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St. John's vs. Butler halftime notes

It hasn't been the most aesthetically pleasing half, but the 'Dawgs are in front after one half of play.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At the half in Hinkle, No. 23 Butler overcame a sluggish start to lead St. John's 39-25, closing the half with a 13-2 run.

  • Both teams were a little to wake up today, it seems. There were eight turnovers in the first five minutes and Butler, who leads the Big East with just nine turnovers per game, matched their season average in just 12 minutes. Butler will allow St. John's to stay in this game if they don't protect the ball better in the second half as the Johnnies scored 16 of their 21 points off turnovers.
  • It goes hand in hand with turnovers, but the transition game has been huge in the first half. St. John's has scored six points on the fastbreak to Butler's zero. St. John's half court offense has looked bad in the first half and they only shot 1-of-7 on 3-pointers in the half, so they will need to keep pushing the tempo and point guard Federico Mussini has done a good job of creating looks on the fast break.
  • St. John's has made it difficult for Butler around the basket even without Yankuba Sima. The Johnnies have five blocks in the first half, lead by Kassoum Yakwe with three of his own. But this aggression has allowed Butler to reach the free throw line 14 times, grab six offensive boards and score five second-chance points. St. John's are playing solid interior defense, just need to box out better to keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass.