Streaking St. John’s aims to stay hot vs. Marquette

NCAA Basketball

The COVID-19 pandemic has often forced teams to adjust schedules.

Therefore, when St. John’s learned it was not going to play its originally scheduled game at home against UConn, a change to its schedule quickly was made.

Instead of hosting the Huskies, the Red Storm will seek a fourth straight win and a third consecutive Big East road victory on Sunday afternoon when they head to Milwaukee to face Marquette.

St. John’s (10-7, 4-6 Big East) is on an upswing and the only thing standing in its way of a five-game winning streak is a 73-71 home loss to Marquette on Jan. 16. Since that tough loss, the Red Storm have defeated UConn, Utah Valley and DePaul, putting them in position to win three straight conference road games for the first time since 2012-13.

The Red Storm’s recent improvement can be attributed to better defense as it is allowing 69.2 points per game since a 97-78 loss at Creighton on Jan. 9.

In Wednesday’s 81-68 win at DePaul, St. John’s allowed 38.6 percent shooting and scored 30 points off 18 turnovers. It also received 18 points from Vince Cole and 16 from Julian Champagnie, who played through an early shoulder injury.

“We’re just hungry,” Cole said. “We feel we can be one of the best teams in the Big East. It’s just a testament to how hard we’re been working.”

Marquette (8-8, 4-6) has dropped two straight since Koby McEwen’s layup with 27 seconds left defeated St. John’s. The Golden Eagles have followed up the win against the Red Storm with a 68-61 loss at DePaul on Jan. 23 and Wednesday’s 72-63 overtime loss at Providence in results that may have damaged any NCAA Tournament aspirations.

Marquette shot 35.5 percent in the loss to DePaul but made 47.2 percent of its shots Wednesday. The Golden Eagles, however, shot a season-low 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from 3-point range and were held under 65 points for the seventh time this season.

The Golden Eagles are hoping to get off to a better start after shooting under 35 percent and scoring 18 points before halftime. They also are hoping for more offense from McEwen and second-leading scorer Dawson Garcia. McEwen scored 13 points and Garcia had five.

“Our guys competed,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “Offensively, we just have to tighten up a lot.”

–Field Level Media

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