St. John's basketball gets major lift from unexpected source in victory over Butler

The St. John's basketball team got a lift from an unexpected player during its victory over Butler

Jan 2, 2024; Queens, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Brady Dunlap (44) takes a three
Jan 2, 2024; Queens, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Brady Dunlap (44) takes a three / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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The first shot didn't go in for St. John's basketball freshman Brady Dunlap.

That didn't discourage him.

The next one went in, and the next one, and the next one, and the next one and it was not long before it was a career night for the seldom used rookie prior to halftime.

He was put in the game immediately after Chris Ledlum, who was questionable with an ankle sprain, aggravated the injury in the opening minutes. If Ledlum wasn't healthy enough to play, Rick Pitino said he was going to start Dunlap -- despite not playing in the last three games for the Johnnies.

“He practiced hard in player development. He practiced hard in practice," Pitino said.

"I never worry about his confidence. He thinks he's Jerry West when he goes out there."

Dunlap looked like 'The Logo' too with 10 points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting. He made the Hall of Fame coach look like a genius.

St. John's (10-4, 2-1 Big East) outscored Butler by 13 points when the California native was on the floor in its 86-70 victory.

“When I committed here, I kind of knew what it was. I wasn’t coming to this program expecting lots of minutes, I just wanted to get as good as I can this year, and just be ready when Coach Pitino does call my name," he explained.

He was more than ready on Tuesday night, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

"I'm not going to tell you he's going to be Chris Mullin, but he's going to be a great scorer at St. John's with the likes of a Chris Mullin," Pitino added.

Six different players for St. John's scored in double figures, led by 17 points and seven assists by Daniss Jenkins, as the Johnnies never trailed in its victory. It's the second straight home conference game for the Red Storm in which its opponent never led.

Posh Alexander, in his return to St. John's after transferring to Butler this spring, came out of the gates on fire with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the first half but was held scoreless in the second half on two field goal attempts.

The Johnnies travel to Villanova (9-4, 2-0 Big East) for a critical Big East matchup on Saturday afternoon (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) inside Finneran Pavilion.

Next. St. John's Top-5 moments of 2023. St. John's Top-5 moments of 2023. dark