St. John’s struggles as brutal three-game stretch looms
by Bryan Fonseca
Jan 29, 2019 | 1172 views | 0 0 comments | 116 116 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 12 straight wins, the St. John’s Red Storm have lost five of their last eight, giving them a 3-5 start to Big East play.

The most recent of loss was a double-digit, 89-78 defeat to the Georgetown Hoyas in Madison Square Garden this past Sunday, marking their fourth loss in five games.

“I wouldn’t say we’re desperate,” star guard Shamorie Ponds said following Sunday’s loss, where he paced the Red Storm with 21 points. “As a team we aren’t as together as we were in the beginning. We have to get back to our winning ways.”

The once-ranked Red Storm now face an uphill climb, beginning with three straight road contests in Creighton, second-ranked Duke and twelfth-ranked Marquette.

The Queens club has double-digit wins over both Marquette, then the number-16 team in the country, and Creighton, but has witnessed a gradual decline in their play since.

Against the Hoyas, the perimeter-driven St. John’s offense shot 38.2 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three, converting on only seven of the 26 shots they took from downtown.

Similarly, against Butler on the road earlier in the week, the Johnnies only connected on 38.1 percent from the floor and 29.2 percent from three.

Devoid of a true center on the roster, Butler was able to edge out St. John’s in rebounds, 40-36. Against Georgetown, who are led by star center Jessie Govan – a native of Queens Village – the Red Storm also lost the battle on the boards, 41-34.

Govan poured in 20 points and grabbed nine boards, while standout freshman Mac McClung dropped in a team-best 25 points, making four threes in the process.

“We were able to close it out,” Georgetown head coach and New York Knick legend Patrick Ewing offered after defeating St. John’s at MSG. “We went on a big run and they fought back, but I thought that we kept our composure, and we kept on fighting. They tied it at one point, but we just kept fighting.”

Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin, in his usual calm demeanor, offered no reason to wither in the face of their stretch of losses.

“It’s no emergency,” said Mullin, calmly, after losing to Georgetown. “We’ll regroup and play well for the rest of the year like we have.”

If the Red Storm hopes to be dancing in March Madness, he’ll need to be right.

But considering Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett are waiting in the wings on Saturday, followed by Markus Howard and Sam Hauser three days after, St. John’s will need to be their absolute best and hope that’s good enough.
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