Just like their Big East matchup against Syracuse, St. Johns had a strong start against the Cardinals of Louisville. With the score tied at 13, Louisville had other plans in mind than to have the Red Storm pull out another upset. With about five minutes left, Louisville was up 32-15 after going on a 19-2 run and embarrassing Steve Lavin's St. Johns team. By halftime, the Red Storm were able to bring down the deficit to 13, only down 44-31.
Another downfall for the Johnnies in the first half was their defense and how they took care of the ball. In the first half, Louisville shot 70 percent from beyond the arc and 65 percent field goal percentage. What allowed Louisville to score so many times was the fact that St. Johns had nine turnovers (they average 11 a game).
Nothing much changed in the second half as Louisville progressively increased their lead due to more turnovers (more than 20 by the end of the game) and missed opportunities by St. Johns. Similar to past games, St. Johns defense was taken advantage of as Louisville scored points upon points with their transition offense that dominated Louisville. St. Johns faced this same problem against Syracuse; they were able to contain the Orange because they made shots and prevented fast breaks and good transition offense but when they began to miss and turn the ball over; their hopes of an upset went away.
St. Johns Future
Protect the Ball
St. Johns is one of the easier teams to score on off turnovers. Unless by some miracles their defense is able to get back in time to prevent the easy scores, they will not be able to play against top ranked teams that know how to take advantage of an opponents missed opportunities.
What Is the Impact of Dwight Hardy's Injury
Towards the middle of the second half, top scorer and talented point guard Dwight Hardy fell after attempting a shot and hurt his ankle. He was not able to return to the bench under his own power as the training staff had to carry him back to the bench was keeping his right leg off the ground. It is unclear how long Hardy will be out due to this injury. In order for St. Johns to try and stay at the same level of success, senior point guard Malik Boothe will need to step up and play better than he has been. Boothe is only averaging 4.6 points per game while Hardy is averaging 15.5 points a game.
Inconsistency is the killer for St. Johns, against some teams (i.e. Notre Dame, Georgetown) they play spectacular but then against teams like Syracuse, and Louisville, they come out strong and collapse in the end. The Red Storm need to make changes on both sides of the court and unless those changes take place, their season may end with disappointment rather than rejoice.