The Red Storm picked up a collective team victory over Wagner in blow out fashion, 86-63.
Defensively, the Red Storm were dominant over the visiting Seahawks in the first half. St. John’s held Wagner without a field goal for almost an eight-minute stretch in the first half, and also caused Wagner to turn the ball over 13 times before the break.
Additionally, the Johnnies look prepared to press all game long going forward when the match-up calls for it. Wagner rarely go the ball over half-court without dealing with some pressure scheme, and those defensive schemes were a major part in Wagner’s first half turnover issues.
This may have been the first game this season where Nick Rutherford really hit his stride and filled his role as a Johnnie. Rutherford played within himself and regularly made the right basketball play, particularly in the first half, where he had 5 points (2/3 FG, 1/2 3PT), 2 assists, and 2 boards.
All in all, it was all St. John’s in the first half, going into halftime up 43-19.
Defensively, Coach Anderson mixed up the looks several times in the second half. Anderson, of course, implemented plenty of pressure, but after the break, the Johnnies broke out some 2-3 zone and 1-3-1 zone after a handful of made St. John’s baskets.
With Mustapha Heron only playing 18 minutes due to foul trouble, and LJ Figueroa struggling to find his stroke for most of the game (6 points on 2/9 from the field), the rest of the team showed what Coach Mike Anderson has been saying for weeks: this a not a two-man team. Josh Roberts, Nick Rutherford, and Marcellus Earlington led that charge for the Johnnies. Roberts nearly picked up a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. LJ, despite his scoring woes, did not roll over and added 6 assists and 6 rebounds to help his team. Rutherford had a quality first half, and Earlington had a good second half.
Earlington scored all but 1 of his points in the second half, where he had 8 points (3/4 FG) and 3 rebounds.
The walk-ons got some on-court time with just under two minutes remaining, and the Red Storm picked up their sixth victory of the season, 86-63.
St. John’s stays home at Carnesecca Arena to take on the Saint Peter’s University Peacocks on Tuesday at 6:30.
St. John’s Red Storm
Mustapha Heron: 18 points (7/11 FG, 3/6 3PT), 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 turnover
Josh Roberts: 12 points (6/7 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
Rasheem Dunn: 14 points (5/13 FG, 2/5 3PT), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
Elijah Ford: 12 points (1/6 FG), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 turnovers
Nigel Jackson: 12 points (4/12 FG, 2/10 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers