Storrs, Conn—Every coach in the Beast East will tell you that, every team in the conference can be beat on any giving day.
A late run by St. John’s helped to topple No. 23 UConn in Storrs at Gampel Pavilion by the score of 74-70 on Monday in their first meeting of the rivals since February 2013.
The Huskies held Julian Champagnie to just two free throws in the first half. But Addae-Wusu picked up his game. The guard had 10 first-half points, hitting all four of his shots.
“(Champagnie) had a rough night,” Red Storm coach Mike Anderson said. “But we’ve got the trust in him that he can make plays, free throws, I think defensively. I think that’s the sign of a good player, when a guy can still have an impact on a game not scoring, not at his best.”
RJ Cole started the party early hitting four early 3-pointers and was a big part of a 15-2 Huskies run that put UConn up 21-7 early in the contest.
The Huskies led by as many as 14 in the first half and didn’t trail for the first 33 minutes of the game.
The Johnnies trailed 35-32 at the break after a 16-5 run before the Huskies extended their lead to 49-41 in the second half.
R.J. Cole scored 18 points, Tyrese Martin had 14 and freshman Adama Sanogo added a season-high 12 points for UConn (7-2, 4-2), which played its third consecutive game without leading scorer James Bouknight, who is recovering from elbow surgery.
The Red Storm tightened the defense on wings and chipped away into the lead. Posh Alexander tied the game at 59 with a pair of free throws. A long three by Earlington gave the Johnnies their first lead, 64-62, with just over four minutes left in the game.
Champagnie’s driving layup made it 71-67 with 1:17 left on the clock and held off UConn down the stretch.
“I personally feel like we can beat every team in the country,” Alexander said. “It’s just like now we’re just coming together a little more.”
Marcellus Earlington scored 15 points and Julian Champagnie, the Big East’s leading scorer, had 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Rasheem Dunn scored 11 points and Dylan Addae-Wusu chipped in with 10 points for St. John’s (8-7, 3-6) who won for just the second time in five games.
Tyrese Martin’s deep 3-pointer from the right corner trimmed the lead to 71-70 and the Huskies forced a tie-up under the basket to get the ball back. But Martin missed two foul shots that would have given UConn the lead. Rasheem Dunn hit a free throw at the other end to give the Johnnies some breathing room.
A long 3-pointer by UConn’s Polley missed and Champagnie, who came in averaging just over 20 points a game, sealed the victory with two foul shots.
“Brutal loss,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said after the game. “Credit St. John’s. They were so competitive, they were tougher than us.”
St. John’s improves to 8-7 with the win over ranked UConn and 3-6 in Big East play. The Huskies break a four-game winning streak and drop to 8-2, 4-2 in the conference.
“Their defense was relentless, they picked you up the whole game at 94 feet,” Cole said. “You had to worry about the defender in front of you, and the defender who was playing the guy you were trying to give the entry pass to.”