The St. John's basketball team let a signature road victory against the Connecticut Huskies slip through its fingers on Saturday night in Hartford and its players -- and Hall of Fame coach -- know its a game that should have been won.
The Red Storm led by as many as eight points early in the second half, 34-26, and took a two point lead, 63-61, with 4:15 left behind back-to-back 3-pointers from Jordan Dingle and Glenn Taylor Jr. before then-No. 5 UConn ended the game on an 8-2 run to steal the 69-65 victory.
“We should have won. We had them," Nahiem Alleyne said, who played in his first game against the Huskies since winning a National Championship with them last season.
"We had them and I really feel like we could have won that game. Everyone in the locker room knows we could have won that game. It just slipped and we will get them next time.”
Alleyne had just two points on 1-of-6 shooting for the Johnnies.
Joel Soriano, St. John's captain, echoed similar sentiments as Rick Pitino regarding the team's inability to grab defensive rebounds in the closing minutes.
"We have to finish out on plays with rebounds. There were a lot of rebounds we missed today going down the stretch of the game."
Despite only having five shot attempts, Soriano led the Johnnies with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
UConn (11-2, 1-1 Big East) turned 12 offensive rebounds into 17 points and the Red Storm allowed three offensive rebounds in the final 3:40, which allowed the Huskies to tie the game at 63 immediately after the Red Storm took the lead.
"[St. John's players] were void of fundamentals and now they are getting fundamentally sound in all phases of the game, but a lack of fundamental cost us the game today," Pitino said.
"Are we all disappointed that we lost this game? Yes, we are, but we are all very pleased with the effort and the fact that we are getting better.”
St. John's (8-4, 1-1 Big East) will play the final game of the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday afternoon (12:00 p.m. ET, FoxSports1) against Hofstra (7-5) at UBS Arena.