National Basketball Association
St. John's 81, Xavier 66
When: 6:30 PM ET, Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, New York
# Ron Groover, # Matt Potter, # Michael Palau
Surprise starter Tareq Coburn scored a season-high 20 points and Julian Champagnie had 19 points and eight rebounds as St. John's pulled away in the second half and defeated Xavier 81-66 in a Big East game Wednesday in Queens, New York.
Coburn, a graduate transfer from Hofstra, shot 5-for-7 from three-point range and also had a season-high three blocked shots as he made his first start for the Red Storm (16-13, 8-10 Big East), which ended a two-game losing streak. Posh Alexander had 17 points and eight assists, Aaron Wheeler had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Joel Soriano scored 10 points for St. John's.
Colby Jones scored 13 points and Jack Nunge had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Xavier (17-12, 7-11), which has lost five consecutive games and seven of its last eight and is in the process of squandering a once-sure NCAA at-large bid. Nate Johnson had 11 points for the Musketeers, who likely will have to win some games at next week's Big East tournament after finishing the regular season at home Saturday versus lowly Georgetown.
Champagnie iced the victory with three straight baskets in a span of 1:03, increasing St. John's lead to 68-55. After Xavier's Jerome Hunter hit two free throws with 6:02 to go to cut the deficit to 62-55, Champagnie made two jumpers and then a steal and layup for a 68-55 advantage with 4:53 to play.
Zach Freemantle scored on a putback on Xavier's first second-half possession to cut the deficit to 33-31, but an 11-3 run gave the Red Storm a 44-34 lead with 17:15 to go. Coburn hit two 3s during the spurt.
Montez Mathis' dunk with 12:12 left put St. John's ahead 50-38, but the Musketeers rallied and trimmed the lead to 52-49 with 8:37 to go when Jones made one of two foul shots. Jones had five points in that run.
St. John's responded, however, and Coburn again was a part of it, as his three from the right wing put the Red Storm up 57-49 with 7:55 to go.
Xavier missed 19 of its first 22 field-goal attempts. But because the Red Storm wasn't lighting up the scoreboard either, the Musketeers trailed only 15-12 after Paul Scruggs scored a basket Johnson drained a three from the right wing.
After Scruggs' trey from the left corner cut St. John's lead to 28-27 with 2:27 to go in the first half, Coburn answered with a 3, making it 31-27.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Colby Jones 13
Tareq Coburn 20
Dwon Odom 3
Posh Alexander 8
Jack Nunge 11
Aaron Wheeler 11
Jack Nunge 5
||Free Throws Made
Posh Alexander 9
Zach Freemantle 2
Julian Champagnie 2
Zach Freemantle 1
Tareq Coburn 3
Team Stats Summary