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St. John’s Big East tournament run ends in 72-70 loss to Marquette


The yearning of St. John’s to make a big run in the Big East tournament after more than two decades has reached an apex.

For several heartbeats late in the eighth-seeded Johnnies’ quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded and sixth-ranked Marquette, there was a murmur in the sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden that this could be the year.

The Red Storm gave Marquette everything it had in Thursday’s Big East quarterfinal at Madison Square Garden, through 40 minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime. But it just wasn’t enough for Mike Anderson’s crew to reach its first Big East semifinal in 23 years.

Marquette toughed out what was at times a war of attrition, 72-70, to send the Johnnies home again.

St. John's tournament dreams came to an end Thursday.

The Golden Eagles (24-6) will face the winner of Thursday’s UConn-Providence quarterfinal Friday night at

In a game that saw St. John’s (18-15) lead by as much as 14, the Johnnies found themselves down, 60-56, in the final 30 seconds, only to use free throws by AJ Storr and a clutch layup by Dylan Addae-Wusu to force overtime.

The Golden Eagles’ Tyler Kolek, who scored a game-high 19 points, kept attacking the basket in the extra frame and even though St. John’s managed to tie it a 70, Kolek made two free throws with 15.8 seconds left that held up for Marquette.

Addae-Wusu and David Jones finished with 16 points each and Joel Soriano finished his season with a nation-leading 25 double-doubles after scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper had 16 points for Marquette.

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After that effort, it was a tough ending to swallow for the Johnnies, whose fan base will be monitoring the immediate aftermath of the season and Anderson’s job status closely.

After Marquette began the game on a 6-0 run, St. John’s settled in and pushed tempo right along with the Golden Eagles.

The key moment of the half came when Prosper finished his second straight dunk in transition to give Marquette a 16-11 lead with 13:15 left in the first half. After he came down, Prosper appeared to taunt the St. John’s player who was underneath him and he was called for a technical foul. David Jones made 1 of the 2 free throws, but the tenor of the game changed.

That started a 16-0 Johnnies run over the next 7:09, fueled by three straight makes (two 3s) by Kolby King while Alexander rested on the bench.

Marquette didn’t exactly start the second half like gangbusters, but St. John’s went ice cold, missing its first 13 shots of the half. The Golden Eagles erased the lead more out of attrition than anything else.

Soriano broke the cold streak with a putback plus-1 to begin a 9-0 run for the Johnnies where he also added a tip-in plus-1 for a 47-40 lead.

Marquette stormed back to set up the gutwrenching final minutes and a trip to the Big East semifinals.


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