Following a 17-day break from game action, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team fell to Xavier, 69-61, on Wednesday at Cintas Center.
With the game tied at 51 and just over seven minutes remaining in the second half, Xavier (9-2, 2-2 BIG EAST), which received votes in both national polls this week, used a 12-0 run to open up a sizable lead on the Johnnies (6-5, 1-4 BIG EAST) in the game’s waning minutes. The Red Storm would cut the deficit down to six with two minutes remaining, but that was as close as St. John’s would get.
St. John’s, which entered the contest ranked last in the BIG EAST in three-point field goal percentage defense, forced Xavier into an 0-for-12 effort from beyond the arc. It marked the first time the Red Storm had held an opponent without a triple since Cincinnati went 0-for-12 on Jan. 13, 2010, at Madison Square Garden.
Rasheem Dunn put forth his best effort of the campaign, scoring a season-high 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting in 30 minutes of action. The senior guard from Brooklyn had scored no more than 10 points in four games since returning from a concussion suffered in the season opener on Nov. 25.
Julian Champagnie, who entered the evening ranked second in the BIG EAST in scoring, finished in double figures for the ninth time in nine attempts this season, falling a rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine boards.
Greg Williams Jr. scored eight points and matched a career high with three blocks. Isaih Moore, who scored six points and grabbed nine boards in just 19 minutes of action, also set a new career high with three rejections. As a team, St. John’s recorded all eight of their blocks in the opening half.
St. John’s assisted on 17 of its 24 made field goals. Freshmen Posh Alexander (5) and Dylan Addae-Wusu (6) accounted for 11 of those helpers. Each of the New York City natives added a pair of steals.
The Red Storm suffered through a slow start following its long layoff, missing its first four shots and committing three turnovers before getting on the board with just over three minutes gone in the game.
After his team trailed by as many as five, Dunn made a driving layup to tie the contest at 13 before giving St. John’s its first lead, 16-14, on a triple with 11:18 to play in the half.
Dunn scored the team’s final six points of the half, putting the Johnnies ahead by as many as six, 27-21, on a layup with 4:26 to go until the break. That bucket would be the Red Storm’s last of the half, but the Johnnies limited Xavier to just six points and took a 27-27 tie into the intermission.
Vince Cole scored the Red Storm’s first five points of the second half, giving the Johnnies a 32-30 lead on a triple with 17:50 to play. St. John’s would not trail again for nearly 10 minutes, moving ahead by as many as four before the Musketeers’ decisive run.
With the game tied at 51 following a 1-for-2 trip to the line for Williams with 7:21 to go, Xavier uncorked its decisive 12-0 run over the next four minutes. St. John’s went 6:59 without a field goal following a Dunn layup with 10:02 to play.
St. John’s managed to pull within six on a pair of occasions down the stretch, but could not close the gap any further as Xavier won its 12th straight meeting against the Red Storm dating back to 2015-16.
The Johnnies will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Omaha for a meeting with No. 7/5 Creighton. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET on FS1.
For more information on the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: