By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor – @JESchott19
The St. John’s Red Storm lost to another premier team, the Louisville Cardinals, 72-58 on Thursday night. St. John’s falls to 7-6 in Big East play, and are still looking for a signature win to burnish their NCAA Tournament credentials.
The Red Storm were without Steve Lavin, as he is with family after the death of his father, Cap Lavin, last weekend. Assistant Coach Rico Hines coached the team for the second straight game.
Louisville led 32-23 at halftime, and St. John’s started the second half with a 10-0 run. JaKarr Sampson had four points in the run to give them a 33-32 lead with 15:32 left.
Louisville responded with a 14-6 run, as Russ Smith went on an incredible streak of scoring 12 points in a row.
St. John’s could not get the deficit under 10 for the rest of the night, and Peyton Siva hit two free throws with 4:20 left to make it 56-43 Louisville.
Russ Smith put the game away with a layup and free throws with 1:20 left to make it 66-51.
For St. John’s, D’Angelo Harrison had 18 points to become the 48th St. John’s player to score 1,000 points. Harrison reached the mark in his 57th game, and ended the game with 1,001 points. He is the eighth-fastest Red Storm player to reach the mark, tying Daryll Hill.
Russ Smith led Louisville with 24 points on 5-for-13 shooting, two 3-pointers, and 12 free throws. Peyton Siva had 12 points, and Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan had 10 each.
St. John’s has now lost three of four after winning five straight in January. Their biggest win in that run was against Notre Dame. Earlier in the Big East part of the schedule, they had a road win at Cincinnati.
In searching for a signature win, they have come up well short. They have lost twice to Georgetown. This week, they lost at Syracuse and Louisville, who are both ranked in the top 10. They lost all three of these games by 10 points or more.
Their next game is Wednesday against South Florida at Carnesecca Arena. Following that, they play Pitt at Madison Square Garden, hit the road for Providence and Notre Dame, and close the season at The Garden against Marquette on March 9th.
If St. John’s can beat Pitt and Marquette, that would give them four quality wins. They would then need two wins in the Big East Tournament to get them into March Madness for the second time in three years.