RJ Luis struggles in St. John’s loss with practice time limited: ‘Doesnt get his reps’
CINCINNATI It was an evening RJ Luis Jr. would like to forget.
The explosive wing struggled mightily in his 14 minutes off the bench.
It shouldnt be a surprise that St. Johns lost, falling to Xavier, 88-77, at Cintas Center on Wednesday night.
When Luis scores in double figures, the Johnnies are 5-1. When he doesnt, they are 1-4.
Against Xavier, he was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting along with three turnovers and no assists or rebounds.
I think RJs got to start to play better within the confines of running an offense, coach Rick Pitino said. Its really difficult with RJ not practicing. Its really difficult.
It has been a star-crossed season for the 6-foot-7 UMass transfer.
He missed time early in the season with a broken left hand, then after playing in one game was sidelined again by chronic shin splints.
Rick Pitino, on the sideline during St. John’s 88-77 loss to Xavier, said win RJ Luis “didn’t play well defensively or offensively.” APThe injury has prevented him from practicing more than once in between games, which has limited his development.
He didnt play well defensively or offensively, Pitino said. But I dont think youre going to see RJ play his best because he never practices. He doesnt get his reps, he doesnt know the offense like the other guys know it. It wasnt one of his best nights.
St. Johns has started a new plan with Luis.
Rick Pitino with RJ Lewis earlier this season. Robert Sabo for NY PostHe practices fully once, then takes a day off before the game to rest his shins. Initially, he was only taking part in practices on a limited basis.
St. John’s rally can’t make up for lackluster effort in loss to Xavier
With the loss, St. Johns fell into a four-way, fifth-place tie in the Big East with Butler.
Xavier and Providence at 5-5.
All four teams are one game behind Seton Hall in the loss column for fourth.
The top five teams receive a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament.
Senior guard Nahiem Alleyne (right ankle) returned after missing the last game.
He logged 11 minutes and scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting.
Sophomore wing Sadiku Ibine Ayo will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
An Iona University transfer, Ibine Ayo appeared in just five games for St. Johns this year as a seldom-used reserve.
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