Sunday, February 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Pittsburgh 63, St. John's 47
By Kieran Darcy
What it means: St. John's hopes of making the NCAA Tournament took a severe hit Sunday.
The Red Storm -- on the bubble and desperately needing another quality win on their résumé -- lost 63-47 to No. 20 Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden.
St. John's drops to 16-11 overall, 8-7 in the Big East. Pitt improves to 21-7 overall, 9-6 in the conference.
The Red Storm -- once as high as third place in the Big East standings -- have plummeted to ninth. They are now 2-5 against Top 25 opponents this season.
The turning point: Pittsburgh scored first and led the entire first half. The Panthers' largest lead was seven -- St. John's closed to within one on three different occasions, but never went in front. Pitt led 30-27 at intermission. The Red Storm shot just 11-for-30 (36.7 percent) from the field in the first half, particularly struggling in their half-court offense.
St. John's scored the first four points of the second half to take its first lead, 31-30 -- but that was short-lived. Leading 42-39, Pittsburgh went on a 13-2 spurt to take a 55-41 lead with 5:32 to play. The dagger was delivered by Panthers guard Tray Woodall -- a 3-pointer with 6:20 remaining that pushed the lead to double digits, 53-41, for the first time. The rest was essentially garbage time.
Star watch: Woodall was brilliant for Pittsburgh. The 6-foot senior from Brooklyn finished with a game-high 25 points, shooting 8-for-14 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.