After 17 seasons with Nolan Richardson in Arkansas, Mike Anderson finally got the chance to become head coach at UAB in 2002. After four years in his hometown of Birmingham. Ala. Native moved on. He spent five years in Missouri, then eight years in Arkansas.
Every season ended with the same award. Anderson never ended in a loss record for 17 years.
Only one season in St. Johns could tear the series to pieces.
With his five remaining regular-season games, all played against leaderboard teams, St. Johns dropped the best chance of winning shortly after he gave up the last eight points of the game and on Monday evening at Madison Square Garden on Xavier (77-74) had fallen.
With LJ Figueroa's missed start chance near the free throw line in the last few seconds – and Nick Rutherford's blocked 3-pointer before the buzzer – the Red Storm (14-12, 3-10 Big East) suffered its 11th consecutive loss to the Musketeers and have now lost four of their last five games.
Five days had passed since St. John's lost three games against Providence and the momentum struggled to survive the layoff. The first game of the Red Storm in the garden in more than two weeks started with eight misses and a 14: 3 deficit. Rasheem Dunn opened 1 of 6 from the field. Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington together missed their first eight shots. The top scorer Figueroa scored 1 out of 7 points in the first half.
As always with Anderson's teams, the defense kept his team's pulse going. On the way to forcing nine sales before half-time and keeping Xavier without a point for almost four minutes, St. Johns took a 19-17 lead. In the second game of the Red Storm since learning the older Mustapha Heron, who would likely miss the rest of the season with an injured right ankle, Rutherford surprisingly broke up with his best game since moving to Queens.
Rutherford, who started on Monday with an average of 4.7 points, knocked out his first five shots and halved with 14 points to exceed each of his last eleven achievements, while only scoring his fourth double-digit goal this season achieved. Freshman Julian Champagnie's 11 points in the first half put the Red Storm in the lead several times, but the Musketeers gained a 39:37 lead over Paul Scruggs & # 39; setback before the halftime buzz.
Xavier (17-9, 6-7) took a 46-40 lead due to Tyrique Jones' low-post efforts (15 points, 15 rebounds), but St. John’s fought back behind Dunn’s endless aggressive drives Colour. Although Rutherford only had two points in the second half, his game was almost flawless at that point, with seven assists, no turnover and five rebounds. When St. Johns took the 62-61 lead for the first time in Dunn's fast-break lineup in the second half, it was Rutherfords Steal and Pass who put the basket up.
When the Red Storm extended the lead to three at 9:06, it was Rutherford who missed a shot in favor of a better one for Earlington. It would trigger a 10-0 run and a 68:61 lead from St. John, with Earlington (17 points) scoring eight direct points after scoring two points in the first half.
The Red Storm's biggest lead would not last long. Scruggs hit a pair of 3 hands and Naji Marshall threw a dunk and St. Johns clung to a 70-69 lead with 3:39. The lead remained the same when Xavier took possession 40 seconds before the end. Though Marshall flipped it over, Dunn (17 points) missed the front end of a one-and-one, allowing the Xavier Junior to find salvation within 10.4 seconds with the support of Zach Freemantle.