After all, this was a St. John’s team with legitimate hype entering the 2018-19 season.
This was a St. John’s team, albeit against a soft non-conference schedule, that was undefeated entering Big East play.
It was time to start playing like that sort of team. To their credit, the Johnnies answered the bell.
On Sunday, they pulled off their most impressive win of the season with a 71-65 victory over Villanova.
The Johnnies rallied from a 19-point deficit to come from behind to defeat the reigning national champion.
It was a tale of two halves for the Red Storm. In the first half, St. John’s could not have looked worse.
They were lethargic and lifeless, and resembled the team that lost to DePaul, Georgetown and Providence at home.
But the minute Justin Simon’s mid-court heave went through the bucket at the end of the first half, something changed
The execution and intensity on both ends of the floor was dramatically different.
St. John’s locked down Villanova’s two best players in Phil Booth and Eric Paschal, and simply looked like a team that wanted it more.
LJ Figueroa took over the second half, and the Johnnies took over Madison Square Garden like it was old times.
With two wins over Marquette and a win Sunday against Villanova, St. John’s is sitting pretty for this year’s NCAA Tournament as long as they finish .500 or better the rest of the way.
After Sunday’s epic comeback, I’m sure many St. John’s fans had the same question as me: is this only the beginning?
With the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament on the horizon, time will surely tell.
With the way this year has been at Madison Square Garden with the struggling Knicks, it was certainly nice to see the home fans go home happy for a change.
What a concept!
You can listen to me with Evan Roberts in for Mike Francesa Wednesday through Friday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. You can also listen to me overnight on Sunday and Monday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM.