and coming within 4.8 seconds of defeating UConn (12-4, 3-2 Big East) on the road, St. John’s was ready to pick up its first Quadrant 1 victory of the season against an average Creighton team.

Then the ball was tossed in the air.

Creighton (11-5, 3-2 Big East) controlled things from start to finish as the Bluejays ran the Johnnies (10-6, 2-3 Big East) out of the CHI Health Center on Wednesday night, 87-64.

And it wasn’t even that close.

Greg McDermott’s team jumped out to a 20-7 lead but the Red Storm showed signs of life creeping back to within five before Duke transfer Alex O’Connell nearly set the world on fire.

He scored 10 straight points in the first half to put his team in control, 42-28, and never looked back.

O’Connell finished with a career-high 28 points on 6-of-9 shooting from downtown as Creighton, as a team, shot 14-of-27 from 3-point range.

The Bluejays made more triples than the Red Storm attempted free throws.

St. John’s looked unprepared and uninterested from the start and little adjustments were made to try and kick the Johnnies into gear.

One of the only positives for the visiting team was the continued strong play from Aaron Wheeler, who was the best player in red on the floor.

Wheeler had 16 points off the bench with six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.

Julian Champagnie led the team with 17 points but was just 7-of-21 shooting while Montez Mathis was 1-of-8.

Things get more challenging for St. John’s basketball

Wednesday night was supposed to be the “easy” game of the upcoming stretch for the Johnnies after seeing what lies ahead.

A date with Seton Hall (11-5, 2-4 Big East), who has been sitting on a two game losing streak for a week, at Madison Square Garden awaits on Saturday before turning around and playing the Pirates against on Monday night at Walsh Gym in a rescheduled game due to COVID.

St. John’s will then travel down to Pennsylvania to face perennial power No. 11 Villanova (13-4, 6-1 Big East) on January 29 as No. 21 Providence comes to Queens on February 1.

Head coach Mike Anderson better find what went wrong with his team on Wednesday night and correct it quickly or this season, which was thought to be promising, could go off the rails quickly.