St. John’s basketball stuns No. 13 Creighton, remains undefeated

St. John's basketball (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball stunned No. 13 Creighton to remain unbeaten on the season. 

The beginning of the season has been nothing short of remarkable for the St. John’s basketball program.

Head coach Joe Tartamella transformed his roster after seeing his team go 12-19 last season and rack up losses against Stony Brook, Wagner, and Brown while falling to Creighton, 107-59, at home late in the year.

Now, the Red Storm (8-0, 2-0 Big East) own an unbeaten record and sent shockwaves around the Big East with a massive upset of No. 13 Creighton (7-1, 2-1 Big East), 66-62, on Sunday afternoon.

Creighton entered Carnesecca Arena after a thrashing of No. 25 Villanova on Friday night and three Top-25 wins on its resume and the Bluejays jumped out to an 8-2 lead in Queens before the Johnnies got rolling.

Pittsburgh transfer Jayla Everett, who would lead all scorers with a season-high 20 points, jump-started an 11-0 run as St. John’s led 23-14 after the first quarter and would open up a 15-point lead late in the second quarter.

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“The energy level we had in the first half was off the charts,” Tartamella said.

The Red Storm’s defense held the high octane Creighton offense to just 27.8-percent shooting from the floor and 18.2-percent from 3-point range before halftime, but the Bluejays would catch fire in the second half.

Creighton out scored St. John’s by nine points over the final two quarters due to its 53.6-percent shooting from the floor and connecting on 45.5-percent of its shots from beyond the arc but Tartamella’s defense showed up when it mattered most.

“Creighton is very good…They’re too good to be able to stop for 40 minutes.”

The Bluejays cut the Johnnie lead to two, 61-59, with 1:27 remaining but St. John’s forced a miss on a potential game-tying shot from Lauren Jensen with 13.2 seconds remaining and Kadaja Bailey came up with a steal with 9.3 seconds left and sealed the victory at the free throw line.

“We focused on playing defense,” Bailey, who added 13 points, said following the game.

“We all knew that defense is what gets us going. We focused on staying locked in on defense.”

St. John’s basketball looking to continue incredible run

Sunday marked the highest-ranked opponent St. John’s has beaten since No. 8 Marquette on February 15, 2019, which was also the last time the program topped a team inside the Associated Press Top-25 Poll.

The Johnnies are now 8-0 for just the fourth time in program history.

“To do what we did this week with the turnaround, I thought it was really a show of toughness and competitiveness,” Tartamella added.

St. John’s picked up its first conference victory over Butler in Indiana on Friday night before having to travel back to New York for the Sunday matinee.

The Red Storm, who can make a case to be included in Monday’s AP Top-25, have not been ranked since December 14, 2015.

St. John’s will continue with the second game of its five-game home stand on Thursday night (7:00p.m. ET) against Iona (3-3).