St. John’s winning streak ends with heartbreaking loss to No. 22 Creighton
OMAHA, Neb. Again, it was a defensive rebound St. Johns couldnt get to.
Just like at Connecticut three weeks ago.
Less than 20 seconds left, the ball on the floor.
Creighton got to it and St. Johns didnt.
Trey Alexander hit two game-winning free throws with 12.3 seconds left and Daniss Jenkins missed on the other end, sending the Johnnies to a heartbreaking, 66-65 defeat at the CHI Health Center and snapping their four-game winning streak.
At the final horn, the St. Johns players stood around the court motionless, stunned at the empty finish against the 22nd-ranked team in the country.
It was an extremely disappointing loss for us. We played good enough to win, coach Rick Pitino said. But on the road, you have to get loose balls, you have to get rebounds. The teams very down about it. We had a chance o win it.
4Bluejays guard Baylor Scheierman (55) and center Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) defend against St. John’s Red Storm guard RJ Luis Jr. (12) in the first half on Saturday. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConThere were two non-calls that didnt go St. Johns way.
Before Alexander was fouled, Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner appeared to take out Jenkins legs diving for a loose ball, and Creighton was able to secure the carom.
Johnnies guard Jordan Dingle was undercut on his putback attempt by Francisco Farabello after Jenkins miss.
Pitino opted not to play that game, even though Creighton held an 18-4 edge in free-throw attempts after halftime.
Referees have to do their job, theyve got to call it as they see it, he said. We havent had the best whistle this year, but sometimes when youre building and you dont have a rp, I think those three officials James Breeding, Nathan Farrell and Brent Hampton are very good.
4St. John’s and coach Rick Pitino lost to Creighton on Saturday. APAs someone who has refereed basketball camps all my life, its not the easiest job in the world. Im not going to blame it on them. Weve got to be tough enough to come down with the ball, and weve got to be tough enough to make a mid-range jumper in the lane.
Dingle echoed his coach.
Sure, there was contact on his shot that couldve made St. Johns a winner, but that one call didnt lose the game.
I cant go back and change the call. The ref decided that it wasnt a foul for whatever reason, he said. It was a shot I couldve made and I think I should have in all honesty. But I did get hit.
The Johnnies (12-5, 4-2) had their chances down the stretch but missed their final four shots and seven of their last eight.
They managed just two points, a Joel Soriano basket, over the final 4:24.
The big shot just wouldnt go down, so St. Johns fell out of first place in the Big East, starting this brutal nine-game stretch when it will face seven Quad 1 opponents with a frustrating defeat.
4Red Storm forward Glenn Taylor Jr. (35) dribbles up the court against the Creighton Bluejays in the first half on Saturday. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConSoriano led St. Johns with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Jenkins added 11 points and five assists, though the two shot a combined 10-of-28 from the field.
Kalkbrenner had 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for Creighton.
The game was there to be won after a fantastic stretch by the bench gave St. Johns a nine-point lead with 9:29 remaining.
The second unit engineered a 14-2 spurt, highlighted by four points from Zuby Ejiofor, Sorianos backup.
But the Johnnies couldnt hold it.
4St. John’s guard Daniss Jenkins (5) shoots over Creighton Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) in the first half on Saturday. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConCreighton (13-4, 4-2) responded by reeling off a 12-2 spurt and made one more play in crunch time.
It ruined a stout defensive effort from Pitinos team, which held the explosive Bluejays to 14 points below their season average and limited them to 36.7 percent shooting from the field.
But that was of no solace to Pitino or his players.
This loss will sting.
When we lose, I fking hate the world, Pitino said. I dont believe in those valiant efforts on the road. I feel like I want to kill myself, jump into the cold and die of frostbite.
As he left the interview room, he added: Ive got to go roll in the snow right now.
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