Glenn Taylor Jr.'s shooting propels St. John's basketball to knockout against Butler

A season-best performance from the Oregon State transfer leads the Johnnies to a stunner

Feb 28, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA;  St. John's Red Storm forward Glenn Taylor Jr. (35)
Feb 28, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Glenn Taylor Jr. (35) / Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
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It was considered a 'Play-Out' game for NCAA Tournament purposes and the St. John's basketball team didn't leave any doubt.

With its future hanging in the balance and a Quadrant 1 road game staring it in the face, the Johnnies bludgeoned Butler inside Hinkle Fieldhouse, 82-59.

Rick Pitino was in his best mood of the season after the victory, and who could blame him.

"When you go on the road in a hostile environment and the other team shoots 39-percent, you have to be quick laterally," he said poking fun at his viral comments, which Pitino said were intentional, after the Red Storm blew a 19-point loss to Seton Hall just ten days ago.

St. John's has won all three of its games since and one of the brightest stars has been Glenn Taylor Jr. He did it with his defense in Saturday's upset victory over No. 15 Creighton and with his offense on Wednesday against Butler.

The Oregon State transfer finished with a season-high 17 points on a career-high five 3-pointers.

"We've become a total team," Pitino explained. "The offense is brilliant."

It was a night that St. John's (17-12, 9-9 Big East) could afford a less than stellar shooting performance from Daniss Jenkins (4-of-13), but his nine assists and RJ Luis' 15 points were more than enough to cross the finish line.

While the offense dazzled, the defense wasn't too shabby either, which the Hall of Famer called "relentless," holding Butler to 39.2-percent shooting from the field and forcing 15 turnovers which turned into 23 points for the Storm.

St. John's also had a record number of deflections, 38.

It wasn't always that dominant for the Red Storm, however.

St. John's led by just six at halftime, 39-33, after Posh Alexander hit a buzzer beater, but the Bulldogs (16-13, 7-11 Big East) wouldn't get within that margin the entire second half as the Johnnies would outscore Butler, 43-26.

Alexander, the former Red Storm point guard, had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field in the first half before missing all five of his shots in the second half and only gathering three points from the free throw line, something that has been an issue for him of late.

Pitino had one clear message for his team, "Don't let up."

St. John's will now have six days off before its next game against DePaul (3-25, 0-17 Big East) in Chicago on Tuesday night (9:00 p.m. ET, FS1).

It's close to the season is awful for improving its NCAA Tournament chances with the Blue Demons and Georgetown (9-19, 2-15 Big East) in the finale but the Johnnies must not only win, but do so by wide margins.

Next. Greg McDermott sees NCAA Tournament team while watching St. John's. Greg McDermott sees NCAA Tournament team while watching St. John's. dark