The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

St. John’s Upsets No. 15 Creighton in a Wire-to-Wire “Johnnies Day” Matchup

The Red Storm earned their first ranked win of the Pitino era.

The St. John’s Red Storm took down the No. 15 Creighton Bluejays, 80-66, at the second annual “Johnnies Day” festivities today. The Red Storm showcased a remarkable transformation, fueled by a Rick Pitino tirade following a Feb. 18 loss to Seton Hall.

Madison Square Garden was covered in white, as the game was complete with a pep rally, free merchandise and games. Even Rick Pitino himself was dressed in a white Armani suit, labeled as “sharp” by Daniss Jenkins and rest of the team. 

The game tipped off with an immediate shot by graduate guard Jordan Dingle (18 pts.). This shot set the tone for the rest of the game, after the guard’s impressive 22-point performance vs. Georgetown earlier this week.

The Red Storm seized a lead in those opening seconds and never looked back. Areas of concern highlighted by Pitino, such as speed and toughness, seemed to be forgotten. Freshman guard Simeon Wilcher increased playing time and made his mark, tallying six points in 12 minutes of play. 

Junior guard Trey Alexander held down the front for the Bluejays, totaling 31 points and shooting 51% from the field. The first half ended strong with the Johnnies going on a 17-3 run against the Bluejays who trailed 41-28. 

This is usually when the story goes downhill. But today was different.

After the half, the same momentum was seen from every possession on the floor. Where the team historically loses stamina, they collectively ran back and forth with some huge defensive blocks from graduate forward Chris Ledlum, who contributed seven points and six rebounds. 

While the Bluejays fought to narrow the lead, senior center Ryan Kalkbrenner’s six blocks with 5:46 left in the game hinted at a potential comeback. Jenkins went on a 9-0 run himself to pull the lead to 72-56 with under three minutes in the game, to end the game in a much-need victory for the Johnnies. 

As the shot clock counted down, the Garden erupted with cheers; something that fans have been waiting to see all season. Reflecting on the team’s journey, Jenkins emphasized the team’s unity after Pitino’s vocal misgivings garnered national attention. 

“After [last Sunday] we were either going to lay down or come together,” he said. “Today, we came together. We were one tight fist.”

Pitino started off by applauding the team’s offensive performance, with the team having 15 offensive rebounds.

“When you have 24 assists and only three turnovers, that’s a special offensive night,” 

Junior forward Glenn Taylor Jr. (4 pts., 10 rebs.) also spoke on his increased role in today’s game, “I’m really just trying to fight for my guys on the court, no matter if I play one minute or 20 minutes.”

Jenkins, who led the Red Storm with 27 points and six assists while going 12-18 on field goals, spoke about his vision for the team that he finally saw in motion today.

“Every possession, we executed the game plan for 40 minutes,” Jenkins said. “It was really just [being] proud of each other that we came out and had that mindset like we were saying, basically it’s a pride game. We stand up, show what we are made of, show our true character.”

The Johnnies hope to extend a two-game win streak as they go on the road against Butler this Wednesday. The Johnnies have previously beaten the Bulldogs 77-61.

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About the Contributors
Sara Kiernan, Sports & Photo Editor
Sara is a senior journalism student serving as the Sports Editor & Photo Editor. She is minoring in government and politics and is a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma's epsilon omicron chapter. She has been able to take photos at some amazing places including the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden. If she is not taking photos on the court or writing, she has an iced coffee in hand with friends, walking around the city or watching any sports game that is on! LETS GO YANKEES!  Sara can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] 

Olivia Seaman, Editor-in-Chief
 

Olivia is a senior journalism student currently serving as The Torch’s Editor-in-Chief. She previously served as Managing Editor for two years. She's also written for amNewYork, Bronx Times and QNS. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an undergraduate writing consultant at the University Writing Center. She loves to watch St. John's Basketball, exploring New York City and matcha lattes!

Olivia can be reached at [email protected]  
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