The Red Storm applied pressure and the Bulldogs rolled over.
St. John’s played about 28 minutes of dominants basketball and blew out Butler, 91-57.
As was likely the case against Xavier as well, the body blows issued by St. John’s pressure did Butler in early, and the Johnnies picked up another victory in a laugher.
Additionally, while the Red Storm’s resume is likely too weak to get them into the NCAA Tournament, the top teams in the Big East certainly do not want to meet a St. John’s team like this in the Big East Tournament.
In the first 12 minutes of the game, St. John’s play was uninspired. The score was close with the Johnnies often having the lead, but it was looking like a contest where an inferior Butler team was going to hang around with a chance to win late.
However, the light came on for the Red Storm in the final eight minutes of the half. The defensive intensity was there all of a sudden, and when this team is locked in defensively, it often translates to considerably good flow on offense.
A byproduct of St. John’s playing with good flow is their assist-to-made field goal ratio. The team had 13 assists on 18 made field goals for the half with Posh Alexander contributing 7 of those assists.
Speaking of Alexander, this was likely the first half of basketball where Posh, Julian Champagnie, and Aaron Wheeler all had a productive offensive half at the same time. Aside from Champagnie’s efforts early when the offense was not clicking, all three were incredibly efficient and effective with the trio going a combined 9 of 20 from the field for 32 points.
The trio led St. John’s to a 46-30 lead at the half.
The team that started pulling away in the last eight minutes of the first half was the same team that came out in the second half. Starting with the defense, St. John’s gave Butler all it could handle. The Bulldogs were not careless with the ball, but the constant pressure appeared to take its toll. As such, Butler’s open shots were regularly short and the team from Indianapolis was 3 of 15 from deep in the second half.
What are you doing Tareq Coburn?? pic.twitter.com/qEmsl22IIW
— Let’s Talk Big East Hoops (@Hoops2College) February 18, 2022
With Butler being down by as many as 35, the game did get chippy down the stretch. The Bulldogs got unnecessarily physical in the paint with Tareq Coburn, and Coburn responded by pushing back against the contact. As is the old adage, it is never the instigator that gets caught, but the person who reacts to the instigator. As a result, Coburn was sent to the locker room early.
The chippy play turned into sloppy play for the Johnnies late. All but 3 of St. John’s 8 second half turnovers came in the last eight minutes.
Walk-ons Jalen Rosemond and Artemios Gavalas got about a minute of run Gavalas getting in the scoring column before St. John’s picked up its second straight victory, 91-57.
St. John’s Red Storm
Julian Champagnie: 31 points (11/22 FG, 4/9 3PT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists
Aaron Wheeler: 16 points (6/8 FG, 4/5 3PT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Posh Alexander: 13 points (5/6 FG, 1/1 3PT), 3 rebounds, 10 assists
Jayden Taylor: 19 points (6/14 FG, 4/6 3PT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Chuck Harris: 8 points (3/13 FG, 0/5 3PT)