A win is a win, especially without star player Anthony Mason.
A fuller analysis is to come once some site puts up the full box score with steals, assists, turnovers, and rebounds. But from what I heard from the radio feed:
- This game was too close for comfort. Even though all kinds of Division I teams had opening game troubles, this team had some sloppy stretches, turnovers, and ill advised shots.
- On defense, St. Francis got some run up and down the court, and their forward Robert Hones went off for 19 points and 12 rebounds (I think).
- St. John's had some solid offensive stretches, ran a little bit, converted turnovers to points, mostly on Paris Horne's effort.
(-) Eugene Lawrence left a bit to be desired. Having the senior leader jack up three pointers early in the shot clock is not by design.
(++) DANG! Larry Wright was on like Donkey Kong! In fact, I wonder why he didn't get more minutes; Coach Roberts chose to play 5 freshmen for stretches, especially in the first half. It's a good time to get them acclimated but Wright, who had a 1-4 shooting day outside the arc, hit 12 footers and drove the lane (6-10 inside the arc), and took a crucial charge.
(+) DJ Kennedy played like a man on a mission. Some of that mission was to make turnovers, and his handle was at times reckless or too high, but the rest of the mission was nice-- 14 rebounds from the small forward and 9 points, along with some nifty defense and interior passing.
(-) It's tough to call Justin Burrell a negative. By the radio accounts he was playing hard and making solid moves to the basket but the result only had 2 rebounds. This team needs him to be a monster on the boards. He'll be nice on putbacks from missed Anthony Mason bricks, but he has to rebound on defense as well. Burrell was in foul trouble much of the evening, and if he were a more foul-free factor, the team would have been in better shape.
(?+) Tomas Jasiulionis was active early on the offensive glass and scored 6 points, but only had 5 boards. He seemed to handle the ball well, but he was not a huge factor in the second half.
(+) Boothe was reckless once in a while but excellent at getting to the hoop and hitting shots. Nice defense, also.
(+) It's hard to call Paris Horne a positive. Well, in the first half. He came in the game and jacked up two terrible sounding threes. But he got himself under control, scoring on two breakaways off of his own steals, disrupted passes, and got to the rim. A work in progress, but it'll be an energetic work.
(+) Dele Coker was iffy early but a revelation late, scoring with a little touch around the basket, pulling down some rebounds, blocking a shot (leaving the shooter on the floor) that started a 3 on 2 fast break.
(--) Sean Evans. Let's just say he was kind of a disaster on the court. He will learn.
Coaching-wise, these guys need to learn to start the offense earlier in the shot clock and to stop with the terrible threes. The playing time rhythm, hopefully, will come. But some guys need to get more minutes.