St. John’s basketball: Déjà vu haunts Johnnies against Marquette

St. John's basketball guard Dylan Addae-Wusu (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball guard Dylan Addae-Wusu (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The St. John’s basketball team saw its season end in similar fashion as a season ago. 

St. John’s basketball head coach Mike Anderson didn’t think last year’s Big East Tournament quarterfinal loss to Villanova was similar to this year’s defeat against Marquette, but it looked like a mirror image.

The Red Storm blitzed Marquette midway through the first half because of a personal 8-0 run from freshman Kolby King which carried over to an 18-2 run for the Johnnies.

Its lead grew to as many as 14 points, 34-20, with under three minutes to go in the first half before Marquette trimmed the advantage to 10 points, 36-26, at halftime.

It only took the Golden Eagles 4:22 to overtake the Red Storm after the intermission but St. John’s would answer with a 9-0 run to take a seven point lead, 47-40.

Marquette answered with a 10-0 run to take the lead and the two teams would trade baskets until the final horn.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper split free throws with 12.3 seconds remaining in regulation which only put the Golden Eagles lead at two, 61-59, before Dylan Addae-Wusu went coast-to-coast to tie the game.

Tyler Kolek missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and a put-back dunk by Prosper was a fraction too late as the first game of the day inside Madison Square Garden went to overtime.

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St. John’s did not make a field goal in overtime but found themselves with a chance to tie — or win the game — in the final 3.6 seconds but a Posh Alexander 3-pointer, on a drive-and-kick from Addae-Wusu was short.

Just moments prior, the team’s best 3-point shooter, AJ Storr, missed an opener 3-pointer from the wing.

“I don’t think [the games] were similar,” Anderson said, referring to how the season ended a year ago, after the 72-70 loss.

St. John’s shot 7-of-36 from the field in the second half and overtime while missing all seven of its shots in the extra five minutes.

“In the second half they came out more aggressive,” St. John’s captain Joel Soriano said of Marquette.

Soriano recorded his 25th double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds but was not on the floor for the final shot because he was rolled into seconds prior, however, the senior says he will be fine.

St. John’s basketball entering offseason with much uncertainty

Things will be tense in Queens over the next few days as decisions must be made regarding the men’s basketball program.

Mike Anderson, after missing the NCAA Tournament in each of his four seasons, is firmly on the hot seat and, barring a surprise invitation to the NIT, the 63-year old will have not made a postseason during his tenure with the school.

“Without a doubt,” Anderson said if he hopes to be back leading the Johnnies next season but would not comment further on his future after the loss.

The St. John’s basketball head coach also said he hopes this year’s team is invited to the NIT and would accept an invitation if selected to participate.

Mike Anderson said in October that this was the most talent he had on his roster at St. John’s and had most of the characteristics that the best teams in his career had.

Questions also surround the majority St. John’s roster, specifically Soriano.

Soriano was honored on the team’s Senior Day but still has an extra year of eligibility.

“I’m going to sit down with my manager, the coaching staff, and my family and weigh my options,” the 23-year old said.

Joel Soriano said he would take about a week off before he thought about his decision.

“Wherever God takes me,” Soriano responded when asked if he could see himself returning to college but not at St. John’s.

“I like wearing my red…I’m playing for Mike Anderson next year,” he continued.

“He’s a great coach, I love him to death…If there’s any chance of me coming back next year and he’s not here, I’m not going to be here.”

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