St. John’s basketball: AJ Storr’s game winning shot halts losing streak

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

A freshman saved the St. John’s basketball team from disaster on Sunday afternoon. 

Georgetown was hoping to surprise the St. John’s basketball team in the final 18.8 seconds.

It didn’t work.

The Hoyas had not been in a zone defense for the entirety of the game and it burnt Patrick Ewing’s team in the end.

“We went in zone to mix it up — something we haven’t done [in the game], so we thought it would throw [St. John’s] off,” Ewing said.

The zone allowed AJ Storr to find an opening on the left wing and Andre Curbelo connected with him on a pass off of a baseline drive.

The freshman buried the go-ahead shot, putting St. John’s up 75-73, with 4.2 seconds remaining and The Garden erupted like the two storied Big East programs were in its prime.

“Andre [Curbelo] did a great job of drawing [the defense in] and AJ [Storr] saw the lane open after his man dropped in and he knocked the shot down,” St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson said.

“It’s all about making plays. Ain’t no secrets.”

ALSO READ: St. John’s remains confident as young duo blossoms

Georgetown (6-16, 1-10 Big East) nearly responded with a straight-on 3-pointer from Bryson Mozone with 1.2 seconds left but his shot rimmed out after he gave the Hoyas the lead on a corner 3-pointer, 73-72, with 24.3 seconds remaining.

“It was pretty normal,” AJ Storr calmly explained. “It wasn’t my first game winning shot.”

However, it was Storr’s first game winning shot at the collegiate level and his triple was his only 3-pointer of the game as he finished with a stat-stuffing 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

David Jones continued his offensive resurgence after struggling in the last three weeks that put St. John’s in position to win the game after he scored eight consecutive points over a three minute span which saw the Johnnies take a two point lead, 72-70.

“That [version of] David Jones helps our basketball team,” Anderson explained. “He’s got the ultimate confidence in himself.”

Jones finished with a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds while Joel Soriano grabbed his 18th double-double of the season with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

St. John’s basketball team wins despite sloppy play

St. John’s (14-8, 4-7 Big East) saw Georgetown rattle off a 14-0 run going into halftime, taking a 39-35 lead, due to 10 turnovers from the Red Storm which resulted in 15 points from the Hoyas.

The Red Storm were much more careful with its possessions in the second half, only coughing the ball up twice, but shot a struggling 10-of-16 from the free throw line after halftime.

Georgetown continued its momentum in the second half and built its lead to as many as nine, 64-55, with 8:22 remaining and also led by three, 69-66, with 2:00 left.

“The emphasis was that Georgetown is not a bad team. They are a very well coached. They are a very good team. The record doesn’t show it, but I personally know they are a good team,” St. John’s captain Joel Soriano said.

Posh Alexander (left ankle sprain) was in a walking boot and missed his second consecutive game while Rafael Pinzon (ankle sprain) was available for the Johnnies but the team held on the side of caution and did not use the sophomore in the victory.

St. John’s will host Seton Hall (13-9, 6-5 Big East) at Carnesecca Arena for the first time in a non-COVID season since February 21, 2015 on Wednesday night (8:30p.m. EST, CBS Sports Network).