St. John’s tried as hard as they could to save their coach, first by destroying UConn yesterday, and then by rallying today against Tournament-bound Marquette. But the comeback fell short, the upset didn’t happen, and the Red Storm’s 57–55 loss at the Garden means that our dream of a city team in the NCAA Tournament is finished. So, too, maybe, is Norm Roberts in Jamaica.
St. John’s trailed by as many as fourteen in the first half, but they’d storm back (pardon the pun) and take a four-point lead with just over seven minutes remaining after a pair of dunks twelve seconds apart that sent the crowd into as much of a frenzy as it can work itself into when the upper levels are almost entirely empty. (Immediately after the second of these dunks, the scoreboard camera cut to a giddy Lou Carnesecca, because, really, who else could it cut to at this moment?) But Marquette’s shooters were just too accurate, particularly from beyond the arc: They’d sink their first five threes to jump out to a lead in an otherwise dull first half, and David Cubillan’s trey with 1:10 to go gave Marquette a two-point lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.
It’s really too bad St. John’s lost, because a Syracuse-Georgetown/Villanova–St. John’s doubleheader in the afternoon session tomorrow would have been a perfect slice of Big East nostalgia. But that’s not going to happen, and instead a team from Wisconsin will be involved. The loss does mean this, however: Syracuse, you now have our undivided attention.