2006_01_sstjwva.jpgAs conference play continues, St. John's Big East conference continues to make its claim to the title of best conference in the country. Given the talent of the teams at the top, the Red Storm have played well. Unfortuantely for Norm Roberts' squad, playing well was not enough for the second straight game. West Virginia held off St. John's Sunday days after the Red Storm hung with top-ranked Connecticut on the road Wednesday.

Unlike Wednesday's game, St. John's saw some success down low against the visting Mountaineers. Lamont Hamilton found West Virginia's front line easier to attack than Connecticut's. Daryl Hill, despite a turnover in the game's final minute, also had a strong game. Gothamist likes that St. John's seems, at long last, to be making progress. If this game had been played earlier in the year, the Red Storm might have mailed it in after falling behind by 18 and still trailing by 13 with 3 minutes to go. Instead, they fought, and, if not for Hill's turnover might have tied or even taken the lead. In Connecticut and West Virginia, St. John's has played two legitimate Final Four-type teams. They didn't beat them, but they gave them something to think about. That's more than would have happened in December.

Photo by AP via Newsday