St. John's fans wake up happy in the afterglow of college basketball's first game of the season, a 74-59 St. John's win over the William and Mary Tribe. The young stars shone last night, despite head coach Steve Lavin's continued recovery.
From the Rumble recap: Two Sides of a Storm: Red Storm surges back for 74-59 win
But the youthful Red Storm was not ready to play in the first half of their first official collegiate game together. Whether it was pregame jitters, overflowing adrenaline, or simply poor execution, St. John's was unable to match the Tribe's intensity out of the gate...
The allegations were all true. William & Mary's star forward Quinn McDowell was constantly receiving and converting open looks. The Johnnies weren't only missing jumpers, but were missing the rim altogether. Shot selection was poor.
It may have been a Lavin Skype visit in the locker room or the inspiring performance from the local grade school ballers, but something changed.
The eyes of the nation were on St. John's last night, seeing a tale of two halves as well. There's a lot of talk about the second half surge, Nuri Lindsey, and the absence of Head Coach Steve Lavin. See below the fold.
NY Daily News: St. John's men's basketball team rallies to defeat William & Mary in season opener
The enormous potential of what could become the best recruiting class in St. John’s history was clouded by anxiety for about 20 minutes Monday night as the Johnnies christened the new college basketball season against William & Mary.
But eventually the cloud burned off and the talent came through. The Red Storm raced past the Tribe in the second half and rolled to a 74-59 victory before 4,142 in the opening round of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Carnesecca Arena.
ESPN NY: St. John's opened its season with a win over William & Mary at Carnesecca Arena
Those two guards led the surge in the second half, swarming all over William & Mary's shooters and attacking the basket repeatedly on the other end. Lindsey scored 17 of his team-high 19 points after intermission, making all seven of his second-half field goal attempts. Harrison tallied nine of his 14 points after the break as well.
NY Times: St. John’s Beats William & Mary as Lavin Stays Home
On Monday, [Lavin] watched on television as his young team did what young teams do: look inconsistent. Their full-court pressure created early turnovers against the Tribe, who were picked to finish sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association, but the Red Storm often failed to convert in transition. St. John’s looked aggressive in its matchup zone defense, but often left shooters open.
ESPN: 3-point shot: Lavin's team in good hands - College Basketball Nation Blog
Dunlap doesn’t have the same sideline exuberance but he clearly had the Red Storm tactically ready for William & Mary. And you can’t have a better sage on the bench than former Purdue coach Gene Keady. Lavin had to feel at ease knowing his team was in such good hands.
NY Post: Nurideen Lindsey leads St. John’s past William & Mary 74-59 in season opener
When you’ve been to the places Nurideen Lindsey has been, seen the things he has seen, endured what he has endured, petty issues such as stats and starts are hardly concerns.
AP/ Yahoo: St. John's opens with win over William & Mary
Nurideen Lindsey scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half to lead St. John’s to 74-59 victory over William & Mary on Monday night in the opening round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. God’sgift Achiuwa and Moe Harkless both added 17 points for the Red Storm (1-0), who were without head coach Steve Lavin, who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6.
Zagsblog: After Slow Start, St. John’s Cruises in Season Opener
With about a minute and a half left in St. John’s game against William & Mary Monday night, Nurideen Lindsey cooly intercepted a crosscourt pass, took several dribbles upcourt and flushed home a dunk with nary a defender around him. The play symbolized the second half for the Johnnies, who turned up the pressure after trailing 33-26 at the half and cruised to a 74-59 victory in the season opener of the 2K Classic played at Carnesecca Arena.
Slam Magazine: St. John’s Storms Back to Win NCAA’s First Game
For the first time since the Dallas Mavericks won the title back in June a pro or college basketball game was played on Monday night. Using a 48-point second half, St. John’s rallied from behind to knock off William & Mary, 74-59. A year after making its first NCAA tournament since 2002, St. John’s returned just one player, Malik Stith, who actually scored last season. But the freshmen-heavy Red Storm were able to get the job done against the Tribe.
Jameson Fleming: Fleming's Follies - St. John's - William & Mary's thoughts
At Lehigh’s media day (the Mountain Hawks are a future Red Storm opponent), forward Gabe Knutson noted there were a few things that Lehigh needed to prepare for. The first? St. John’s 3/4 court pressure. The Johnnies forced turnovers on 32.5% of Bill & Mary’s possessions (median rate last year was 20%).
ESPN/ College Basketball Nation Blog: The Morning After: Hey, hoops is back!
But the second half was all good things: Nurideen Lindsey scored 15 of his 19 points as the Red Storm stepped up their press, forced the Tribe into frequent turnovers, and used those giveaways to get their fast, athletic youngsters into easy scoring positions in the open floor. It was an impressive display, but it begs the question: Will St. John's be able to repeat the feat when its athletic advantage isn't so overwhelming? Can a team this shallow and young pressure quality squads on bi-weekly basis? It's a long season. We'll see. But for now, the formula worked.
College Hoops Net: Opening Night Observations: No Surprises To Be Found
Four starters finished in double figures, and with their seven-man rotation that will need to be a consistent occurrence in order for this team to be successful. God'sgift Achiuwa finished with 17 points and nine rebounds but where will the help come from if he gets into foul trouble? That's where the ineligibility of Norvel Pelle will hurt the most, and clearly Amir Garrett could be used as well (the hope is that both will be eligible come December).
Newsday: Storm beats W&M with strong second half
"We got down, and Coach called timeout, and everybody just looked angry," Harrison said, referring to assistant Mike Dunlap, who is running things in Lavin's absence. "Not nervousness, more like, 'All right, let's go.' Then we came out and picked it up. The way St. John's plays was the second-half way."...
One key factor was the play off the bench of Sir'Dominic Pointer, whose long arms at the top of the zone created many of the Tribe's turnovers, contributing to St. John's 28-0 dominance of points off turnovers and 16-0 in fast-break points. "Dom is a pest at the top of the zone running around all crazy," Harkless said. "He gets us easy baskets."
The Mid-Majority: St. John's 74 William and Mary 59
But something went horribly wrong for the Tribe at halftime. Perhaps, the number three recruiting class according to an unnamed media outlet needed a half to work their nerves off. Maybe William and Mary did not shoot enough three pointers during halftime warm-ups.
Hell, maybe the three girls sitting next to me in the stands, complaining about the Johnnies sloppy zone defense, snuck into the locker room and gave Interim Head Coach Mike Dunlap, and Gene Keady some pointers. Either way, it was the cliché tale of two halves. St John’s put on a defensive clinic, and by the under-sixteen timeout, the final score seemed destined to be in favor of the Red Storm. Shaver’s stoic courtside demeanor and the Tribe’s seemingly superior team chemistry, were no match for the hyper-athletic St. John’s frontcourt.
Gheorghe: The Blog: Tribe Recap-itation
The final score was 74-59, and it could have been much worse. Give the Johnnies credit, they came out in the second half and looked like the Showtime Lakers to our QVC Tribe. Our lads were overmatched, and it was an ugly twenty minutes of play, especially juxtaposed with the first half. While the jury remains a bit out as to how we'll do against our adversaries in the CAA, on this night God'sgift, Sir'Dominic, Nurideen, and the rest of the Tom, Dick, and Harrys on the Red Storm stole our lunch