The St. John’s Red Storm closed out their regular season with a bang Saturday at Madison Square Garden, defeating Marquette by an 88-86 margin to finish the regular season at 16-15, marking head coach Mike Anderson’s 18th straight winning season between four different schools.
The Red Storm surged out to a big lead early on, scoring the game’s first 12 points before Marquette came back to grab the lead for a bit before the Red Storm corrected course and went into the half with an 18 point lead.
The second half, however, was a completely different story. Over the course of the 20 minutes, the Golden Eagles chipped away and chipped away, seeming to turn the ball over or commit a foul whenever the game got to be within a possession or two. Eventually, Marquette was within two points with the ball and the shot clock off, but it proved to be too little too late.
Julian Champagnie led the Red Storm with 21 points and 12 rebounds, the latter of which was a season high for the freshman forward. Champagnie also had a game-saving play on defense when he stripped Markus Howard in the lane with five seconds left as the Golden Eagles had a chance to tie the game.
Markus Howard led Marquette with 30 points.
Marquette has now lost six of their last seven games to end the season and are 8-13 overall in February and March the past two seasons. Of those eight wins, four came in a row last February. Throughout their skid over the past month, Marquette has still been a team that was projected to be safely in the NCAA Tournament, but as of this writing they are playing Wednesday night at the Big East Tournament against a DePaul team who Marquette lost to just four days ago. Another loss would drop the Golden Eagles to 18-13 entering Selection Sunday, which would certainly raise some red flags around Milwaukee and amongst the selection committee. Something isn’t clicking for Marquette at the moment. The roster? Coaching? Execution? A mix of all three? It’s hard to pinpoint it on one certain thing in any direction, but this certainly isn’t the time of the year you want to have severe flaws on your basketball team, that’s for sure.