West Virginia shot just 35 percent from the field, and St. John's dominated the Mountaineers in just about every statistical category as the Red Storm was victorious 78-62 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
"People in this state go to work every day," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins on his postgame radio show with the Mountaineer Sports Network. "I'm sure there are a lot of days they don't want to go down in that mine, but they do."
It marked the first loss for West Virginia (15-6, 5-3) on the road against St. John's (8-11, 2-6) since 2002.
"We did not have two very good days of practice," Huggins said. "Sometimes success is harder to handle than failure."
The Red Storm started five freshmen for the first time since 1928.
Moe Harkless and D' Angelo Harrison scored 23 and 19 points, respectively, to lead the home team.
St. John's shot 48 percent from the floor.
West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones quietly had an impressive outing. Jones finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
St. John's used an 8-0 run in the first half to jump out to a 12-4 lead. The Red Storm's 2-3 zone prevented the Mountaineers from finding any rhythm offensively.
West Virginia shot just 7-of-27 from the floor in the first half and committed 10 turnovers. "We don't have great shooters," Huggins said. "Our biggest concern is if we can make some shots against a zone."
St. John's scored 28 points in the paint and took a 36-20 advantage into the locker room.
It was the lowest point total for the Mountaineers in the first half this season.
"We don't pass the ball very well," Huggins said. "It wasn't like we didn't have guys open. We did."
We were not in the game.
The Red Storm hit back-to-back threes early in the second half and continued to extend its lead.
The Mountaineers were able to cut into the lead multiple times, but St. John's answered every run.
The Red Storm led 62-42 with less than eight minutes remaining behind a swarming defense and sharp outside shooting.
West Virginia made a 10-0 run late in the second half to cut the deficit to 10 with three minutes remaining.
But, much like all night, St. John's responded.
The Red Storm used dribble penetration to get in the paint and closed out the victory.
St. John's scored 50 of its 78 points in the paint on Wednesday night.
Senior guard Truck Bryant continued his recent stint of poor shooting. Bryant only connected on 4 of 13 shots, but finished with 16 points.