St. John’s can’t pull off an upset this time with a loss to UConn

Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points, Adama Sanogo had 18 points and nine rebounds, and No. 18 UConn beat St. John’s 95-86 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Andre Jackson Jr. had 15 points, Joey Calcaterra also scored 15 to lead a strong effort from Connecticut’s bench and the rejuvenated Huskies (22-7, 11-7 Big East) avenged an 11-point loss to St. John’s at headquarters last month. .

UConn won for the sixth time in seven games, closing in on a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament.

AJ Storr had 20 points and Posh Alexander added 18 for the Red Storm (17-13, 7-12), which had won three of four.

David Jones scored 15 off the bench – all in the second half – and Joel Soriano paced Senior Day with 12 points and 11 rebounds for his 22nd double-double this season, the most in Division I.

Soriano fouled out with 3:02 left and St. John’s with 12.

Posh Alexander reacts during St. John from UConn on Saturday.
Jason Scenes of the NY Post

There was plenty of conflict between the Big East rivals before a divided crowd at Madison Square Garden in a game that included four technical fouls.

UConn scored the first six points of the second half down low and opened the period with a 12-4 spurt that gave the Huskies a 62-45 cushion with 13:31 left.

St. John’s cut it to nine with 9:32 left, but technical fouls on Dylan Addae-Wusu and Red Storm coach Mike Anderson led to four free throws by Hawkins over the next 5:10 that helped UConn extend the lead her at 15.

UConn guard Andre Jackson Jr. blocks Posh Alexander during Saturday’s win over St. John’s.
Jason Scenes for the NY Post

Three players off the bench — Calcaterra, Nahiem Alleyne and freshman Donovan Clingan — had some quick bursts that put UConn in control late in the first half.

Alleyne hit a pull-up jumper and assisted on a Klingan dunk during a 7-0 run that ended with Calcaterra’s 3-pointer that gave the Huskies a 39-27 advantage.

Mike Anderson
St. John’s coach Mike Anderson

St. John’s shaved it to seven before another 3 by Calcaterra capped a 10-2 surge that put UConn ahead by 15. Alexander converted a 3-point play and drained a 3-pointer to send the Red Storm to the break down 50-41.

The reserve of St. John’s Rafael Pinzon, suspended indefinitely, sat his third straight game. The sophomore guard is averaging 6.1 points per game. Red Storm guard Andre Curbelo came off the bench for the second straight game. Held for each of the previous three, coach’s decision.