Graduate Student Tareq Coburn scores a game-high 20 points on Wednesday at Carnesecca Arena
On Senior Night in his home borough, graduate student Tareq Coburn stole the show. The former Academic All-American exploded for a season-high 20 points, propelling the Red Storm to an 81-66 victory over Xavier inside Carnesecca Arena.
A student in the highly selective physician's assistant master's program, Coburn went 6-of-8 from the floor and 5-of-7 from deep in addition to matching a career-high with three blocks in 26 minutes of action. The effort marked Coburn's 11th career 20-point performance.
Coburn led five Johnnies in double figures. Julian Champagnie, the second leading scorer in the league, tallied 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Posh Alexander filled the stat sheet with 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
Aaron Wheeler logged his second double-double of the campaign, scoring 11 points and pulling down a game-high 11 boards.
In his first game back after missing the last two contests with a left-knee injury, Joel Soriano posted 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and five boards in 21 minutes.
Xavier held the lead for exactly 10 seconds, from 19:24 to 19:14 of the first half.
The Red Storm shot 17-of-20 (85.0%) from the free throw line and assisted on 18 of its 28 made field goals. Defensively, the Johnnies held Xavier to a season-low 32.4 percent shooting from the floor, including a 5-for-30 effort from beyond the arc. St. John's also won the battle of the boards, 44-41.
With the win, St. John's has secured the no. 7 seed in next week's BIG EAST Tournament and will open the action against either DePaul or Butler at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
After making its first field goal attempt of the night, Xavier (17-12, 7-11 BIG EAST) made just one of its next 16, going 5:28 without a point. St. John's, however, suffered a drought of 4:24 during that same stretch, only managing to pull ahead by six, 11-5.
Up 15-7 at the midway mark of the half, the Red Storm saw the Musketeers rattle off a 7-0 run to pull within one before they eventually knotted the game at 22 with five minutes remaining in the half.
St. John's never allowed Xavier to retake the lead and entered the intermission with a four-point edge, 33-29.
The Red Storm slowly built its advantage in the opening minutes of the latter stanza, moving ahead by 12, 50-38, with just over 12 minutes to play.
Xavier scored six straight to kick start an 11-2 run, pulling within three, 52-49, with 8:37 remaining. Over the next 4:30, St. John's responded with an 18-6 tear to move ahead by 15, 70-55, and put the game out of reach. Champagnie punctuated the St. John's burst with a personal 8-0 run.
The Red Storm will wrap the regular season on Saturday in Milwaukee against Marquette. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on FS1.