Despite a career performance from Julian Champagnie, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team was unable to thwart the high-powered offense of No. 7/5 Creighton on Saturday, falling to the Bluejays, 97-79, at CHI Health Center Omaha.
Champagnie finished with a career-high 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year. He became the first St. John’s player to record a 30-point double-double since D’Angelo Harrison went for an identical line of 33 points and 10 boards in a win over DePaul on Feb. 11, 2015. The sophomore from Brooklyn, who scored 20-plus points for the fifth time in 10 appearances this season, also tallied three steals, two blocks and a pair of assists in 33 minutes of action.
Champagnie was one of two Johnnies to finish in double figures, as Marcellus Earlington logged 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and six rebounds.
Freshman guard Posh Alexander recorded eight points, six assists and six rebounds while classmate Dylan Addae-Wusu connected on two 3-pointers.
St. John’s had an above average game offensively, shooting 33-of-71 from the floor (46.5%) and 8-of-20 (40.0%) from beyond the arc. The seventh-ranked Bluejays, however, were lights-out, connecting on 54.4 percent (37-of-68) of their field goal tries and 44.4 percent (16-of-36) of their attempts from long range.
Six Bluejays finished in double figures led by 24 points from Denzel Mahoney. Duke transfer Alex O’Connell had a season-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Creighton assisted on 24 of its 37 made baskets and surrendered only 12 turnovers on the afternoon.
After missing its first field goal try of the day, St. John’s rattled off six straight makes to take a 13-12 lead with four and a half minutes gone in the game. Champagnie scored nine of those points while Arnaldo Toro, who made his third straight start, added the other four.
Trailing by one, 20-19, following a Rasheem Dunn jumper with 12 minutes to go, St. John’s saw Creighton uncork an 11-2 run to take its first double digit lead of the day.
The Bluejays continued to build their lead over the remainder of the half, taking a 17-point advantage into the locker room, 56-39.
St. John’s quickly whittled the Creighton lead down to 12 early in the second half, but Creighton responded with a 19-9 spurt to takes its largest advantage of the game, 80-62, with 9:46 to play.
The Red Storm used a 14-3 run to cut the deficit to 11, 85-74, with 6:08 to play, but that was as close as the Johnnies would get down the stretch, as Creighton closed the game on a 10-3 run of its own.
St. John’s will return to Queens for a pair of games at Carnesecca Arena beginning on Tuesday when the Red Storm welcomes Butler. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on FS1.
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