Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
For St. John’s, 0-1 in Big East Could Quickly Become 0-3
If St. John’s isn’t careful, 0-1 in the Big East could quickly become 0-3.
The Johnnies lost their Big East opener to Xavier, 70-60, on Tuesday and must now visit Georgetown (8-3) on Saturday before hosting No. 11 Villanova (11-1) the following Saturday.
That’s a brutal start to league play for a team that has high hopes for a March Madness run.
Against the Musketeers, St. John’s committed just six turnovers, shot 50 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-14) and led by as many as nine points midway through the first half, but shot a season-low 30.9 percent (21-of-68) from the floor and surrendered the first 13 points of the second half.
D’Angelo Harrison made 4-of-5 3-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points to pace St. John’s (9-4, 0-1). Rysheed Jordan added a career-high 17 points, including a 6-of-8 at the line, and also matched a career-best with six boards. JaKarr Sampson finished with 10 points and eight rebounds to give the Red Storm three players in double-figures, while Orlando Sanchez had five points and eight rebounds.
“We played well in the first half, but could not sustain the momentum to start the second half,” head coach Steve Lavin said. “In the first half we were able to stop them in transition, keep them off the glass and limit their big men, but we allowed them to excel in those three areas in the second half. In this league you obviously can’t allow a team to play to it’s strengths for that amount of time and expect to be successful.”
Justin Martin scored a team-high 15 points to lead Xavier (11-3, 1-0), while Semaj Christon added 10 points, eight assists and five boards. Isaiah Philmore had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Matt Stainbrook chipped in with nine points and 10 rebounds for the Musketeers, who shot 44.6 percent (25-of-56) from the floor and posted a +7 margin (45-38) on the glass. Xavier added a 40-18 advantage in points in the paint and also shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23) in the second half.
Lavin’s club must now turn around and find a way to get at least one of these next two games or risk starting out 0-3 in the league.
After this rough stretch to begin league play, the Johnnies could make some noise because their next three Big East games are at DePaul, home for Providence and home for Seton Hall.
Photo/Release: St. John’s
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.