Detroit — St. John’s is waiting on the return of coach Steve Lavin. The Red Storm are waiting on the arrival of forward Amir Garrett. They are waiting to master the matchup zone defense and waiting to fine tune the second gear on offense.
The Red Storm are waiting on their season. And it is slipping by — quickly.
That upset loss to Northeastern is no longer an anomaly. Not after last night’s 69-63 loss at Detroit on the night the school dedicated the home court in Callahan Hall in honor of former coach Dick Vitale.
The Red Storm (4-5) have fallen below .500 for the first time this season with their third straight loss and fifth in the last six games.
PASSING GRADE: D’Angelo Harrison makes a pass during St. John’s 69-63 loss to Detroit last night.
“Winning disguises a lot of things,’’ forward Moe Harkless said of Queens, who was spectacular with 19 points and 11 rebounds. “We’re realizing everything’s not as perfect as we thought it was.’’
No knowledgeable basketball fans would have predicted a perfect season for this young squad. There were flaws in the first three games as St. John’s opened 3-0. But the Storm were aggressive, confident early in the season.
Last night, St. John’s was hesitant. It seems as if they are waiting for a shot of confidence — straight up — which is ironic, because that is the one commodity they had so much of.
Remember guards Nurideen Lindsey and D’Angelo Harrison stating the goal was to win the national title?
“I’m not as aggressive as I was,’’ said Lindsey, who struggled with zero assists and six turnovers. “I’ll eventually get back to that point. I’ve just been trying to find different things, different ways of contributing to the team. But I’m definitely not as aggressive as I was at the beginning.’’
Detroit (4-6) had lost three straight and 5 of 6. But the Titans, led by Ray McCallum’s 21 points, were the attackers most of the night. They led 32-21 at halftime.
After the Red Storm cut it to 32-30, Detroit went on an 11-4 spurt to open a 43-34 lead. St. John’s never got closer than four points after that.
The Red Storm play host to Fordham on Dec. 17 at the Garden. It was a stunning loss to the Rams last season that proved the turning point for the team.
This season has a different feel. Lavin continues to recover from successful prostate cancer surgery. Garrett, a 6-foot-8 forward who might become academically eligible this month, will help, but he is not a savior.
“We have to help them with their confidence,’’ said assistant coach Mike Dunlap, hitting the nail on the head.
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