St. John’s basketball season hits rock bottom with abysmal defense

St. John's basketball head coach Mike Anderson (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball head coach Mike Anderson (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The St. John’s basketball team handed in an ugly performance against DePaul on Sunday night. 

Last season, the St. John’s basketball team saw its NCAA Tournament hopes dashed in an upset loss to DePaul at home, this season the Blue Demons dropped the Red Storm to rock bottom.

The Johnnies (15-13, 7-10 Big East) saw its chances at an at-large bid to the tournament end on Wednesday against Creighton and it showed on Sunday in Chicago.

St. John’s allowed DePaul (14-14, 5-13 Big East) to drop 99 points in 40 minutes in an abysmal defensive showing, which put too much pressure on a Red Storm offense that has trouble staying consistent and executing in tight games.

The Blue Demons picked up its second straight conference victory, 99-94, behind a career-high 39 points from Javon Freeman-Liberty and 24 points from David Jones, who was playing in his first game since February 17 due to an ankle sprain.

The score didn’t indicate how bad the Red Storm defense truly was as DePaul left 12 points at the free throw line in its victory.

Shooters were wide open, there was no resistance in drives to the basket, and no one stopped the ball in transition.

Posh Alexander came off the bench, due to a coach’s decision, and Joel Soriano (knee) missed his second straight game.

Julian Champagnie scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half while Aaron Wheeler and Alexander were the only players to reach double figures with 20 and 18 points, respectively.

St. John’s basketball sees same issues hurting team

There have been a lot of issues with the Red Storm this season, one of the biggest coming at the free throw line.

St. John’s shot 13-of-22 from the charity stripe in its most recent loss and went 6-of-13 on such shots in the second half.

Aaron Wheeler missed a free throw which could have brought St. John’s to within four, 86-82, with 2:22 left.

Tareq Coburn split a pair of free throws which could have brought the Johnnies within two, 90-88, with 1:08 left and only made 2-of-3 from the line after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt that could have brought the team within four, 94-90, with 28.4 seconds on the clock.

That is quickly three points left on the floor in a five-point game, with many more not mentioned.

St. John’s still does not do the little things correctly in order to win close games in the Big East Conference and it is going to cost the team a chance at any postseason tournament.

Mike Anderson’s streak of never having a losing season in his head coaching career continues to hang in the balance in this late season slide and things will not get easier.

An unlikely magic run at the Big East Tournament is the only path at an NCAA Tournament berth for the Johnnies as the team closes out the season this week against Xavier (17-11, 7-10 Big East), at home, and Marquette (18-10, 10-7 Big East), on the road.