After losing 72-58 at No. 12 Louisville on Thursday night, St. John’s doesn’t play another game until Wednesday night when they host South Florida. The Red Storm, who have been without head coach Steve Lavin for the last two games due to the passing of his father, will have their head coach back for that game.
Lavin, according to Roger Rubin of the NY Daily News, will fly back from northern California on Sunday and will resume head coaching duties on Monday. Assistant coach Rico Hines led St. John’s in road games at No. 9 Syracuse and Louisville this week, arguably the team’s two toughest games on the schedule to date.
This “prolonged” break is something the young Red Storm needed, as they look to recuperate not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.
“The whole team is real emotional right now, even the coaching staff, but we’re rallying around each other,” sophomore guard Phil Greene said in Wednesday’s Daily News about the state of the team. “We’re just going to have to get through it . . . we’re going pick each other up and be ready to play.”
The Red Storm played well for a solid portion of the Louisville game but fell apart down the stretch, as the Cardinals went on a second-half run sparked by guard Russ Smith. Smith scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half. Louisville shot 20-of-26 from the foul line in the second half.
Having lost three of their last four games, St. John’s will play three of its final five games at home with both Pittsburgh and Marquette visiting the Big Apple. So there will be opportunities for the Red Storm to improve their NCAA tournament resume before the Big East tournament.