St. John's Slapped Back to Reality by Notre Dame
After a solid start to its conference season, St. John's -- in its second consecutive game against a ranked opponent -- got smoked at Notre Dame Saturday night, 76-61. It had fared well to this point, winning its first three in conference, but its luck ran out in South Bend.
No. 14 Notre Dame (14-2, 3-1) was without forward Carleton Scott for the second straight game due to a slight hamstring tear, but it still led throughout. The advantage ballooned to 25 in the second half, and St. John's was never able to mount much of a comeback.
The Irish were again led by senior guards Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis. Hansbrough (photo) led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on 4 of 7 shooting from three.
Justin Brownlee led St. John's (10-4, 3-1) with 17 points and seven rebounds.
How it was won: Shooting. The Red Storm only managed a frigid 39 percent from the floor where the Irish were hot, shooting 53 percent. On the season, St. John's has been the superior shooting team, as it came in averaging almost 48 percent shooting from the floor on the season. But the Johnnies had trouble finding a rhythm, and they were unable to claw back with Notre Dame scoring as efficiently as it was.
How it was lost: Nerves? Fatigue? Whatever the reason, St. John's seemed rattled and a step slow from the tip. It has played conference games on the road this year already, but for some reason it was never in this one.
Where to from here: It absolutely gets more difficult from here for St. John's. In their next six, the Red Storm (10-4) will face five more ranked teams, including No. 1 Duke. Their only game against a currently unranked team will come in a trip to Louisville, a team just on the outside of the poll.