Two teams looking to snap untimely results are slated to meet in Big East Conference play Tuesday evening when St. John’s hosts Butler in New York City.
Both teams absorbed road defeats Saturday, when St. John’s fell 83-80 to Providence and Butler lost 76-51 to Seton Hall.
The defeats have both teams looking up at the middle tier of the conference standings, while keeping company with struggling teams such as DePaul and Georgetown.
Defensive struggles continued in a fifth straight loss for St. John’s (11-6, 1-5), which is allowing an average of 82.7 points per game, while the Red Storm allow opponents to shoot 48.1 percent from the field in conference play. Those figures rank 10th and ninth, respectively, in the 11-team Big East.
The Red Storm’s second-half comeback against Providence provided a glimpse at resiliency that was lacking in double-digit defeats to Villanova, Seton Hall and Marquette.
St. John’s tied Providence twice after trailing by eight points in the second half and had a potential go-ahead basket by Joel Soriano waved off with 2:25 left because O’Mar Stanley was hanging on the rim as the ball was in the cylinder.
“I thought our energy level was different,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said, according to the New York Post. “I thought the mindset was different with guys trusting one another and executing what we talked about. They had to make plays.”
There were few plays to be made for Butler (10-7, 2-4), which entered Saturday with back-to-back wins over Georgetown and DePaul but never led against Seton Hall. Each of the Bulldogs’ four conference losses have been by at least 20 points.
Butler’s average of 60.5 points per game in conference play is last in the Big East, 8.3 points behind the next-closest team, DePaul. The Bulldogs also are last in conference play in shooting percentage: 38.3.
“We’re playing at the highest level right now,” Butler coach Thad Matta said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “You can’t take a night off in this league and not come to play, not come to compete. Those are things to correct.”
–Field Level Media