St. John's showed some improvements over the last three days in the Maui Invitational, but the trip to Hawaii wouldn't be a true success unless they notched at least one victory.
And that win came on Wednesday against Division II Chaminade, 100 to 93, in the 7th place game. Federico Mussini was the most impressive Johnnie as he dropped 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting while knocking down five threes and only committing three turnovers. Christian Jones chipped in another 17 points and 11 rebounds along with Amar Alibegovic who added 17 points and four boards.
The Red Storm received a balanced scoring attack with Durand Johnson putting up 18 points, Ron Mvouika scoring 12 points and Yankuba Sima adding 10 points.
With Malik Ellison (foot), Darien Williams (shoulder) and Felix Balamou (foot) out on Wednesday, Mullin's team came into the match-up very thin, with just six scholarship players active.
But they put on an offensive clinic in the opening half against a Chaminade defense that came into the afternoon giving up 101 points per game. The Red Storm jumped out to a 12-3 lead before the under 16 minute television timeout and had a 59-42 lead at the break. They knocked down 75 percent of their three pointers, hit nine total long balls (Mussini was in the zone), shot 75 percent from the floor and made all six of their free throws in their best half of the season.
The Red Storm weren't very good on the defensive end of the floor though, especially in the second half. They let Chaminade get into their rhythm from behind the arc (13 threes on 45 percent) and forced just 12 turnovers. The Silverswords used their three-point shooting and transition attack to cut the St. John's lead to seven with 6:51 remaining and just five with less than a minute to go.
Mullin's squad responded with solid ball movement, including a beautiful post pass from Sima to Mussini for an And-1 with 6:24 remaining, and enough free throw shooting down the stretch to pull out the win.
The Silverswords found sparks from Kiran Shastri, 19 points, James Harper, 15 points, and John Hu, 17 points, while their leading scorer coming into the day, Rohndell Goodwin scored just 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Johnnies (4-2) will return to the mainland to face off against in-city rival, Fordham, on December 2 at Rose Hill Gymnasium in the Bronx. This will be the team's first true road game and will certainly be another interesting test for this inexperienced roster before Big East play. Kassoum Yakwe will be eligible for that match-up as he was cleared by the NCAA earlier Wednesday.