St. John's received a legitimate test in its first exhibition against Division II Sonoma State on Saturday. Three nights later, the story couldn't have been more different.
The young Johnnies crushed Division III Concordia (Ill.), 87-36, on a night centered on cancer awareness. As the Red Storm welcomed the Cougars, coached by prostate cancer survivor Tyler Jones, the goal was to prepare for next week's season opener and focus on an issue greater than basketball.
Before the game, the team announced that sophomore guard D`Angelo Harrison was benched for the entire game. According to the report, Harrison has not been meeting Steve Lavin's "expectations for leadership and maturity." Harrison sat between Lavin and assistant Rico Hines during the game, and seemed active in instructing his teammates on the floor.
A fast-paced first half led to a commanding 47-24 halftime advantage for the Red Storm, one the inferior Cougars did not threat. The Johnnies dominated down low all game as a result of Concordia's lack of any player over 6-foot-4.
Christian Jones led St. John's with 17 points on 8-9 shooting, recording his first career double-double. He was one of five Red Storm players in double figures. JaKarr Sampson and Amir Garrett both scored 15, while Chris Obekpa and Sir`Dominic Pointer added 12 each.
St. John's wanted to improve its rebounding after losing the battle of the boards to Sonoma State. Their size advantage and Concordia's low field goal percentage (23.8%) helped the Johnnies, as they out-rebounded the Cougars 53-31.
Masson Prowse scored 9 points on 4-11 shooting to lead Concordia in the losing effort.
Orlando Sanchez and Marc-Antoine Bourgault did not play once again, as they continue to wait for NCAA clearing. God`sgift Achiuwa and Felix Balamou kept their option to redshirt open, as they too did not suit up.
Rumble takeaways and quotes from Steve Lavin regarding the D'Angelo Harrison situation to come soon.