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St. John’s blows it in painful loss to Butler

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St. John's blows it in painful loss to Butler

The game was there for St. John’s to win. Early. Late. In overtime.

The Red Storm never could grab it. They never did enough to take command. They blew an early 16-point lead. They failed to execute with a lead in the final seconds. They were outplayed in overtime.

So, that six-game winning streak that drew national attention ended in disappointing fashion. St. John’s lost for the seventh straight time at Butler, this one 76-73 in overtime, as almost everyone in red struggled at some point.

Posh Alexander had his worst game in weeks, badly outplayed by Butler’s Aaron Thompson. Julian Champagnie scored 19 points, but didn’t get nearly enough touches. The Johnnies went ice-cold from 3-point range, going 4-for-17. Their defense went south, allowing Thompson and Butler to dominate inside.

“They were driving [on] all of our guys. We didn’t do a good job of keeping the ball out of the paint,” Red Storm coach Mike Anderson said. “Defense wasn’t up to the standards that we’ve been playing.”

Despite all that, St. John’s was in position late in regulation to steal the game. Dylan Addae-Wusu’s drive with 29.2 seconds left gave the Red Storm a two-point lead, and after Bo Hodges’ driving shot rolled off the rim for the Bulldogs, the Johnnies were in great shape. But a turnover on the inbound, when Rasheem Dunn couldn’t handle a low pass from Addae-Wusu, allowed Thompson, who finished with 17 points and 10 assists, to pull Butler even with 2.3 seconds left and force overtime.

“We started off the game with a turnover and we finished regulation with a turnover, which came back to haunt us,” Anderson said. “We had another timeout if we needed it. Just a miscue, that’s all.”

In the extra session, St. John’s (13-8, 7-7 Big East) led by one after a Champagnie three-point play with 2:25 left, but Butler (7-10, 6-8) scored the final four points of the extra session.

Dunn and Marcellus Earlington both missed the front end of one-and-ones before Champagnie and Alexander missed desperation heaves in the final seconds.

Alexander’s attempt failed to draw iron, capping a game in which the Big East’s frontrunner for Freshman of the Year was held to single digits (eight points) and without an assist for the first time this year. He also wasn’t his usual pesky self on the defensive end due to foul trouble, and didn’t have a steal after halftime.

Now St. John’s will have a week to regroup before hosting Xavier next Tuesday, a must-have game to improve its NCAA Tournament resume. The winning streak put the Red Storm in position to be a part of March Madness. Now they have to finish well at home (four of their last five scheduled conference games are in Queens) and forget about Tuesday night’s dismal setback.

“They’re hurting right now, but they’ll learn from it,” Anderson said. “One game doesn’t make a season; one game doesn’t kill your season. We know we can play better.”

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Harry Kane tells Tottenham he wants to leave amid Man United, Man City, Chelsea rumors

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Harry Kane tells Tottenham he wants to leave amid Man United, Man City, Chelsea rumors

Harry Kane has reiterated his stance that he wants to leave Tottenham this summer.

The 27-year-old has grown frustrated over the club’s inability to compete at the highest level, having seen his side fall out of contention to secure Champions League football for next season.

Spurs have long been reluctant to entertain bids for their talisman but the England captain is hoping that they will soften their stance after his long service to the club.

State of play for Kane’s future

Daniel Levy will demand a huge fee for Kane – who prefers a move within the Premier League – as he is on a long-term deal until 2024.

Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are potentially viable destinations, although it is still unclear as to whether a move will materialise.

All three of the aforementioned Premier League giants have significant financial might and are looking for attacking signings, even with the coronavirus pandemic causing monetary problems. 

In Man Utd’s case, however, they have renewed Edinson Cavani’s contract after a good run of form and are thought to have switched focus to signing a right-winger – potentially Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

Kane is keen to resolve his situation ahead of the European Championship but it is likely to rumble on throughout the summer.

What has Kane actually said?

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In a host of recent interviews, Kane hasn’t sought to sugar-coat his unhappiness in north London and vocalise his desire to represent a club that challenges for major honours.

“Individual awards are great, they are fantastic achievements,” the striker said . “When I look back at the end of my career, I will go over it and take in a little bit more. The goal right now as a player is to win team trophies.

“As much as this [London Footballer of the Year award] is great, I want to be winning the biggest prizes that there is to offer as a team, and we are not quite doing that.

“It is one of those [situations], it is bittersweet. I would rather be winning team trophies than this award. It is what it is. I am proud to win it. It means it has been a good season on the pitch, so I have just got to try and continue what I am doing.”

What have Tottenham said?

In a brief statement released to various media outlets, Spurs’ commented: “Our focus is on finishing the season as strongly as possible. That’s what everyone should be focused on.”

Kane’s stats this season

With 22 Premier League goals, Kane is level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the golden boot. 

Furthermore, he has 32 goals and 16 assists in 47 games in all competitions, ranking him among the world’s best strikers.

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Jordan Binnington restrained from nearly starting goalie fight at end of Blues vs. Avalanche

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Jordan Binnington restrained from nearly starting goalie fight at end of Blues vs. Avalanche

The Blues and Avalanche already have some bad blood brewing in the first round of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup.

In the aftermath of the Avalanche’s 4-1 series-opening win, several scrums broke out between the two sides, including one in front of the net between Blues forward Kyle Clifford and Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth. 

But when Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer got in on that battle, that prompted a response from St. Louis’ netminder Jordan Binnington.

MORE: Former Predators goalie Chris Mason talks Nashville’s Stanley Cup chances

Binnington made his way down the ice and had to be restrained from going after Grubauer, as you can see below via SportsNet.

The referees got to Binnington well before he could engage with Grubauer and escorted him off the ice. That prevented the goalie fight, a rare spectacle, from happening.

Nonetheless, Binnington’s willingness to get involved in the late-game physicality must have been appreciated by his teammates. After all, Binnington had a terrific Game 1 for St. Louis, making a whopping 46 saves on 49 attempts, and did everything he could to give his team a chance to win.

Perhaps Binnington’s effort in all facets of the game will provide his teammates with a much-needed spark as they look to even the series with the Avalanche in Game 2.

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Braves’ Huascar Ynoa picks fight with bench, loses, breaks hand

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Braves' Huascar Ynoa picks fight with bench, loses, breaks hand

Huascar Ynoa has broken a bat or two in his career, and now the wood is fighting back. 

Dugout frustration is part of baseball. Hundreds of Gatorade coolers have been demolished, gloves have been thrown across zip codes. It happens.

But when you’re a pitcher, you may want to think twice about what you do with your pitching hand, and Braves starter Ynoa found that out the hard way over the weekend.

Ynoa landed on the 10-day injured list Monday after punching a dugout bench following his exit from Sunday’s forgettable start vs. the Brewers and breaking a bone in his pitching hand.

MORE: Mets’ Kevin Pillar takes fastball to face

What’s especially brutal is that Ynoa is off to the best start of his career: Through nine games (eight starts) he’s pitched to a 3.02 ERA (3.72 FIP) with a 144 ERA+ in 44 2/3 innings.

Ynoa’s frustration is understandable, as he was pulled from his worst start of the season to Milwaukee on Sunday: He allowed five runs on nine hits through 4 1/3 innings in the loss.

Maybe somewhat luckily for Ynoa, it’s not the most unfortunate injury for a pitcher this season. That dishonor belongs to A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo, who broke his finger in an unfortunate video gaming moment.

Let this be a lesson, kiddos: Don’t pick fights with inanimate objects. They will win most of the time.

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