The final disappointment in a season full of them for St. John’s came on Thursday afternoon when Posh Alexander’s three-point shot for a win against top-seeded and No. 6-ranked Marquette hit the front of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.
The Red Storm’s 72-70 overtime loss in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals before a raucous crowd of 19,812 at the Garden means they will not make the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight time in coach Mike Anderson’s four seasons.
For the second straight year, St. John’s came agonizingly close to reaching its first Big East Tournament semifinal since 2000. The eighth-seeded Red Storm (18-15) led Marquette by 14 in the first half before losing. In the 2022 tourney, they blew a 17-point lead over Villanova and suffered a one-point loss.
St. John’s must make a determination about whether to move on from Anderson, and many of the players, disappointed with the years of not reaching the NCAA Tournament, could opt to transfer.
Alexander, a junior, was asked if a transfer is a consideration and replied, “Whatever happens happens.”
Big East Most Improved Player Joel Soriano, who has one year of eligibility left, said, “Wherever God takes me, but I like wearing my red. It could be at St. John’s; it could be at anywhere else.” He added, “If there’s any chance of me coming back here and [Anderson] is not here, I’m not going to be here.”
St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg has said that Anderson will be evaluated at the end of the season. Barring an unlikely NIT invitation, that time has come.
Anderson was the Big East Coach of the Year in 2020-21 as the Red Storm’s fourth-place finish was their best in more than two decades. Though they tied for seventh last season, he received a contract extension through 2026-27 that reportedly pays $2.5 million annually and reportedly is guaranteed for another four years.
Asked about his future with the program at the postgame news conference, Anderson replied, “We’re talking about the game.”
Dylan Addae-Wusu and David Jones had 16 points apiece and Soriano had 12 points and 12 rebounds for St. John’s, which shot 7-for-36 after leading 36-26 at halftime. Kolby King had a career-best eight points, all in the run to a 32-18 first-half lead.
Tyler Kolek had 19 points for Marquette (27-5), which will be seeking its first trip to the tournament title game in four tries when it meets fourth-seeded and 11th-ranked UConn (25-7) in a Friday semifinal.
St. John’s had its chances to pull out the win in both regulation and overtime.
Soriano went to the line looking to give St. John’s a lead with 39.6 seconds left in OT but made only one of two free throws, tying it at 70. Kolek, the Big East Player of the Year, drew a foul from Soriano and made two free throws with 15.8 seconds left.
AJ Storr missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer with about five seconds left and the ball went out of bounds off the Eagles with 3.6 seconds left.
Anderson said the final play was for Addae-Wusu to drive but “they did a good job of jamming it up in there — Dylan did a good job of finding Posh on the wing.”
Marquette fouled Storr on a three-point attempt with 19.5 seconds left in regulation and he made all three shots to get St. John’s within 60-59.
Alexander stole the inbounds pass, but Jones turned the ball over and had to foul Olivier-Maxence Prosper. He made the front end of the one-and-one but missed the second shot, and Addae-Wusu scored on a drive to tie it at 61.
Prosper’s dunk of Kolek’s missed three-pointer came after the final buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
“I felt we could have dug this one out, dug a little deeper, but we fell short,” Addae-Wusu said.
Added Alexander: “I’m proud of everybody on this team and I enjoyed playing with them and I’m just sad that the season is over.”