by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
Steve Lavin knew it would be a long road back to relevance for St. John’s, but with five straight wins and a title in the Great Alaska Shootout, it seemed like the Red Storm was on the fast track.
A loss at home to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday night has given Lavin’s team a reason to temper the early season excitement. The Bonnies, who were picked 13th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10, knocked off St John’s 67-66 on a game-winning jump shot by Andrew Nicholson with 5.2 seconds remaining.
With the loss, St. John’s fall to 5-2 on the season, and although Lavin tries to find the positives from the defeat, the game shows that St. John’s just might not be ready to compete for a NCAA tournament bid this season.
From The New York Daily News:
It’s hard to see this as anything but a bad loss for St. John’s (5-2), which had its five-game winning streak snapped. St. Bonaventure (5-2) was picked 13th of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10’s preseason coaches poll and was a double-digit underdog. St. John’s held an early lead of 13-2 and was up 47-37 with less than 13 minutes to play, but still ended up in a nail-biter.
The Red Storm hurt itself by shooting only 42% from the floor and a dismal 10-for-20 on the free-throw line.
“The things we struggled with are all correctable,” Lavin said. “I told them that they are still the same group that came back from down 12 (against) Arizona State (in the Great Alaska Shootout final) and pulled out other big wins.”
Things will not get any easier for St. John’s. A potential matchup with Northwestern looms in the Holiday Festival, followed shortly after by the Big East season. Lavin knows how important having a good team in New York City is for the Big East, but that might still be at least a year away for this Red Storm squad.