St. John’s hits new low with ugly loss to DePaul

Any hopes of a season-ending NCAA Tournament evaporated in Wednesday’s loss to Creighton, and St. John’s played like a team that knew it Sunday in Chicago.

Defense was optional. The offense was inconsistent at best. The substitution patterns were weird. And the result was predictable.

St. John’s lost to longtime Big East punchbag DePaul, 99-94, to fall just two games over .500 and clinch a Big East record under .500. Forget the NCAA Tournament. The NIT is starting to look less likely for a team that started the year with such high aspirations.

Mike Anderson’s record of never having a losing season is now in jeopardy, as St. John’s close out the regular season against Xavier and Marquette before playing in the out-of-bracket round of the Big East Tournament.

After appearing to turn the corner, winning four of six games, the Johnnies slid back. They couldn’t get past Creighton on Wednesday despite point guard Ryan Nembhard breaking his wrist midway through the second half, and the Red Storm did even worse on Sunday.

DePaul shot 55% from the field. At times it looked like a layup line for the Blue Demons. St. John’s repeatedly lost leading scorer Javon Freeman-Liberty, who buried them for 39 points and hit five 3-pointers. Julian Champagnie led St. John’s with 27 points but was ineffective, shooting 10 of 27 from the field and missing 10 of his first 12 shots. Posh Alexander, who surprisingly didn’t start any half, added 18 points and four assists. Aaron Wheeler was 20.

St. John’s had chances late but couldn’t get key saves and missed important free throws, a problem that lasted all season. Overall, it was 13 out of 22 on the line.

New York Post

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