Rick Pitino is 2-1 after the first three games of his first year as head basketball coach at St. John’s. The Red Storm narrowly escaped with a win over a strong North Texas team on Thursday afternoon.
They got lucky. There was a chance for the Mean Green to pull the upset as the clock expired, but they failed to even get a shot up before the buzzer.
The result very easily could have gone the other way. Perhaps it should have gone the other way.
It was Mean Green ball with 10.9 seconds left. The Red Storm led by one.
With a chance to take back the lead, North Texas completely squandered its possession and was forced to foul. Joel Soriano, who recorded a double-double for St. John’s as one of the few players from last year’s roster to return under Pitino, went to the line.
He missed both shots.
Fortunately, the Mean Green totally blew it. Although winning the game on a half-court heave was a long shot — literally — they never even got the chance. Time expired before the final shot of the game was in the air. The game ended 53-52.
Rick Pitino is going to drink a beer.
Despite the second-half struggles, Rick Pitino was thrilled with his team’s ability to buckle down and win with defense. A win is a win is a win. North Texas is a formidable opponent. He was “ecstatic.”
The 71-year-old was so happy that he plans to do something he has not done since he was 61. Pitino is going to drink his first beer in 10 years tonight!
St. John’s will be back on the court against Dayton or LSU on Friday afternoon, so the celebration can’t last long. But there will be a celebration!