St. John’s onto Big East quarterfinals after bouncing Butler
St. John’s has been in this place before.
Six of the past seven years to be exact.
It performs well on the first day of the Big East Tournament and puts in a strong performance, but wilts the next day.
It is now back in the same position, after a thorough 76-63 victory over No. 9 Butler at the Garden Friday afternoon.
The win sends eighth-seeded St. John’s to a quarterfinal meeting with No. 1 Marquette, five days after the Johnnies nearly toppled the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee.
In what has been a second disappointing season in a row that could cost coach Mike Anderson his job, St. John’s has at least given itself one last chance to turn around this year by entering the conference tournament.
It has not reached the semi-finals since 2000.
It was dominant for most of this win, building a 21-point lead.
It crushed the overpowered Butler on the glass, 53-28, and outscored it in the paint, 40-28.
It held back a furious Butler run in the final minutes.
Joel Soriano, the Big East’s most improved player and the team’s MVP, had the biggest basket in the game.
His offensive rebound and follow-up ended a 20-9 Butler run that had trimmed the lead to nine.
Posh Alexander then found Dylan Addae-Wusu for a three-pointer and the lead was never really compromised the rest of the way.
Soriano led St. John’s with 19 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, AJ Storr had 15 and Alexander scored 13. Addae-Wusu recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.