Skip to content

St. John’s beat No. 20 Notre Dame while Jack Cooley watches?

Jan 15, 2013, 10:17 PM EST

Jack Cooley, 'Angelo Harrison

Where was Jack Cooley?

That’s the question that every Notre Dame fan wants answered after the Irish lost their second straight game to an unranked opponent on Tuesday night, this one being a 67-63 defeat at the hands of St. John’s.

Cooley had struggled throughout the game, there’s no question about that. Steve Lavin made the adjustment to go small, leaving Chris Obekpa on the bench in favor of a lineup that featured Jakarr Sampson, Amir Garrett and Sir’Dominic Pointer — three athletes that can barely be considered power forwards.

Defensively, the Johnnies were able to fall back into a zone, using their length and athleticism to make it difficult for the Irish to get the ball into Cooley. On the offensive end of the floor, that smaller lineup forced Cooley to guard a much quicker player. The result? Sampson scored 14 of his 17 points in the first 20 minutes while Cooley picked up two fouls by the midway point of the half.

Cooley also picked up a quick foul in the second half, and on three straight possessions during one stretch, the all-Big East center shied away defensively. Those defensive lapses — that tentativeness brought on by the foul trouble — sparked a St. John’s run that pushed their lead to as much as 12.

Notre Dame fought back to take the lead with an 18-4 run, but after D’Angelo Harrison buried a 25-foot three, the Irish found themselves down 64-63 with less than a minute left on the clock. Eric Atkins — who was sensational yet again, finishing with 21 points, four assists and six steals — drove and dropped the ball off to Tom Knight under the rim for what looked like an open layup. But Knight was slow to get the shot off and ended up having his shot blocked against the backboard by Harrison.

Knight is a senior that’s playing 5.0 minutes per game this season. Cooley averages a double-double and is having the kind of season that would warrant all-america consideration.

So we have to ask:

Why was Cooley on the bench in the final minute?

Why was Knight on the floor?

Why was one of the Big East’s best big men watching as the third-string center was getting his shot pinned against the backboard by a 6-foot-3 jump-shooter?

Anyone?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. NBCSports.com Midseason All-American Team

    Dec 22, 2014, 2:28 PM EST

    Ty Wallace (Getty Images) Getty Images

    With conference play right around the corner, who have been the best players in the country?

  2. Kentucky still has one more major test to pass this season and it might not come against Louisville

    Dec 22, 2014, 1:41 PM EST

    AP AP

    If there’s anything that can ruin Kentucky’s dream of a perfect season, it’s coming from their own locker room.

  3. Tracking The Unbeatens: The showdown between Kentucky, Louisville looms

    Dec 22, 2014, 11:54 AM EST

    AP AP

    We went an entire week without an unbeaten losing.

  4. New Year’s Resolutions: Ohio State Buckeyes

    Dec 22, 2014, 10:01 AM EST

    AP AP

    The Buckeyes are 9-2, dropping both of their key non-conferences games against ranked opponents.

  5. College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: Virginia moves up, three teams drop out

    Dec 22, 2014, 6:30 AM EST

    Justin Anderson (AP Photo) Justin Anderson (AP Photo)

    The top 12 remain the same, but there was plenty of movement in and around the rest of the top 25.

  6. UNLV commit Derrick Jones could win the NBA dunk contest (VIDEO)

    Dec 21, 2014, 11:09 PM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 11.05.11 PM

    Yeah, you’re going to want to see this.

  7. BYU, Oklahoma among eight teams to participate in 2015 Diamond Head Classic

    Dec 21, 2014, 10:31 PM EST

    Lon Kruger AP

    Four of the eight teams in the field reached the NCAA tournament last season.

  8. Late Night Snacks: No. 6 Virginia, No. 17 Maryland pick up wins

    Dec 21, 2014, 8:22 PM EST

    VMI v Maryland Getty Images

    Virginia limited Harvard to 27 points, Maryland won at Oklahoma State, and Georgia picked up a solid home win.

  9. No. 17 Maryland moves to 11-1 with win at Oklahoma State

    Dec 21, 2014, 7:04 PM EST

    Jake Layman AP

    Could the Terps be the second-best team in the Big Ten? At the very least they’ve earned their place in the conversation.

  10. ACC suspends Louisville junior forward Montrezl Harrell one game

    Dec 21, 2014, 5:31 PM EST

    Ohio State v Louisville Getty Images

    Harrell was assessed a flagrant 2 foul in Saturday’s win over Western Kentucky.

  11. South Carolina coaching staff dons special holiday sweaters (PHOTO)

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:42 PM EST

    Frank Martin (Scott Phillips) Frank Martin (Scott Phillips)

    Coaches donning festive holiday sweaters doesn’t happen all that often in college basketball.

  12. Brad Stevens on Indiana speculation: ‘I’m the head coach of the Boston Celtics. This is the job.’

    Dec 21, 2014, 3:46 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Brad Stevens left Butler in 2013, agreeing to a six-year deal with the Boston Celtics, but that will not stop his name being linked to one specific college job.

  13. Harvard’s first half offensive struggles tie unwanted NCAA record

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:43 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Harvard did not set the record for lowest field goal percentage or lowest first-half points, but the Crimson did tie an NCAA record on Sunday afternoon.

  14. Jim Boeheim and Jay Wright want to keep Syracuse-Villanova rivalry going

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The Orange and Wildcats have split a home-and-home series since the old Big East disbanded several years ago.

  15. Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell apologizes for ejection (VIDEO)

    Dec 21, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    AP AP

    The Louisville forward spoke about the incident that took place at the end of the first half against Western Kentucky following the game.

  16. Ben Simmons throws an alley-oop to himself off the backboard (VIDEO)

    Dec 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    Kelly Kline/Under Armour Kelly Kline/Under Armour

    The nation’s top recruit also dropped 37 points in a win for Montverde Academy (Florida)