Thanks for the memories: Season comes to an end 1

Julian Champagnie scored a team-high 16 points in the Red Storm’s 77-69 overtime loss to Seton Hall last Thursday in the Big East Tournament.

The Johnnies saw their NCAA Tournament hopes dashed with a 77-69 overtime loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament last Thursday.

On Sunday night, St. John’s announced it had informed the National Invitation Tournament committee of its request to remove the school from consideration.

The secondary tournament, annually played on schools’ campuses with the final two rounds at Madison Square Garden, is being played entirely in Frisco, Texas.

St. John’s Athletic Director Mike Cragg said in a normal year the school would be honored to compete, noting its long history with the tournament, including 28 appearances and five championships.

“However, this has been far from a normal year as there have been tremendous mental and physical demands on everyone in our basketball program due to extensive Covid-19 protocols dating back to July that have taken their toll,” Cragg said.

The Johnnies finished 16-11 with a 10-9 record in Big East play, the school’s first winning record in conference since 2015.

The final game was a loss to a Pirates team St. John’s had defeated to end the regular season.

The matchup also marked the first time the Red Storm played at Madison Square Garden since March 2020.

“It was great, but it was kind of unusual,” head coach Mike Anderson said. “When I walked in there, I said, ‘man, we’re back home.’ But when you go out and play, it’s just a different type of environment. But it was good to get back and see all the people here that make it such a great place for us.”

It was a gutsy performance for the Johnnies to send the game into overtime given that Big East leading scorer Julian Champagnie didn’t score for the final 15 minutes of the second half and the team was without forward Isaih Moore due to Covid protocols.

St. John’s shot under 33 percent from the field, including two-for-nine in overtime.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with the environment; some teams just have that type of night and tonight was that night for us,” guard Rasheem Dunn said. “The shots that we have been making all year, we had good looks, open threes and pull-ups but they just weren’t falling, and we couldn’t do anything about that.”

The Big East tournament was wide open, given injuries to top-seed Villanova. The Georgetown Hoyas led by head coach Patrick Ewing, who were picked to finish last at the start of the season and were eighth in the 11-team conference, won four games in four days and an unlikely bid to the NCAA Tournament.

St. John’s still hasn’t won the conference title since 2000. Coincidentally, the head coach for the Red Storm was Mike Jarvis, Ewing’s high school coach at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts.

Queens basketball fans will still have a few players to follow in the tournament. Georgia Tech features guard Jose Alvarado from Christ the King and Illinois has his Royals teammate Kofi Cockburn.

As for the Red Storm, Anderson is constructing a winning program. Guard Posh Alexander was Big East Freshman of the Year and Champagnie was first-team all Big East. After a 2-6 start, the Johnnies finished conference play 8-3. The team hopes to build on that next season.


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