The first loss of the Rick Pitino era was a humbling experience for a newly constructed version of St. John’s.
After getting overmatched against Michigan, the Red Storm hope to show some improvement and start their appearance in the Charleston Classic with a victory over North Texas on Thursday afternoon in Charleston, S.C.
The Red Storm (1-1) will play three games in a field headlined by sixth-ranked Houston.
Depending on the result of its first neutral site game, St. John’s will play a consolation game Friday morning or a semifinal contest in the afternoon versus either Dayton or LSU.
The Red Storm will take the floor three days after getting overwhelmed in their 89-73 loss to the Wolverines on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
St. John’s allowed Michigan to shoot 51.6 percent from the floor and trailed by as many 26 points. The Red Storm held a two-point lead with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half but got outscored 60-42 the rest of the way and wound up shooting 36.0 percent and getting 11 assists.
“I don’t think it was about trust, I just think they were going one-on-one way too much,” Pitino said. “It’s uncharacteristic.”
Joel Soriano led the Red Storm with 15 points but his supporting cast struggled. Daniss Jenkins and Jordan Dingle added 10 points apiece but combined to shoot 8-of-22 from the floor. Chris Ledlum was held to four points after getting a double-double of 16 points and 14 boards in the season opener against Stony Brook.
North Texas (2-0) was picked to finish sixth in the AAC preseason poll after winning 31 games and the NIT championship last season. The Mean Green, who retained three starters from last year, earned a six-point win in overtime versus Northern Iowa and an 11-point victory against Omaha.
“We have gotten a little better every time out,” new coach Ross Hodge said. “It’s about consistency and getting everyone playing well on the same night.”
Aaron Scott, who averaged seven points per game last season, has led the way in both contests. Scott scored 26 in the season opener and followed it up with 18 on Saturday against the Mavericks to earn conference player of the week honors.
–Field Level Media
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