St. John’s basketball falls to Pace in exhibition game

St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball team shockingly lost to Pace in an exhibition game. 

Eight days can change a lot for the St. John’s basketball team in the preseason.

After defeating Rutgers in a thrilling double overtime exhibition game, the Red Storm would have one final tune up before the regular season on Sunday afternoon in front of a sparse crowd at Carnesecca Arena against Pace and it was anything but normal.

The Setters stunned the Johnnies, 63-59, and casted a very dark cloud of concern over the program that has been living in the spotlight since Rick Pitino was named as the team’s head coach.

“It would have been a crime if we came back and won that game because [Pace] deserved the victory from the opening tip to the last second,” Pitino said after the game.

St. John’s never led in the game and trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half after shooting 25.8-percent from the field (17-of-66) and 22.7-percent from 3-point range (7-of-31).

The Johnnies were also out-rebounded by Pace, 54-43.

“Nobody likes to lose, but exhibition games are exhibition games,” Pitino continued. “A much smaller team dominated us on the backboard and that can’t be. If I asked for anything for a Christmas present, it was this loss.”

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The Red Storm were without a number of players in the game, including Joel Soriano, Jordan Dingle, RJ Luis, Cruz Davis, and Sadiku Ibine Ayo.

Soriano’s absence was considered very minor and is expected to return to practice early this week. The same can be said for Davis, who suffered a broken hand in mid-October, but there is now an expectation he can be ready for the start of the season.

Dingle’s shoulder injury still remains a bit of a mystery as Pitino has called it minor but the Penn transfer has not returned to practice, however, there is hope that he could return to the court this week.

Luis, also recovering from a broken hand, is still likely to be out until the Charleston Classic and Sadiku Ibine Ayo suffered a high ankle sprain in practice this week and there’s no timetable for his return.

St. John’s basketball cannot fill the void of missing players

The rest of the team did not step in up the absence of those players after Daniss Jenkins only took four shots — missing each of them — while Chris Ledlum was 2-for-14 from the field and Zuby Ejiofor was 1-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-11 from the free throw line.

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“We learned a lot about what we need to work on tonight and that’s what exhibition games are for,” Pitino added.

St. John’s will have a week to try and figure things out as the season begins on Tuesday, November 7 against Stony Brook (7:00p.m. ET, FS1).

Next. Rick Pitino provides injury updates on trio of players. dark