St. John’s brimming with confidence in effort to make NCAA tournament

Steve Lavin
Steve Lavin and the Red Storm are making a late case for the NCAA tournament.
Credit: Getty Images

There was no darker point in St. John’s basketball season than Jan. 16. The Johnnies walked off the court at Carnesecca Arena after a double overtime loss to Providence with the knowledge they blew chance after chance to turn around their season.

They haven’t wasted that opportunity since.

After their biggest win of the season Sunday night — a 70-65 win over No. 12 Creighton — the Red Storm is riding a three-game winning streak and have won six of seven games since the Providence loss. The only loss in that time period was to Creighton, avenged the last time out.

And suddenly the Red Storm (15-9) is in the NCAA tournament hunt after falling to 9-8 on Jan. 16.

“I feel like we can beat anybody we play right now,” sophomore and leading-rebounder JaKarr Sampson said after the Creighton win. “What we’ve been stressing is getting off to the right start. That was the problem earlier in the season. We would always start slow and dig ourselves a hole. On this stretch we’ve been getting off to really great starts so that’s the key. Getting off to great starts and carrying it throughout the game.”

That confidence will be key down the stretch with seven games to boost their NCAA tournament resume. If you put stock in such things, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has St. John’s as one of his “Next Four Out” in his Feb. 10 Bracketology.

It’s clear, regardless of where exactly and how large it is, the Red Storm is squarely on the tournament bubble.

They begin their tournament push with a big game Thursday night against fellow old Big East-rival Seton Hall at the Prudential Center.

“You want to win every game but it’s rewarding to see the development coming given our earlier struggles,” head coach Steve Lavin said. “We’re not satisfied, and cannot afford to be complacent as we haven’t accomplished anything of significance yet.”

St. John’s has winnable games against Xavier, Georgetown and DePaul — all at home — as part of their final seven. But they lost to all three in the ugly six-game losing streak topped off by the loss against Providence.

“I’m as proud of this group as any I’ve coached in terms of resiliency, gumption, fight back and character,” Lavin said. “I think this group is developing at a nice rate. The hardship we faced earlier in the season seems to have forged a certain strength. We’re not satisfied, we haven’t achieved anything of significance, but [the Creighton] win is another hurdle that has been cleared and an indication that this team is improving.”

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…


The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.


Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…


Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.


'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.


New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!


James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…


True Detective


Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.


Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…


Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.


3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.


Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…


Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…


How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.


A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.



  1. my co-worker’s aunt makes $70 hourly on the computer. She has been without a job for seven months but last month her paycheck was $19034 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site